Unlikely Mommy! Dog Adopts Orphaned Tiger Cubs at Russian Zoo

An unexpected family is flourishing in Sochi, Russia, as a Shar-Pei dog named Cleopatra has taken on the role of mother to two abandoned Siberian tiger cubs.

The situation presented itself when the biological mother neglected the newborn cubs at the local zoo.

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Special bond: Cleopatra the Shar Pei feeds her two adoptive children. When the two cubs’ mother refused to provide them, Cleopatra took over mothering duties and is now giving them all her attention, zoo workers have said.

Cleopatra, already a new mother to a litter of her puppies, didn’t hesitate to take in the orphaned tiger cubs Clyopa and Plyusha.


Exhibiting remarkable maternal instincts, she promptly stepped in to feed and clean the helpless duo, fully embracing them as part of her pack.

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Playful: Siberian tiger cub Plyusha gets the better of Shar-Pei puppy Fighter in the house in Socha, Russia.

The new, unconventional family now shares a home in Western Sochi. Their house is also home to Masyanya the cat and their owner, Yekaterina Khodakova.

The tiger cubs are typical youngsters, frolicking around the house, engaging in playful bouts with their canine siblings, and enjoying their adopted mother’s care.


The miraculous story started in late May at the Oktyabrsky Health Resort’s zoo in Sochi, where the cubs were born.

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Watch out: Clyopa stalks past 18-month-old baby Gleb, who shares the house with dogs, cats and tigers.

The zoo’s assistant director, Viktoria Kudlayeva, revealed Cleopatra’s immediate fondness for the tiger cubs. She reported that the protective dog treats the cubs as her own, even going to sleep with them.

Despite the young tigers showing early signs of their wild nature, such as baring their claws and hissing, Kudlayeva reassures that they pose no threat to their adoptive mother.


The bond between the dog and her adopted tiger cubs remains strong, as the cubs rely on Cleopatra for nourishment and care.

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Tussle: Clyopa battles with cat Masyanya. The month-old cubs have been welcomed into the house.
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Get off me! Plyusha and adoptive sibling Fighter playfight in the house of Yekaterina Khodakova

This heartwarming tale carries a sobering undertone, considering the plight of Siberian tigers, also referred to as Ussuri, Amur, or Manchurian tigers.

With fewer than 400 left in the wild, primarily in Russia’s Far East, the survival of these cubs is crucial for the species.

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New mother Cleopatra feeds Clyopa. The dog has mothered the tiger cubs since their mother abandoned them.
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Caring: Yekaterina Khodakova looks after the menagerie of pets, as well as her 18-month-old son Gleb

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