Japan: White Tiger Cubs Delight Zoo Visitors


The Tobu Zoo north of Tokyo unveiled their newest stars to the public on Thursday (May 2), four white tiger cubs born only a month and a half earlier.

The cute and cuddly cubs, currently only 30-40 centimeters long and weighing in at about five kilograms, delighted visitors who had lined up for at least an hour to get a peek at the tiny felines.

For 23-year-old architect Yusuke Terada, who came to the park with his girlfriend during the holiday, the white tigers looked like a happy family.

"Seeing such small babies, I became very happy. And when I saw three of the baby tigers playing and their mother watching over them from nearby I thought, what a nice family," Terada said.

With fewer than 200 of the species left in the wild, the zoo is eager to show off the cubs to the public.

The tiny tigers are still drinking their mother's milk but have begun to express some curiosity at the meat their mother consumes.

In Japan there are about 30 white tigers held in captivity but for other visitors it was the cuteness factor that had them smiling on the sunny Thursday morning.

"The little one tried to jump on his mom but slipped instead, it was very cute to see," 31-year-old pet groomer Tomoko Hayakawa said.

However, it is not just the zoo's guests who are getting used to the growing white tiger family, but father Rocky as well who only recently saw the tiger cubs for the first time from his neighboring cage.

According to zookeeper Hiroki Itakura, Rocky is still acclimating to the change.

"The baby white tigers' father Rocky is staying in the neighboring cage, for him he only has the memory of just Karla being there so at first he had an expression on his face like 'what are these, something foreign to me is here'. I believe that perhaps he doesn't yet even recognize them as fellow white tigers," Itakura told Reuters.

As Friday (May 3) kicks off the start of a four day weekend in Japan, the zoo expects up to 30,000 visitors daily over the long weekend, most of whom will be trying to catch a glimpse of the newest additions to the zoo's animal kingdom.

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