This is the adorable moment a cuddly ‘dummy toy’ tigress fitted with synthetic nipples and a milk bottle feeds its three orphaned cubs.
Park rangers at the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India, came with the idea to help three traumatised cubs spring back to their feet after the death of their mother.
The rangers had earlier tried to feed goat milk to the cubs directly through bottles but they when they refused, they fitted bottles inside the dummy mummy.
Field Director at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Mridul Pathak said: “Milk Bottles have been fitted inside the toy to feed the tiger cubs who were orphaned in January.”
“We tried to give them goats’ milk initially but they didn’t like the human interaction. They just refused to take the bottle from our staff. Now they have been feeding from the synthetic nipples attached to the dummy for six days and their energy levels have increased from the first feed.” Pathak said.
To mimic their natural habitat, a special enclosure has been built for the tiger cubs inside their compound using twigs, grass and sand.
To recreate the feeling for the cubs of being close to their real mother, forest officials have even rubbed the faeces of the mother on the cuddly toy tigress and grass.
The cubs were found in a critical condition after the body of their mother was discovered near a river in January this year.
The rangers quickly treated the cubs for dehydration and rushed them back to the enclosure.
It is believed that the tigress may have died after brushing against an electric fence erected by cattle farmers.
According to the most recent census in 2014, India is home to more than half of the world’s tiger population with more than 2,200 roaming in reserves.