Confiscated Bengal tiger cub gets new playmate

Washington, DC tiger cub flown to San Diego to be paired with smuggled tiger

Washington, DC tiger cub flown to San Diego to be paired with smuggled tiger

The new cub, a male, was flown in with his keepers from the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He was born there July 11, but his mother began to display aggressive behavior toward him and the two were separated.

In a collaborative effort, both zoos' staff determined the best solution for the well-being of the National Zoo cub was to transfer it to the San Diego Zoo.

"This was actually a great example of how zoos can collaborate with each other", Associate Curator of Mammals at the San Diego Zoo, Andy Blue, said.

"We knew we had one, similar age".

Keepers say Damai entered the mating cycle, so it was impossible for the cub to be reintroduced to his mom.

The cub slept most of the way across the country to San Diego on a commercial flight.

The IUCN lists the Bengal tiger as endangered, with roughly 1,700 in the wild. Zoo personnel said the cub would "chuff" in a friendly tiger greeting but his mother, Damai, would not respond.

Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The 9-week old cub met its new foster brother, a Bengal tiger cub discovered lying on the floor of a 2017 Chevy Camaro by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at a border entry between California and Mexico on August 23. If everything goes well, the zoo said, visitors will be able to see the cubs.

"Once they get to the point where they're completely weaned off of milk, entirely eating meat, then we'll make decisions as far as where to move them", he said.

Video showed them wrestling and licking each other.

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