VIENNA – Three rare white tiger cubs were presented at a zoo in Austria on Thursday.
The blue-eyed cubs, Hector, Pascha and Zeus, were born on May 7 at Weisser Zoo Kernhof, some 100 kilometers west of the capital Vienna, weighing one kilogram.
“They now weigh between 3.5-3.9 kg and are doing perfectly well,” the zoo’s director and owner Herbert Eder told EFE.
Besides the three cubs, the zoo also has three adult white tigers.
For now, the baby tigers are limited to eating, sleeping and playing. In a year, the cubs will weigh some 70 kg, while a male adult can even get up to 200 kg.
The gestation period of white tigers lasts about 110 days and newborns drink their mother’s milk for the first two weeks.
The coloring of these felines is due to a genetic mutation in the Bengal tiger, something that is rare in nature, although there are hundreds of them in captivity in zoos around the world.
According to conservationist organization WWF there are some 2,500 Bengal tigers in the wild, mostly in India.
These tigers are the Weiss Zoo’s star attraction and about 30 cubs have been born there in the past eight years to two mothers.
It’s one of the most successful conservation centers in the world in terms of the reproduction of this kind of tiger, according to its director.
Most of the offspring have been distributed to other zoological centers in other countries, among them South Korea, Germany, Switzerland or the Czech Republic, having been donated or exchanged for others.
The zoo in Austria has a large space designed especially for big cats, and visitors can appreciate them from a place without physical obstacles like bars and glass.