JACKSON, N.J. (FOX 5 NY) - A Siberian tiger born at Six Flags Great Adventure in May is only the second Siberian born there in 15 years.
The animal care team named the cub Carli in honor of Carli Lloyd, the World Cup and Olympic soccer champion and New Jersey native. (Lloyd is currently playing with the USWNT at the FIFA World Cup in France.)
Carli, now 6 weeks old, is the first cub born to the safari's Nadya. The animal care team has to hand-raise Carli.
"Nadya showed great mothering skills at first; but when she failed to nurse her cub, we stepped in. Today, Carli is doing extremely well," Dr. Ken Keiffer, the safari veterinarian, said in a statement. "She weighs 12 pounds and when full-grown, will weigh more than 500 pounds. Her large paws are indicative of the massive cat she will grow to become one day."
Carli will soon be on display in the Safari Discoveries section.
Three years ago, Nadya was paired with a female African lion named Zuri. The two cats bonded and still live together. The animal care team plans to reintroduce Carli, when she is older, to her mother.
"Tigers are typically solitary animals, while lions are more social," Keiffer said. "The strong bond that Carli's mom Nadya shares with lion Zuri will hopefully mean that the trio will become their own pride one day."
Scientists estimate that fewer than 500 Siberian tigers are left in the wild.