Zoo in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico welcomes two white tiger cubs
A Mexican zoo is celebrating treasured new additions, two Bengal white tiger cubs - one of the world's most endangered species, in their first public appearance since being born.
Zookeepers said the birth of the tigers represented an important contribution to saving the animals from extinction.
The cubs parents, mother Sascha and father Jazim, both rescued from circuses, live at the San Jorge Zoo, in Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, where the cubs were born.
"In this case, it's very nice to see the mother is looking after her cubs, because normally cubs of mothers in captivity, don't survive. In this case, due to a lack of care by the mother for her cub or due to stress, the animal might kill and eat them," said veterinarian Juan Francisco Olivas.
Sascha and Jazim moved into the zoo two years ago.
The whelps, who were born a month ago, are in good health and now weigh about 4.4 - 6.6 pounds each.
They are currently both being nursed by their mother, who weighs about 440 pounds and feeds solely on meat, according to zoo officials.
Both cubs are already on exhibition, unless it rains and turns cold. In that case, their will be protected. Up until now, they had been kept in isolation.
In a few weeks, children will be allowed to send in their name suggestions for the cubs via email.
White tigers are a genetic variation of the better-known orange Bengal tigers.
"As a hereditary condition they are affected by albinism, which is their main characteristic, their white colour. They are very difficult to see and are extremely happy to have such an important achievement here at the recreational San Jorge Zoo," said Arturo Silva of the San Jorge Zoo.
Thousands of tigers once roamed the forests in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. But their numbers have plummeted to just about 2,500 now, wildlife experts say.
Poaching, deforestation and over-hunting have hit their numbers.