Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 28:
Visitors to the Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) had a spectacular view of four melanistic tiger cubs after they were released to the display enclosures after turning one today.
The NZP authorities had planned to observe the first birth anniversary of these four melanistic tiger cubs born to Manish and Sneha on July 28 last year.
However, they called off the celebrations and observed it in a low-key note following the demise of former President APJ Abdul Kalam yesterday. The cubs were quietly released to the enclosure today.
“We did not celebrate the first birthday of the cubs due to the national mourning following the demise of APJ Kalam. As it is necessary to put the cubs in the display enclosure after one year of birth, we had to put them in the display enclosure for the viewing of the visitors. For the first time, melanistic tigers are being brought to the open for the view of public. These tigers were born with black stripes due to genetic reasons owing to increased development of melanin pigment in the body. This pigmentation is a rare phenomenon and melanistic tigers are rarely found across the world,” NZP Director, Sudarshan Panda said.
Visitors to the zoological park had a rare sight of the big cats when they saw the mother Sneha and her four offspring–Subhranshu, Krishna, Snehasish and Annie – playing around. The cubs have been kept in 30 D enclosure.
Last year, white Royal Bengal tigress Sneha had given birth to three male and a female cubs. While the male cub Subhranshu had white-black stripes, another male cub Krishna had black body with white patches on the belly. Similarly, male cub Snehasish had ashen and black stripes and female cub Annie had normal yellow-black stripes on her body.
Puri King Dibyasingh Deb along with his family also visited the zoo and witnessed the rare spectacle.
“We are stressing on cleanliness and comfort of the cubs since their birth. A year later, the parents and the four cubs are hale and hearty. The one-year-old cubs played around in their enclosure, unperturbed by hundreds of visitors who took a peek at them behind the fences,” Bhaskar, a zoo staff said.
As per the animal inventory data available till March end this year, NZP has 26 tigers, 18 normal Royal Bengal tigers (5 male and 13 female) and 8 white Royal Bengal tigers (3 male and 5 female).