Its snow joke – this White Swiss Shepherd Dog is proving a life saver after she adopted three tiger cubs abandoned by their mother at a local zoo in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The White Swiss Shepherd named Tally is breastfeeding the tiny trio of tigers after the mother Bagheera refused to feed them herself.
Keepers said the dog was producing milk for the cubs, two males and a female that were born in October, even though her own puppies have not yet been born. They are feeding her a high protein food to make sure she has enough milk for them all.
It is not the first time the tiger mum has abandoned her cubs at the zoo at the Oktyabrsky health resort. Zoo keepers last time five months ago used a wrinkled, sand-colored Shar Pei dog named Cleopatra. The two cubs born then were sold to a Moscow circus.
This time round they already had the dog wet nurse Tally lined up, and zoo spokesperson Victoria Kudlaeva said were surprised that she had adopted the three so quickly.
The cubs are also being fed goat’s milk as an additional supplement. The female has been named after her adopted mum Tally – and the zoo is holding a contest to name the two males.
And althought the cubs have sharper claws than puppies they have learned not to annoy their adopted mum – who nudges them away with her nose when they start to scratch or bite.
Fewer than 400 Siberian tigers also known as Ussuri, Amur or Manchurian tigers have survived in the wild, most of them in Russia’s Far East.