Triplet Tiger Cubs Overcome the Unforeseen

In May of 2021, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge assisted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in their seizure of tigress Priscilla and three other female big cats suspected of being pregnant from the Tiger King park in Oklahoma. The DOJ feared that the cubs would ‘disappear’ before the main seizure of animals could take place later that month. When the cats arrived at the Refuge, it was immediately apparent to TCWR Veterinarian Dr. Kellyn Sweeley that Priscilla was “ready to pop”!

Our team was excited for Priscilla to have the chance to raise her cubs as she was deprived of the same opportunity in the past. Less than two weeks after Priscilla’s arrival, her three cubs were born! Two males, DOJ and Jinx as well as one female, Rosie. To allow Priscilla and her triplets all the privacy possible, we limited her care team to only senior staff as well as 24/7 video monitoring inside the den to ensure all was well. A problem was quickly discovered with the cubs and their ability to walk. To assure the quality of life for these three cubs, TCWR animal care team took this challenge head-on, knowing it was going to be an uphill climb. The time frame to help these cubs was very limited as we remained compliant with AZA standards (Association of Zoos and Aquariums). To learn the full story, keep an eye out for UNCHARTED, a documentary that perfectly captures the arduous but rewarding journey TCWR staff and these three miracle cubs faced.

Tiger cubs emerging from carrier into grass enclosure

A year has quickly come and gone since the trio arrived and we were ecstatic to celebrate DOJ, Jinx and Rosie’s first birthday on May 20th! Thanks to so many who took part in the cub’s healing journey, these energetic tiger cubs can be just that, rambunctious! They’ve grown so speedily it’s quite difficult to tell them apart from their mother!

It’s easy to see that DOJ has become the largest of the three one-year-old cubs. He makes his presence known with loud sounds and likes to play rough when his brother, Jinx, pounces on him. DOJ is a very curious cat, proving that by being the first of the three to climb to the top tier of their bench. However, Jinx has claimed that as one of his favorite spots; you can find him surveying the Refuge from the top tier or down splashing in their pool. Jinx can be more reserved with humans and is usually second in line to approach their animal care staff. Beautiful Rosie is known as the feistiest of the triplets. While she normally stays close to her mom, she is the first to approach the fence to stalk young students during field trips! All three enjoy watching their surrounding neighbors and love destroying their cardboard box enrichment. At dinner time, they will excitedly run up and down the hill in anticipation!

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