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Hollywild Animal Park has welcomed a bouncing baby…. tiger!

“Kashmir” was born on May 2, 2010 to the park’s tigress, “Liv,” a longtime park resident. His father, “Liberty,” another Hollywild tiger, passed away of natural causes this spring before ever meeting his son.

At birth, Kashmir developed digestive trouble. Liv couldn’t feed him and quickly started nudging him toward her keepers, asking for help. In the wild, Kashmir would not have survived. Not so at Hollywild. The keepers worked with area veterinarians to identify and treat Kashmir’s digestive problems and now he’s making his first public appearances.

On Saturday, September 11th, Kashmir was showcased at Hollywild’s Photography Day. Amateur photographers were able to meet the newest member of the Hollywild big cat family and learn more about Kashmir’s importance.

As Kashmir pawed at the plants, and rolled in the grass, much like a pet kitten playing with yarn, Linda M. Poole, Hollywild’s outreach coordinator, explained the cat’s significance to the park’s educational mission.

“Kashmir is a living tribute to worldwide conservation efforts. He is a Siberian Tiger, one of the most severely endangered tigers in the world. When people visit Hollywild and learn about him and his species, they start to think about the choices they make that effect the environment. That makes a difference,” explained Poole.

In the wild, Siberian Tigers are solitary animals, roaming as far north as Siberia, as far south as Bali, as far west as Turkey and as far east as the coastal areas of Russia and China. In that large range, there are still less than 500 Siberian Tigers in the wild. They live solitary lives and unlike other big cats like lions, cougars, and cheetahs, they like to live in areas with dense ground cover, enabling them to hide easily from their prey.

“This little guy has been through a lot, but now we know he’s healthy and growing well. We were touched that Liv turned to us to help her cub survive and now, to see him thriving,” said Jeanne Peters, head of animal staff at Hollywild.

When fully grown, Kashmir will weigh up to 700 pounds and create paw prints the size of dinner plates. But for now, his kitten-like behavior gives those who can interact with him closely the chance to appreciate the species on a whole new level. Kashmir will also be showcased at the October 9th Photography Day event.

In addition to the on-site birth of a new cub, one of Hollywild’s jaguars, currently on loan to a zoo in Florida, has recently given birth to twin cubs, a male and female, who will be returning to the park when they are old enough to travel safely.

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