JACKSON — Children of all ages go to Six Flags Great Adventure for their birthdays, but it is not everyday that residents of the park celebrate their first birthdays with a little star treatment of their own.

At the park's safari exhibit, Siberian tiger cub Nadya and African lion cub Zuri were the stars of the show for their very own birthday celebration. Being raised as sisters, the pair were born within a week of each other as the only children of their respective mothers which has made for a unique opportunity for the people who work at the park.

"These first time mothers were unable to care for their newborns, so our team stepped in, feeding them up to six times a day and caring for them around the clock," said Ken Keiffer, a veterinarian at Six Flags. Since there was only one lion and one tiger, Keiffer said they were brought together to form one litter in order to help their social skills develop.

Unlike human newborns, the cats have grown immensely in their first year. The park said that while they both weighed around 3 pounds at birth, They now both weigh around 150 pounds with Nadya expected to reach 400 pounds and Zuri to grow to around 280 pounds. The pair are so big now that can no longer physically interact with the cubs out of concerns for their own safety.

The birthday cubs celebrated meat cakes, presents their caretakers got for them, and spending time cuddling together. The public will get their first chance to see the cubs again this year when the park opens on April 1.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com


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