Tulsa Tiger Cub Berani Meets New Family In Washington

Friday, October 12th 2012, 8:51 am
By: LeAnne Taylor

It's the story of the little tiger cub who needed a home. The Tulsa Zoo had been raising Berani since shortly after he was born. 

On Wednesday, he was introduced to his new family, and I was invited to make the trip with him.

It was a special cargo being loaded into the plane. Inside a blue crate was 6-week-old Berani. The Malayan tiger cub moved from the Tulsa Zoo to his new home in Washington.

When Berani was just a day old, his mama abandoned him so he traveled cross country to meet his new family. 

"He looks good. He looks settled. I think he's ready for his adventure. Handsome I think that's a yes," said Dr. Jen Kilburn, veterinarian.

After a 3 hour 40 minute flight to Tacoma, it was a short van ride to his new home: Point Defiance Zoo.

Berani is about to join his new brother, Dumai, a Sumatran tiger cub who was also abandoned by his mom. He's 4 days older than Berani and was being hand raised. And now the moment of truth - two orphans becoming brothers.

"They don't know that they're two different sub-species of tigers," Dr. Jen said. "They just know they have a playmate. I have a brother now, so hopefully they'll continue to bond and play together and grow up together and learn from each other." 

Right now there's a very evident difference. Dumai has fluffier coat and a little bit squattier and Berani has a way longer neck and different color so it's going to be fascinating to watch them, and it's a great educational opportunity for people to see these two different sub-species of tiger.

10/11/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Tiger Cub Moves To New Zoo In Style

Berani joins an exhibit at the Tacoma zoo that now totals 6 tigers including Dumai's dad 4-year-old Malosi, and his mom 9-year-old Jaya. Both are on display for zoo goers to see. 

Here at the Point Defiance Zoo, there are several different exhibits for the tigers but Malosi, the big boy, he is always by himself. Over the next 3 months, eventually Berani and Dumai will be moved here to what's known as the day room. This will be the area where they'll live and play on display."

But for the meantime, the two new siblings will be in the cub den where folks can watch them interact with the zoo staff and with one another. Dr Jen will be here for a few more days helping with the transition. 

"It'll take a bit for Berani to figure everything out, and I'm so glad that Dr. Jen could be here so there is something familiar," a zoo official said. "We do know that Berani and Dumai will get along together, but they still affiliate with people and so it's good to have that carry over for a few days."

Dr. Jen says leaving Berani in Tacoma is a little bittersweet. She's been his mom for the last six weeks, but she says this is the best thing for him: to learn how to be a tiger.