Ohio, US (BBN) – The Cincinnati Zoo has called again on a canine to play the role of nanny for other animals’ babies.
The latest assignment for Blakely the Australian shepherd is to be a companion for three Malayan tiger cubs, reports the Daily Mail.
Their mother’s maternal instincts didn’t kick in after their February 3 birth, and zoo staffers have been caring for the three girls.
The six-year-old male dog named Blakely provides snuggling, warmth and a climbable body.
Dawn Strasser, head of the Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery staff, says Blakely serves as ‘the adult in the room,’ teaching them behaviors such as checking them when they get too rough or aggressive.
‘My team can feed and care for the tiger cubs, but we can’t teach them the difference between a play bite and one that means ‘watch out’.
So, that’s Blakely’s job,’ said Strasser.
‘Just a little time with him at this early age will help them learn behaviors that will come in handy when they meet tigers at other zoos in the future.’
The cubs – named Chira, Batari and Izzy – are expected to move into the zoo’s Cat Canyon this summer, after they receive their last round of immunizations.
If visitors want to see the cubs while they’re still in the nursery, they should visit in the next few weeks.
Blakely has helped raise baby cheetahs, wallabies, bat-eared foxes, and an ocelot, among other young animals.
Last year, the City of Cincinnati recognized October 19 as Blakely Day, for all the good work the dog has done.