Dreamworld’s first cub to be born at the park in seven years, Kai has made a big impression on our haven junior reporter. Especially since he rocked our latest cover shoot like a true supermodel! Kai is offspring to resident nine-year-old female tiger, Nika, and 11-year-old male tiger, Raja coming into this world on 25 July weighing 1.2kg.
Our haven junior reporter sat down with Patrick Martin-Vegue, Manager of Dreamworld Tiger Island to find out more tiger tales.
How long have you been training tigers at Dreamworld?
Twenty years – I brought the tigers from California and opened Tiger Island.
Tell me how you got such a cool job as a tiger trainer?
I submitted proposals to many places around the world, asking different parks and attractions if they were interested in creating a tiger island and Dreamworld said yes. I had been working at Marine World (which is now Six Flags in California) previously for 15 years.
Do you train any other animals?
Here I work with cougars and in California I worked with elephants, giraffes, tigers and lions.
Do you have a bond with this little tiger cub, Kai?
Sort of, he knows who I am and enjoys hanging out with me; he gets in trouble with me though too!
Have you gone to a tiger’s natural habitat to see them in the wild?
I have. I have seen tigers in India and I have been to Nepal too.
What do tigers eat each day?
These guys eat meat and Kai eats a formula made for tiger cubs.
How long do the tiger cubs have to be bottle-fed?
Kai will have a bottle for six months and as he gets older, he’ll eat more meat and less milk.
Do the tigers need lots of exercise?
They don’t need a lot of exercise, but they do need some – they need to be mentally active and working things out for themselves. They actually sleep 16-18 hours per day.
How old is the tiger cub in human years?
How long will it take for the tiger to be fully grown?
Two and half to three years.
Do they stay with their pack for the rest of their lives?
No, in the wild their mum would give birth to them and then would chase them off after about two and a half years so they could find their own territory.
How would you describe Kai’s personality?
He is pretty adventurous and wants to play, check things out. He has cruised around a lot and runs around everywhere now. He isn’t very shy.
What type of tiger is Kai?
Generic tiger – he doesn’t have one strict regional background. His mum was Siberian and dad is Sumatran.
What are some other interesting facts about Kai?
Kai has had a big week playing with other tigers and doing his cub display meeting people. He had his vaccination this week.
Dreamworld guests can see the Kai the tiger cub every day from 10am to 5pm at Tiger Island. For the latest cub news and exclusive vision and images sign up to Dreamworld’s online ‘Cub Club’. Or for more information on VIP Tiger Cub Experience visit www.dreamworld.com.au.
Interview: Sienna O’Connor