By Mikey Jones
An adorably wide-eyed tiger cub needed a helping hand after earning her stripes – bravely pawing through her very first swimming lessons.
Hilarious pictures show a little Sumatran tiger taking to the challenge like a duck to water after trainers at the Zoo Miami, Florida, gently plopped the shocked cub into the water.
While her hair was standing on end at the sight of the enclosure’s moat, it was all part of a carefully planned exercise to get the little cub ready to safely live with her mother in a public exhibit containing water.
Despite her initial, unhappy, protests the little tiger amazingly knew exactly what to do, said Ron Magill Communications Director: “As the cub was gently dropped into the water, her instincts quickly kicked in and she rose to the surface and beautifully paddled her way to the ledge of the pool.
“She had passed her beginners swim test with flying colours, though her face let us know that she was not terribly happy about it.
“However, she did so well that she decided to go straight to the advanced level class and bolted for the edge of the exhibit where she did a beautiful tiger leap with her paws straight out and dove into the moat.”
Trainers were nearby throughout the cub’s first swimming lessons, ready to rush to her if she struggled to get her paws kicking.
During her second taste of swimming in the moat, the little tiger eventually decided to call it a day and was ready to be nestled back with her mother – Tucking herself against a rockface and waiting to be retrieved.
Ron said: “Once again, she demonstrated excellent swimming skills, quickly swimming to a ledge against the moat wall where she looked around to see if someone was going to come to her rescue.
“Within a few seconds, staff members were in the moat and swam to safely retrieve her and return her to her mother where she is resting comfortably and certainly going to get a good night’s sleep after such an adventurous day.”
It’s a significant milestone for the cub, who has yet to make their public debut with their mother at the zoo.