A rare Amur tiger cub was tragically crushed to death at Dublin Zoo by its mother, in an accident that unfolded on Sunday evening’s episode of The Zoo on RTÉ One.
Zookeepers were sadly unable to intervene as the mother was in labour at the time and was about to give birth to two more cubs.
Zookeepers Ciarán McMahon and Julie Bevins were watching mother Tundra give birth via video link when they saw her lay on top of the newborn.
Ciarán commented, “I knew that was going to happen because of the position alone – it’s underneath her now and she’s cleaning herself.”
Julie added, “It’s obviously not making any noise because there is no response from her. If it made a noise she would jump up straight away.”
Explaining why they couldn’t step in and act, Ciarán said, “For us to step in at this stage would be futile for her well-being and for the cubs that are still inside her.
“So we just let the natural process take place now. Maybe for the second cub things will be different – and maybe a third cub, we don’t know, but we certainly won’t interfere at this stage.”
Thankfully, two healthy female tiger cubs were born and are now doing really well.
Ciarán added, “We are over the moon – fingers crossed, it’s still a very early stage. We have waited 20 years for this.”
The Zoo airs Sundays at 6.30pm on RTÉ One.