Tiger cub befriends dog at Russian zoo after being rejected by his mother

One tiger cub is making unexpected friends at Madagascar zoo in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod.

The zoo’s tiger Shaherizad gave birth to the cub and his two brothers in April but rejected them. The zoo later sold two of the cubs, but the one remaining sibling is still under the zoo’s care.

“It was very difficult especially during the first weeks when he was taken away from the mother because he does not understand why there is no mother’s milk, but instead there is goat’s milk,” zookeeper Olga Prokhorova told the Associated Press.

The cub has had meat introduced into his diet but still relies on a formula of goat’s milk with vitamins and probiotics. Despite the disorienting start, the lonely tiger has made friends with the zoo’s dog Lilu.

“This is our first experiment of this kind,” zoo manager Ekaterina Sushenkova told the Associated Press. “We have a dog, she is very loyal to kittens and as an experiment, we have brought her into the cage with tiger cubs in it, so she looked after them when we took the tiger cubs for a walk.”

Zoo patrons can even watch Lilu and the cub play together in the habitat. Sushenkova says the zoo will however eventually sell the cub to another zoo.

“This is normal practice for many zoos to sell offsprings,” Sushenkova said. “We try to reassign tigers so that there is a further opportunity to track their fate and get photo reports.”

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