The Cincinnati Zoo’s surrogate ‘mom’ is at it again but this time, he is helping out a few rare Malayan tiger cubs.
Blakely, the beloved Australia shepherd who serves at the Cincinnati Zoo’s surrogate “mom” is again stepping into the role as he helps out three Malayan tiger cubs.
The cubs, who were born on Feb. 3, reside in the zoo’s nursery after they were ignored by their mother. Besides round-the-clock care from the staff, the babies also receiving some TLC from the 6-year-old resident nanny, who is providing snuggles and offering guidance.
Besides letting the cubs play and crawl on him, Blakely is teaching them social cues, etiquette and intervening them when they are getting too rough – all things their mother would have taught the tigers.
“My team can feed and care for the tiger cubs, but we can’t teach them the difference between a play bite and one that means ‘watch out’. So, that’s Blakely’s job,” Dawn Strasser, the head of Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery staff, said on the zoo’s website. “Just a little time with him at this early age will help them learn behaviors that will come in handy when they meet tigers at other zoos in the future.”
This isn’t Blakely’s first rodeo. As we reported last year, the dog stepped into the role of nanny when five cheetah cubs became orphans after their mother did not make it through a C-section.
He too helped them with muscle strength, playing and served as a role model.
In the past, he has also acted as a surrogate mother to a takin, a goat-antelope like animal, an ocelot, aardvark, serval, infant warthog, a fox and brother wallabies.
The cubs are named Chira (as she was treated by a chiropractor), Batari (meaning goddess) and Izzy (meaning promised by God).The tiger cubs will move to the zoo’s Cat Canyon this summer after they receive all their immunizations.
Check out all their cuteness in this video