A good licking! The Siberian cubs get a wash behind the ears from their mother

This mother gave new meaning to the term ‘tongue lashing’ when she collared her cubs for a bath.

The young Siberian tigers seemed eager to squirm away as they were hauled in for a clean.

But their mum was determined to get the job done and, at one point, even used her massive paws to pin one of her mischievous offspring down.

Mum! Not in front of the camera! This cub looks a little put out that he’s forced to wash

A good licking: There was no getting away from the determined tiger

Behind the ears: The Siberian cub finally relents to

The big cat showed who was boss as she gave each one a good licking – despite their unimpressed expressions

The tender moments between the rare tigers were captured by photographer Eric Cunha at the French zoo Parc des Felins in Seine-et-Marne.

The 41-year-old, from Paris, spent several days photographing the tigers in their enclosures.

One long tongue: The tigers, photographed in France, are very tender with each other

Sit still! The cub firmly shuts its eyes as it succumbs to mother

He said: ‘Each enclosure is between two and five hectares and it can sometimes be difficult to observe the animals.

‘I used very long telephoto lenses to get these shots.

‘I’ve had a great reaction to the pictures. People are amazed by the tenderness these big cats show to their babies.’

The Siberian tiger, also known as the Amur tiger, is a subspecies inhabiting mainly the Sikhote Alin mountain region with a small population in southwest Primorye province in the Russian Far East.

In 2005, there were 331–393 adult-subadult Amur tigers in this region, with a breeding adult population of about 250 individuals. The population has been stable for more than a decade due to intensive conservation efforts, but the Russian population is believed to be deteriorating.

Unlike the Bengal tiger, the Siberian tiger very rarely becomes a man-eater.

The Tungusic people considered the Siberian tiger a near-deity and often referred to it as ‘Grandfather’ or ‘Old man’.

The Manchu considered the Siberian tiger as Hu Lin, the king.

The most elite unit of the Chinese Imperial Army in the Manchu Qing Dynasty is called Hu Shen Ying, literally The Tiger God Battalion.