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Tiger cubs given names reflecting Russian roots Viktor, left, and Talya, the Amur tiger cubs born two months ago, weighed 21 pounds and 18 pounds, respectively, at a recent checkup.
Viktor, left, and Talya, the Amur tiger cubs born two months ago, weighed 21 pounds and 18 pounds, respectively, at a recent checkup.
TOLEDO ZOO Enlarge
Published: Thursday, 12/1/2011

Tiger cubs given names reflecting Russian roots

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Although not exactly a baby boom, the pitter patter of little bitty paws at the Toledo Zoo has been growing of late.

The zoo announced Wednesday that names had been given to the male and female Amur tiger cubs that were born two months ago.

Viktor, who is the boy, and Talya have monikers that reflect the cubs' Russian heritage, said Andi Norman, spokesman for the zoo, adding that the animals and their mom, Marta, scored well during recent checkups.

Viktor, which is Russian for "conqueror," and Talya, for "birthday," were suggested by zoo staff, she said.

The cubs, born Sept. 26, follow a string of new baby mammal births at the zoo this year. A giraffe, Tuli, was born July 23, and Lucas, an elephant calf, arrived June 3.

Also, a Kori Bustard chick was hatched June 27 at the zoo, which is the northernmost zoo to breed the rare and endangered bird that is a native of Africa.

Sometimes called the Siberian tiger, Amur tigers inhabit eastern Russia and are rare and critically endangered.

Ms. Norman said that as few as 143 Amur tigers are kept in about 53 North American zoos accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Marta and the cubs' father, Strannik, are both 8 years old and first-time parents.

The mother was among three cubs born at the zoo in 2003 to Sasha, and Strannik is on loan from the Toronto Zoo and was at the zoo in Erie, Pa., before coming to Toledo.

Ms. Norman said the breeding of Marta and Strannik was done under the guidelines for the Amur tiger Species Survival Plan, a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and aimed at tracking breeding at zoos.

The zoo plans to put Marta and her cubs on display in January. She said the pair will be kept with their mother for two years.

The zoo said two-month checkups showed the cubs were holding healthy weights, a sign Marta's maternal instincts had kicked in, which is always a concern for first-time mothers.

Viktor and Talya tipped the scales at 21 pounds and 18 pounds, respectively, at the checkup.

"Both cubs continue to gain in weight and mobility, which is a reflection of Marta's outstanding care so far," said Dr. Randi Meyerson, curator of mammals. "We are cautiously optimistic about their future progress."

When fully grown, male tigers weigh about 400 pounds and females are about 300 pounds.



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