A Siberian tiger known as Boonya gave birth over the weekend to four baby tigers at a zoo in Kristiansand, and zoo officials were already calling the event “historic.” All four baby tigers were said to be healthy and well-cared for by their new mother.
“A tiger birth is a big deal for us,” Per Arnstein Aamot, managing director of Dyreparken on Norway’s southern coast, told state broadcaster NRK. “It has only occurred twice in Norway and never as many as four.”
Boonya also has a dramatic background, born in Novosibir to a mother who’d been snared in an illegal trap and was too injured to be returned to the wild. She later gave birth to Boonya, who now is part of an international breeding program herself for Siberian tigers. She came to the zoo in Kristiansand in February 2013.
“I think Boonya will be a good mother,” Hilde Sangesland Strædet, who’s been taking care of Boonya, told NRK. “I’ve been following her on a surveillance camera and she’s washing them and feeding them. The babies seem healthy.”
Strædet was the first to discover that the tiger had given birth, apparently early Sunday morning. She’d been sitting up during the night to check on Boonya and thinks the birth occurred between 4:30 and 7am. “Boonya has had a tendency to lie behind a stump in her enclosure,” Strædet said, so the birth had been hidden. “Then I saw baby tigers lying with her. I was very relieved that it all went so well.”