Image Courtesy: credit: Lu Chaunguan/Xinhua/AP
A very interesting story - rather a fact - had created a buzz across the web as it was flashed on the media on May 2007. A female dog (mongrel) became the center of focus of animals lovers around the world by being the surrogate mother of three tiger cubs, born at a zoo in the country's eastern Shandong province. The god mother named "Huani" is suckling three little tiger cubs, who had been named imaginatively as ONE, TWO and THREE by staff at Jinan Paomaling Wild Animal World. The trio ill-fated babies were rejected by their mother shortly after their birth and the responsibility of nurturing them was shouldered by "Huani", who continued to suckle the three little tiger cubs until their appetites outpaced her supply of milk. The zoo manager, Chen Yucai, said that it wasn't surprisingly uncommon for Chinese zoos to use female dogs as surrogate mothers for abandoned tiger cubs. It's almost a dog's life for the three newborn tiger triplets in Eastern China.
The art of introducing the tiger cubs to dogs for nursing had always been quite unique. The zoo staff used to rubbed the urine of surrogate mother - the female dog on the coat of the tiger babies, and gradually brought them close to her. This made the surrogate mother think that she was nursing her own pups. But this time, it wasn't that much of hardship for the zoo staff, because Huani had already nursed tiger babes before. She did not mind caring for ONE, TWO and THREE. Huani proved her angelic magnanimity that every mother should have. We humans have a lot to learn from this mongrel!
A spokeswoman at London Zoo said that staff usually try to match the abandoned animal babies with a mother of the same species. In the 1990s, an Asiatic lion at the London Zoo had abandoned her cub, when the staff had to place the little creature with another lioness that had given birth to her own two cubs. According to many, the abandoned animal babies are placed in the surrogate mother's litter of the same species, because it would acquire her smell and be accepted by her too. So there's a chance of re-abandonment of the cubs or killing of the foreign cubs by the surrogate mothers. If a surrogate of the same species can't be found, London Zoo staff would try try to find a companion animal for abandoned babies. But Chinese dogs like Huani have made things easier for the zoo staff.