The Cincinnati Zoo has called again on a dog 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.
Their mother’s maternal instincts did not kick in after their birth on February 3, and zoo staffers have been caring for them.
The six-year-old male dog provides snuggling, warmth and a climbable body.
Dawn Strasser, head of the Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery staff, said Blakely served as “the adult in the room”, teaching them behavioural lessons like stopping them when they get too rough or aggressive.
The cubs are expected to move into the zoo’s Cat Canyon this summer.
Blakely has helped raise baby cheetahs, wallabies, bat-eared foxes, and an ocelot, among other young animals.