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Abandoned baby tigers mothered by Shar-Pei dog

07-09-2012 14:53 BJT

A rare Siberian tiger gave birth to two baby cubs in late May in a zoo at the Oktyabrsky health resort in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, but the cubs' mother refused to feed them, an unusual candidate stepped forward.

The two cubs then were adopted by the most unlikeliest of nannies - a Shar-Pei dog called Cleopatra - who now breastfeeds and cleans the tigers, Clyopa and Plyusha.

Cleopatra the Shar Pei feeds her two adoptive children. When the two cubs' mother refused to feed them Cleopatra took over mothering duties and is now giving them all her attention, zoo workers have said.

Siberian tiger cub Plyusha gets the better of Shar-Pei puppy Fighter in the house in Socha, Russia.

Luckily, Cleopatra had just had a litter of puppies herself, and freely accepted the cubs as her own.

Now the cubs live with Cleopatra, her puppies, and a cat called Masyanya at a house in Sochi, western Russia.

Zoo assistant director Viktoria Kudlayeva said the dog immediately gave the cubs all her attention and the cubs pose no danger to the dog even though they are already showing their claws and hissing.

Fewer than 400 Siberian tigers - also known as Ussuri, Amur or Manchurian tigers - have survived in the wild, most of them in Russia's Far East.

Clyopa stalks past 18-month-old baby Gleb, who shares the house with dogs, cats and tigers.

Clyopa battles with cat Masyanya. The month-old cubs have been welcomed into the house.

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