Meet Kai, the Adorable Tiger Cub Taking His First Leashed Stroll at Dreamworld

Kai, an adorable tiger cub born weighing just 1.3 kilograms six weeks ago, recently made his debut appearance at Queensland’s Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

During his introduction to local school children, it was evident that Kai hadn’t yet developed his adult teeth. However, his sharp nails caught the attention of a cameraman filming the event, prompting a warning to avoid scratching the lens.

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Young tiger cub Kai (pictured) has grown to 6 kg and walks freely through Australia’s Dreamworld on a leash led by his handlers.

Kai responded with a high-pitched growl, indicating his independent nature and reluctance to heed directions from strangers.


Despite this, his handler, Patrick Martin-Vegue, successfully picked him up and introduced him to Sita, Dreamworld’s calm and experienced tiger matriarch.

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The young cub is not afraid of the cameras or 16-year-old Sita (left), with whom he likes to interact on his walks around the theme park.

Their brief encounter at the Tiger Island display marked a significant milestone for Kai. Sita’s nonchalant reaction suggested that she was no stranger to babysitting duties.

Mr. Martin-Vegue expressed relief, stating, “She didn’t eat him, that’s good,” and noted the timing of their introduction on National Threatened Species Day.


Kai is developing well at approximately six kilograms and is expected to gain another 154 kilograms before adulthood.

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Kai’s (right) and Sita’s (left) brief interaction was on display, but judging from Sita’s nonchalant reaction, it was clear this was not her first time babysitting.

He has a mischievous and acrobatic nature, and his familiarization with Tiger Island will continue through daily visits.

Kai’s schedule includes leash training, five daily feeds, golf cart rides around the theme park, and obligatory meet-and-greet duties. However, cameramen should remain cautious, considering Kai’s feisty growl.


Born on July 25 at Dreamworld, weighing only 1.3 kilograms, Kai found his home in Tiger Island’s tiger lair during the early stages of his childhood.

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Tiger Island Manager Patrick Martin-Vegue said: ‘She didn’t eat him, that’s good,’ as Sita (left) and Kai (right) played. 

The Dreamworld staff were relieved when the cub, named Kai, was found to be in perfect health after his mother, nine-year-old Nika, had a challenging pregnancy.

Mr. Martin-Vegue, who has overseen approximately 30 tiger litters being born, expressed initial concerns due to Nika being a ‘non-contact’ tiger.


The birth of Kai symbolizes the fourth litter of cubs born at Dreamworld since the establishment of Tiger Island over 20 years ago. Previously kept close to his mother, Kai has now entered the public eye, delighting children and adults visiting the theme park.

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Tigers are held from birth to ensure human interaction is a daily part of their lives. At six weeks old, Kai is being held by Tiger Island Manager Patrick Martin-Vegue (left). This constant contact gives guests a better understanding of the majestic creatures.

Craig Davidson, the CEO of Dreamworld, emphasized the significance of Kai’s birth for their interactive tiger program.

He stated, “This long-awaited and important cub is the first of our new generation of tigers, critical for sustaining our interactive tiger program at Dreamworld that supports saving tigers in the wild.”


Developing a bond with Kai is crucial for the handlers to ensure his smooth transition and acceptance of direct contact with humans, an essential aspect of the interactive Tiger Island experience.

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Mr Martin-Vegue said Kai (pictured) had a cheeky and ‘acrobatic’ nature and would continue his familiarisation with Tiger Island with daily visits.

Al Mucci, a Dreamworld staffer, explained that this interaction allows guests to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for these majestic animals while fostering empathy for the plight of tigers in the wild.

Dreamworld has donated over $2 million to tiger-related conservation projects, solidifying its position as one of the largest contributors to tiger conservation worldwide.

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As Kai grew to weigh 6 kilograms, his mother, Nika, returned to the Tiger Island Lair, home to 12 tigers, including 11 adults and one growing cub.

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The 1.3-kilo tiger cub Kai (pictured) was born at 4.15 am on July 25 in Australia’s Dreamworld to nine-year-old mother Nika and 11-year-old Raja. These two adult breeding tigers can be found on Tiger Island, which is located within Dreamworld.
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There were five viewing televisions to see the cub when he was born. The televisions surrounded the den and were available to view during the Tiger Day celebrations.
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Father Raja (pictured) is one of 12 tigers who live in Dreamworld’s Tiger Island.
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Nika (pictured) is a non-contact tiger brought over from another Zoo. Veterinary checks confirmed both mother and son were in good health despite this initial challenge during the birth of Kai. Kai remained close to Nika before he grew to his 6kg weight.
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Kai (pictured) remained close to Nika until he had grown to a larger size and was born just in time for Tiger Day celebrations, an event supporting the conservation of tigers in the wild
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The young cub weighed only 1.3kg when he was born and will grow up to 154kg before he reaches adulthood. 
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It was integral for the handlers of young Kai to develop a bond with the animal, to help with the transition, and to ensure they continue to accept direct contact from humans as part of the interactive Tiger Island experience, explained Dreamworld staffer Al Mucci
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Little Kai was said to grow one kilo per week and will remain in the Tiger Island Nursery until he is big enough to join his adult counterparts.
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Nika (pictured) is Kai’s fierce mother; she remains in the Tiger lair as a non-contact animal.
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Nika (pictured) is the proud mum of the now 6 kg baby, who has been let out of the lair to interact with the public.

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