Southwest Airlines recently decided to give a plane ticket away for a 9-week-old Sumatran tiger cub.
The tiger cub is a male, and he was transported by air to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Here, he could mingle and play with another male tiger cub.
Southwest Airlines generously foot the bill for all of the necessary staff needed to transport the cub as well.
The Smithsonian’s National Park Zoo was the organization behind the entire operation, and along with it comes an interesting story. All of this started when the San Diego Zoo Safari Park became the surprised recipient of a male tiger cub.
The genetic lineage of this male tiger cub is unknown, but it was found on August 23, 2017, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The tiger cub was discovered by officers inspecting a vehicle entering the United States from Mexico. Legal restrictions prohibited the tiger cub from leaving California and returning to Mexico.
Meanwhile, back at the Smithsonian’s National Park Zoo, another young tiger cub was in trouble.
Born on July 11, 2017, this male tiger cub was having a rough relationship with its mother.
19 days after the cub’s birthday, the cub’s mother begin exhibiting hostility whenever the cub tried to nurse. The zookeepers had to resort to feeding the cub themselves. The zookeepers whipped up a mixture of kitten milk, artificial milk used for exotic animals, and small amounts of ground beef. By August 28, 2017, the tiger cub was in good health.
Sadly, the cub’s mother still did not want anything to do with the cub. Whenever the cub approached its mother, the mother tiger growled and demonstrated extreme hostility.
Particularity heartbreaking about the mother’s hostility was that the cub showed affection for its mother. The tiger cub truly wanted to be with its mother, but the mother wanted nothing to do with her cub. It was at this point the zookeepers at the Smithsonian’s National Park Zoo realized the tiger cub would need to be relocated.
Eventually, the zookeepers learned about the orphan cub at the San Diego Zoo. After exchanging information, the zookeepers at both zoos realized putting the two lonely cubs together would be beneficial.
Since the unwanted cub’s mother was already at home in the Smithsonian’s National Park Zoo, the decision was made the unwanted tiger cub would make the trip to California. Arrangements were quickly made, and Southwest Airlines volunteered to provide the resources needed to make this unwanted tiger cub happy.
Finally, the two tiger cubs met each other in California. The meeting was excellent!
Both tiger cubs seemed pleased to meet each other, and they happily started playing together. Hopefully, this new friendship between tiger cubs will last through many years to come.
What a happy ending for such beautiful animals!
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— San Diego Zoo Safari (@sdzsafaripark) September 12, 2017