GWANGJU, Feb. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – A zoo in South Korea is under fire after reports that a tigress ate her own cub soon after giving birth due to negligence and stress.
According to officials at Gwangju Uchi Park, a 9-year-old female Bengal tiger named Love gave birth to a cub in her den last Thursday, as multiple onlookers watched.
However, zoo officials are facing criticism after reports emerged that they had done little to assist with the birth, such as keeping the tiger inside or setting up barricades.
Feeling extremely distressed and sensitive, the tigress was left out in the open for visitors to watch during one of the most vulnerable moments of animals’ lives, a day before the infanticide was reported.
“We checked the day after the tiger birth but couldn’t find the cub anywhere. We believe the mother harmed the cub,” the zoo said.
The zoo says the unfortunate incident occurred due to a number of reasons, including excessive stress levels on the part of the tigress caused by noise from visitors and the open environment, as well as a natural tendency for some felines to commit infanticide.
Some experts say some animals kill and eat their young in order to ensure the survival of the species.
The recent infanticide was not the first reported at the zoo, as a female Bengal tiger ate her two cubs around 40 days after giving birth to them back in 2006.
A similar incident ensued during the following year, when a five-year-old African lion also ate two of its cubs.
“It’s the first childbirth for Love, and her belly wasn’t visibly large in recent weeks. That’s why no measures such as separating the mother were taken,” an official from Gwangju Uchi Park said.
“On top of everything, the fact that we are two zookeepers short is a big burden on the care of the animals here,” the official added.
Around 30 animals die at Gwangju Uchi Park each year, a facility that is home to over 750 animals of 122 different species.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)