The century-old zoo is elated at its success in captive breeding of tigers and introducing new strain of genes to produce stronger and healthier cubs.
Captive breeding of tigers was stepped up with the arrival of wild tigers, mainly Brahma, a 12-year-old male, which was caught in Brahmagiri forest range in Kodagu in 2008.
Manya, a seven-year-old white tigress, was selected for captive breeding.
Brahma and Manya were paired for the first time on May 16, 2011 and Manya gave birth to three cubs.
However, a female cub was severely injured owing to a bite from its mother and died. The two male cubs, Rama and Lakshmana, survived. They recovered from hind limb weakness after continuous treatment and nutritional supplementation for two months. The two-year-old cubs are now doing well, according to Zoo Executive Director B.P. Ravi.
Manya was paired for the second time with Brahma this year. It gave birth to four cubs — two male and two female — on June 4. The mother and the cubs were monitored round the clock through CCTV cameras. Manya took good care of its cubs, which started eating small amount of meat on their 25th day. They had even started eating minced meat, which helped improve their body weight, Mr. Ravi said.
The mother and cubs were gradually exposed to the outside world.
“Manya was furious in the beginning but got accustomed to the keepers and other zoo staff. Manya and its cubs have been allowed to access the day kraal facility,” the director said, in a press release here.
With the four newborn cubs, Manya is now the proud mother of four male cubs and two female cubs.
Tigress Anusuya (Anu) was rescued at around 2 to 3 months at Bababundangiri hills, Muthodi range, which is now part of the buffer area of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. In continuation of its captive breeding programme, the zoo management decided to pair Anu with Brahma sometime this year. Anu gave birth to four cubs on July 28.
“As it was Anu’s first litter, it did not know how to clean the cubs. She vigorously licked two female cubs and bit their umbilical region, injuring them. The two cubs died,” Mr. Ravi said in the release.
He said that Anu was taking good care of the two remaining male cubs.