Cold in blacked-out Crimea kills rare Bengal tiger cub

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2015 9:32 AM
Cold in blacked-out Crimea kills rare Bengal tiger cub

MOSCOW (AP) — A rare white Bengal tiger cub has died of the cold in Crimea amid a two-week power blackout, the zoo's director said Friday.

Russian state news agencies quoted Oleg Zubkov, director of the zoo in the Black Sea resort of Yalta, as saying the 6-week-old male cub died after one of two generators at the zoo broke down. Employees have been struggling to keep all the animals warm, he said, adding that other animals are still in danger while the zoo was waiting for a replacement generator to arrive Saturday from Moscow.

"We've failed to maintain the temperature regime," Zubkov told the RIA Novosti news agency. "These were white Bengal tiger cubs, they are very particular about the warmth."

The cub that died is an offspring of Ukraine's most famous tiger, Tigryulia, which became a symbol in Yulia Tymoshenko's 2010 presidential campaign. Tymoshenko gave the albino tiger to the Yalta zoo after the campaign.

Zubkov did not give the exact date of the cub's death and the zoo still has two of the dead cub's siblings. Bengal tigers are rare species, with just 135 believed to live in Russia.

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Zubkov for further comment.

Crimean Prosecutor General Natalya Poklonskaya on Friday lashed out at the zoo's director, blaming him for the cub's death. Poklonskaya said the zoo should have bought diesel generators to save the animal's life.

Crimea is still dealing with the blackout, despite Wednesday's first delivery of power from Russia since unknown attackers blew up electricity pylons near the de-facto Ukrainian-Crimean border nearly two weeks ago.

At least 200,000 people are still without electricity in the peninsula of 2 million, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014 following a hastily called referendum.