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Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

By Ngoc Thanh   January 9, 2022 | 07:09 pm PT
The Hanoi Animal Rescue Center currently has 36 big cats, most of them Indochinese tigers, either rescued from wildlife traffickers or born in captivity.
Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

An aerial view of a section of Soc Son District where the Hanoi Animal Rescue Center is located. The center has the highest number of tigers among all such facilities in Vietnam.

Most of the tigers at the center were rescued from animal traffickers. The center also cares for around 1,000 other animals including turtles, snakes, birds, bears and monkeys.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

It has an enclosure system that can only be operated from the outside. An eight-member team with years of experience under their belt is in charge of taking care of the tigers.

"To become a 'tiger nanny,' one must have the compassion and patience to get to know each tiger and make them feel calm and comfortable. If this is done, the tigers are friendly and obedient. If not, they would growl at your slightest step," said center director Luong Xuan Hong.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

The tiger enclosure was built 15 years ago. It has several sturdy cages and areas for playing. Thermometers outside help check the felines are kept in temperatures they are comfortable in.

When a tiger is brought in, she or he is medically examined and monitored for some time before being allowed to mingle with others. Those showing aggressive behavior are placed in solitary enclosures.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

Three tiger nannies, Nam, Trung and Thao, have seven to eight years of experience in taking care of the tigers. They clean the enclosures thoroughly at 8 a.m. and try to befriend the animals they take care of.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

The cleaning starts after the tigers are taken to a different area. This is done to ensure that the enclosures are clean and free of pathogens.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

Thao brings in tree branches for the tigers to play with, which relieves their anxiety.

In recent years, the center has invited several wildlife experts from both inside and outside Vietnam to collect information on taking care of the tigers.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

Nguyen Ngoc Anh prepares food for the tigers.

"Each tiger gets two meals a day, one at 10 a.m. and the other at 4 p.m. The meals for each tiger cost over VND1 million ($44.07) a day: 3 kg of chicken, 1.5 kg of beef and 0.5 kg of ribs. The amount of food is adjusted for different tigers."

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

The nannies keep their distance when feeding the tigers.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

Each tiger at the center is tagged and monitored.

In the wild, an adult male Indochinese tiger can grow up to 2.85 meters long and weigh up to 300 kg. Females are often smaller.

Females bear up to five tigers per litter. Newborn tigers usually weigh around 1 kg at birth.

Due to limited space, the center has had to neuter several tigers to prevent overpopulation.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

"Every morning, I have to go to each cage to call the tigers' names and check their health. In the winter, they often get respiratory diseases, and in the summer, have gastrointestinal and skin conditions. They require yearly vaccination and health checks," said veterinarian Trinh Thu Hang.

Rescued tigers wile away their days at Hanoi center

Over the last three years, the center has divided itself into two parts: one as a semi-wild enclosure and the other for a welfare enter for the tigers. Those that have successfully co-habited with each other are kept in the same space, and allowed to roam free at certain hours.

Vietnam has only around five tigers left in the wild, according to a 2016 WWF estimate.

 
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