SAN DIEGO - A pair of tiger cubs -- one seized during a border smuggling attempt and the other brought from Washington, D.C., to provide companionship -- moved into their habitat Friday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
One is a 3-month-old Bengal tiger rescued in August at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. An 18-year-old Riverside County resident was arrested.
The other is a 4-month-old Sumatran tiger brought in from the Smithsonian National Zoo in September after his mother began acting aggressively toward him. Great cat experts say it's best to raise cubs in pairs.
"The two cubs are adjusting really well to their new home," said Lori Hieber, senior mammal keeper at the Safari Park.
"They're doing great. They act like little brothers -- they play and cuddle a lot, and they squabble a bit like most brothers, but it's all natural, healthy behavior," Hieber said.
The cubs had been in the park's animal care center getting acquainted. Now they're living in the Tull Family Tiger Trail, where guests can view them daily from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
According to park officials, the cubs are fully weaned from formula and eating a carnivore diet. Both weigh 32 pounds.
As they continue to grow, the Bengal tiger will eventually outweigh the Sumatran tiger by about 200 pounds.
"We feel really fortunate to have these two cubs here," said Hieber. "It was an unusual circumstance for us to acquire them, but we think they're in the best possible hands, and they're going to have a wonderful life while they're here at Tiger Trail."
Sumatran tigers are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is estimated that between 300 and 400 exist in the wild.
The IUCN lists the Bengal tiger as endangered, with roughly 1,700 in the wild.