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5 Dec, 2015 14:52

Bengal tiger cub dies at Crimea zoo amid power outage

Bengal tiger cub dies at Crimea zoo amid power outage

A Bengal tiger cub has died in Yalta as the animals there suffer from cold caused by a power outage. The cutoff has lasted for two weeks after the lines taking electricity from Ukraine to the peninsular were disrupted by activists protesting Crimea’s secession.

The zoo has been struggling to keep temperatures stable, with cubs being wrapped up in blankets and any heat sources available – such as candles – being used to somehow alleviate their suffering. But all to no avail, as the cub died Friday.

“We’ve failed to maintain the temperature regime,” Oleg Zubkov, the director, told RIA Novosti. “These were white Bengal tiger cubs, they are very particular about the warmth.”

The personnel is extremely distraught at the cub’s death, Zubkos said, according to The Sevastopol News.

Currently the zoo is powered by two smaller generators, with the bigger-sized one out of order as of December 1. Problems with spare parts mean it can’t be fixed at the moment.

The little cubs, some of them barely a month old, had been orphaned. Without a mother it is even tougher for them to keep warm – let alone the power outage.

The two-week blackout is leading to fears of more deaths.

READ MORE: Ukraine nuclear power plants ‘dangerously’ without power as towers feeding energy to Crimea blown up

Saturday should see a replacement generator arrive from Moscow.

Chief prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya places the fault with the zoo’s director, but says a full probe is required.

Every subject of the household sector, including the director of a privately-run zoo, and who earns his living from the institution’s functioning, should be able to allocate their own funds for the purchase of diesel generators,” Poklonskaya said, as cited by TASS.

The cub, who died at the ‘Skazka’ zoo, is actually the infant of ‘Tigrulya’ (diminutive for ‘tiger’), the famous albino cub gifted to the zoo by former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko in 2009.

Bengal tigers are quite exotic, with only about 140 of the species believed to exist in Russia.

Mainland Russia started supplying electricity to Crimea after the first power bridge to the peninsula was completed across the Kerch Strait in 1944. The peninsula has had a partial blackout since November 22, after power lines in Ukraine were sabotaged.

Providing power to Crimea is a part of a bigger project to unite the peninsula with mainland Russia. Moscow expects to open a 19-kilometer long bridge to bypass Ukraine in 2018.