Probably no pain in the world is greater than that of a parent who outlives their children. Ginger reminded operators of the Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary of this sad reality, who witnessed a heartbreaking scene.
We are in the United States, in a zoo in cold Wisconsin known for the largest spaces reserved for animals. Ginger is a white tiger, mother of four cubs: Charlotte, King, Nina and Khan. Unfortunately, the last two are gone: without realizing it, they were playing on a sheet of ice that had formed over a pond. When the slab broke, there was nothing for the two tiger cubs to do: they fell into the icy water and drowned.
Nobody explained to mom what had happened, but there was no need. When zoo staff approached Ginger early in the morning, she could distinctly hear her moaning. The tiger wept because she had evidently sensed the tragedy.
Those moments went unrecorded, but the images released later by Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary are just as heartbreaking. Ginger is crouched on the ground, with his paw covering her muzzle, as if to keep her pain hidden from the rest of the world. Pain that she is not only her mother’s: in fact her two surviving puppies, who have lost two brothers, approach her and try to distract her from isolation. Not too much luck: Ginger is physically present but emotionally absent.
In a second video, the white tiger seems more present to itself, but it is understood that the mourning has not yet been absorbed. Sure, Ginger interacts more with Charlotte and King, plays with them, keeps tabs on them. But from time to time she continues to turn her muzzle and look, with her eyes wet with tears, for Nina and Khan, her puppies who will never come back.