The Oklahoma City Zoo has received a female Amur tiger cub that was rejected by her mother at the Philadelphia Zoo.
The tiger cub, named Zoya, which means “life” in Russian, was born on July 10.
Officials said Zoya was not nurtured by her mother, which is not uncommon among first-time mother tigers. As a result, Philadelphia Zoo staff, bottle-fed Zoya.
Since the zoo was concerned about hand-rearing the cub without giving it social opportunities, the zoo decided to transfer the cub to the Oklahoma City Zoo, which has a litter of Sumatran tiger cubs who were born on July 9.
The zoos decided that it would be best for Zoya to be cross-fostered with Lola, the six-year-old Sumatran mother tiger at the OKC Zoo.
“Cross-fostering in tigers is unusual, but with less than 500 Amur tigers in the wild, every cub is important for the species’ survival,” said Dr. Rebecca Snyder, curator of conservation and science, Oklahoma City Zoo.
The OKC Zoo said Zoya is successfully being nursed by Lola.
“We are very happy that Zoya has integrated well with her new adoptive family,” said Donna Evernham, curator of carnivores and ungulates, Philadelphia Zoo. “She has made an incredible journey in her first two weeks of life and our Philadelphia Zoo team is thrilled to partner with the Oklahoma City Zoo to ensure Zoya’s well-being. With fewer than 500 Amur tigers left in the wild Zoya’s birth is significant to the entire population.”