Korea’s largest theme park Everland has welcomed the births of several members of rare species in the last two years. It is always happy news when there are new births among them, not just because baby animals are cute, but because the more the merrier.
Breeding tigers of all stripes
Last June, Everland’s Siberian tiger mom Geon-gon gave birth to a litter of five healthy tiger cubs. They were later named Areum, Da-un, Uri, Nara and Gangsan and these have now made their debut to an adoring public in Everland’s Tiger Valley.
The live birth of five cubs is rare among tigers, making the arrival of these furry quintuplets an occasion for great celebration, especially considering the total population of Siberian tigers in the wild is below a thousand.
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But it was not Geon-gon’s first litter. In early 2020 she and tiger dad Tae-ho welcomed their first children, brother and sister Tae-beom and Mu-gung, to the world. This pair is now 21 months old, around the age when young tigers become independent and leave home to seek a life of their own. The pair has recently been relocated from Everland to the Baekdudaegan Arboretum for an initial period of two years to learn to live as independent adult tigers.
Sending Tae-beom and Mu-gung from Everland to the Baekdudaegan Arboretum is part of an agreement between the two organizations to exchange and research endangered animal and plant species. The two big cats will be closely observed and studied, helping scientists learn more about tiger ecology.
Since 2017, Everland has sponsored the Tiger and Leopard Conservation Fund in Korea and is also supporting conservation activities aimed at helping tigers living in the borderlands between Russia and China. This activity, an example of a public-private partnership in animal conservation, will greatly increase knowledge about the breeding of Siberian tigers and diseases that are common to the species.
Jung Dong-hee, chief of Everland Zoo, expressed his hope that this exchange will provide opportunities for Tae-beom and Mugung to grow healthier, adding, “At the same time, we hope that it will be an opportunity to work together on the conservation of Siberian tigers.”
Birth and thriving of panda Fu Bao another cause for joy
Tigers are not the only animals to be born at Everland recently. The park last year celebrated the arrival of Korea’s first domestically born giant panda, Fu Bao. She is almost 18 months old now, and is growing bigger and stronger by the day with the love and care of her mother and zookeepers.
As pandas only breed under the right conditions and at certain times of the year, a dedicated team of Everland zookeepers pulled out all the stops to make everything just right, and in July 2020 Ai Bao gave birth to her tiny daughter Fu Bao.
Since then, Fu Bao has thrived, growing to almost 230 times her birth weight, exchanging milk teeth for adult teeth and beginning to chew on bamboo, according to her zookeeper Kang Cheol-won. She is already acting more and more independently with each passing day. Check out the interview below for more detailed news about Fu Bao!
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