Milwaukee County zookeepers hand-raise tiger cub back to health

Posted at 7:37 AM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 20:17:05-05

Zookeepers at the Milwaukee County Zoo have been busy playing mom to a big cat. They're trying to save a tiger cub named Kash who looks normal at first glance.

"He is very curious about everything," said zookeeper Katie Kuhn.

But his journey through three months of life has been far from ordinary.

"I've been here for five years and this was the first time we've really had to step in and supplement feed a big cat," said Kuhn.

Kuhn says zookeepers noticed something wasn't quite right a couple months ago.

"He was separating himself from mom and the other cubs,” she said. “(His mother) was trying to make sure he was nursing, but he just seemed overall that his health was declining."

Zookeepers had to make the tough decision to pull him from his mother and two sisters.

"What we found to be an infection in his leg," said Kuhn.

Veterinarians’ discovered the same bacterial infection that killed his sister just months ago.

"We wanted to make sure we didn't lose him," said Kuhn. 

The Milwaukee County Zoo formed a team to nurse him back to health.

"Our vet staff taught him how to drink out of a bottle, which doesn't always come natural because it's different than they would nurse off of mom," said Kuhn.

The infection was drained from his leg leading to a full recovery. Then it was time to reintroduce him to his siblings.

"We bring his sisters over so he can learn how to be a tiger from his sisters," said Kuhn.

They play every day for several hours, allowing Kash’s extroverted personality to shine through.

"Once we knew he was out of the woods you start to build those emotional stings with him," said Kuhn.

Kash will eventually move back into tiger holding full time with his siblings.


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