Everland's Siberian tiger siblings to go to tiger camp next month

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Everland's Siberian tiger siblings to go to tiger camp next month

Two sibling Siberian tiger cubs will be relocated from a zoo in Gyeonggi to a premium tiger reserve in Bonghwa County, North Gyeongsang, next month.
  
The tigers' relocation is part of a cooperation pact between Everland, an amusement park with a zoo in Yongin, Gyeonggi, and the Baekdudaegan National Arboretum in Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang, to preserve, exchange and study endangered animal and plant species.
 
Under the agreement, the two 19-month-old Siberian cubs, Tae-beom (male) and Mu-gung (female), will be staying at the Mount Baekdu Tiger Conservation Center's "tiger forest" for the next two years.
 
The relocation of the cubs was timed to match the age that young tigers become independent from their mothers, which is around 17 to 24 months of age.
 
A total of four tigers currently roam the center's 12.8 acre fenced forest enclosure. This is the size of about seven football fields.
 
Closely resembling the Siberian tigers' natural habitat, the tiger forest is the largest tiger reserve in Korea.
 
Korea Forest Service established the tiger forest in 2015 with 220 billion won ($186 million).
 
Ahead of the cubs' arrival in October, the center built two 30-square-meter (323-square-foot) rooms with wooden decks, heated floors and cooling systems.
 
The new cubs will each be fed a carefully calculated diet of 4 to 6 kilograms (9 to 13 pounds) of chicken and beef per day.
 
The conservation center's workers also installed a soft cushioning device in the transport vehicle's suspension to minimize the impact of bumps on the road during the cubs' two-hour trip from Everland to the arboretum.
 
The center planned an eight-month adaptation program for the cubs as well, during which they will be kept isolated from the other tigers.
 
"The center's workers will closely monitor the siblings along with Everland zookeepers," said a worker of Mount Baekdu Tiger Conservation Center. "We plan to publicly reveal the cubs' stay at the center sometime next year."
 
Siberian tigers, also known as Korean tigers or Mount Baekdu tigers in Korea, are categorized as a highly endangered species and are protected by the government.
 
There are only around 1,000 Siberian tigers remaining in the world.
 
Everland and Mount Baekdu Tiger Conservation Center have been in talks about relocating the zoo's two cubs since early this year.
 
"We expect that this exchange will provide an opportunity for Tae-beom and Mu-gung to grow into healthy adult tigers," said Jeong Dong-hee, head of Everland Zoo. "I also hope that this exchange can culminate interest in the preservation of Korean tigers."

BY LEE JIAN, KIM YOUN-HO [lee.jian@joongang.co.kr]
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