German Shepherd nursing two lion cubs after lioness mum tried to kill them
A German Shepherd is raising two big cat cubs after a lioness turned aggressive on her "emaciated and dehydrated" newborn kittens.
Zookeepers at White Lion Park in the Russian city of Vladivostok removed the pair over fears for their lives, and the babies are now suckling on a large dog named Sandra.
Park director Viktor Agafonov said: "What the mother lion is doing is not quite normal. She is biting them.
"One cub seems even to have a little wound. This is completely abnormal.
The lioness, named Sirona, is a first-time mother and the park described her as "very introverted, reserved and secretive" before keepers saw she was failing to care properly for her infants.
There have been no such problems with the park's faithful German Shepherd, which had recently given birth to a puppy of her own.
Mr Agafonov said: "It is interesting that this dog doesn't like cats, yet she decided to accept the African lions into her family.
"She has a puppy, smaller than lion cubs. But the dog has enough milk because in the past she has fed eight puppies.
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The park director praised the eight-year-old foster mum for taking on the two cubs.
He said it could have helped save their lives.
He added: "This dog has helped us a lot, obviously, and she will help the cubs to survive because their mum, Sirona, didn't come close to them
"The male cub is already suckling milk carefully.
"And the girl cub is taking it too."
Mr Agafonov said it was an "unusual case when a representative of one animal species fosters cubs of another, let alone wild.
"The dog's milk is very appropriate for the cubs, it has all necessary nutrients for normal development."
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