Chipper Stories: Animal Adoption and the Tiger Piglets

In a zoo in Thailand, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.
The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother’s cub’s, perhaps she would improve.
After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species, will take on the care of a different species. The only ‘orphans’ that could be found quickly, were a litter of weanling pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Then the question was, would they become cubs or pork chops?


Cubs they were! In general, we think of the animal kingdom as a cruel place where survival of the fittest reigns supreme. But there are instances when that’s not the case and animals show incredible kindness toward one another. Think about it: If human beings—who are indeed animals—feel protective instincts for other species (ahem, “man’s best friend”) then it’s not such a stretch that other animals could feel the same way. Animals often take on other species orphaned young when they lose a little one of their own. Humans can learn a lot from this animal acceptance!