Most 1-year-olds get a smash cake on their first birthday, but Natasha and Tsar – Amur tiger cubs turning 1 on Sunday at the Sedgwick County Zoo – will get a meat cake.
The zoo will be celebrating the cubs’ milestone with a party at 2 p.m. Sunday featuring special treats and a ball pit fit for tigers.
Natasha and Tsar are the cubs of Talali and Ivan and made their debut to the public on a stormy night last fall.
The male and female cubs weighed 2.9 pounds at birth. Tsar is about 175 pounds now, and Natasha is about 160 pounds. The cubs each eat 4 pounds of meat a day, and they get bones twice a week. They’re still growing. Their mother weighed 309 pounds in mid-June, and their father came in at 391 pounds.
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Talali gave birth to a cub earlier last year, but the cub died within 36 hours. Talali conceived that cub using a new artificial insemination technique. She became pregnant with Natasha and Tsar the old-fashioned way.
About 150 Amur tigers live at 50 Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions. The Amur tiger is the largest of the tiger subspecies and is found in the wild in eastern Russia, northeastern China and the northern regions of North Korea.
Their environments are harsh, and the tiger has an extra layer of fat to protect it from the cold.
Amur tigers are managed under a Species Survival Program by the association.
Admission to the zoo is $13.95, or $11.95 for ages 62 and older and $8.95 for ages 3 to 11.