THREE rare tiger cubs born in Scotland have been implanted with a cutting-edge microchip in a battle to save their species.
The precious Amur tiger cubs - only 400 are left in the wild - were born at Edinburgh Zoo three months ago.
In an attempt to ensure the future existence of the animals the cubs have had the chips, containing all their details, implanted in their necks.
The microchips mean the cubs can now be shipped abroad as part of an international breeding programme.
The technology will ensure the cubs are never wrongly identified and guarantee they have been born in captivity and not snatched from the wild.
Sisters Shilka, Zeya and their brother, Vlad, were born at the zoo on 19 March and last month took their first tentative steps outside their den.
The big cats, formerly known as Siberian tigers, are confined to a very restricted part of eastern Russia.
The breed has been the victim of poaching, and hundreds of the animals have been sold to perform in circuses or killed to be used in Chinese medicine.
Graham Catlow, head of animals at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "When you're dealing with animals this rare, it's vital to have them microchipped to ensure there is never any confusion about which animal is which."
© Scotsman, 25 th June 2003
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