Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is pleased to announce that the Milwaukee County Zoo’s three Amur tiger cubs made their public debut today in the Zoo’s Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country. The cubs, one male and two females, have been named: Kashtan, Eloise and Bernadette. They were born Sept. 14 to mother, Amba, and father, Strannik.
While all three cubs are doing well, Kashtan was transferred to the Zoo’s Animal Health Center in October, as he was not gaining weight steadily, and he developed an abscess on one of his legs (possibly due to a lack of immunity). The vet staff cultured and flushed the abscess and he was given a course of antibiotics; he returned to Big Cat Country Oct. 24.
When it becomes necessary to remove newborn Zoo animals from the family group, the mother may not always accept the animal when placed back into the group. Amba has shown excellent maternal care with all of her offspring.
But because Kashtan had an infection and there can be many unknowns in reuniting him with mom after so much time passed, staff determined there were too many risks to putting them back together. Female tigers also have the potential to injure offspring if reintroductions are attempted. The primary concern of the Zoo’s animal care staff is to avoid any risk of injury to the cub.
Kashtan is now being hand-raised by keepers; weaned from a bottle, and eating meat. He is regularly placed with his sisters in one of the indoor exhibits for socialization and exercise.
Zoo visitors can see Kashtan singularly in one of the indoor exhibits in Big Cat Country. While still a cub, at times, zookeepers will be in the exhibit with Kashtan, offering him interaction, socialization and feedings, as part of the hand-raising process. The exhibit will also feature enrichment items (objects that allow him to show his natural behaviors), which are important for his neurocognitive and physical development.
When Eloise and Bernadette are not on exhibit with Kashtan, they can be seen with mother, Amba, in the indoor Tiger Exhibit.