15 July 2014
Five year-old Arlo is almost unrecognisable from the little boy in the Brisbane Royal Children's Hospital six months ago, yet Australia Zoo's tiger cubs remembered him.
Now in remission, Arlo and his family came to Australia Zoo last week to once again meet the tiger cubs that had bought so much joy to him in hospital. While Arlo was all smiles and now walking around, as he was previously wheelchair-bound - tiger cubs Hunter and Clarence had also changed significantly. Weighing in at around 60 KGs, they have grown substantially from the little guys that had visited Arlo in hospital.
When asked how big Arlo thought the cubs would be this time around, he stretched his hands about 20 cm apart and smiled "this big!" You can imagine the surprise he received when Tigers and Conservation Manager Giles Clark re-introduced Arlo to Hunter and Clarence.
The Australia Zoo tiger cubs joined the Irwin family and Australia Zoo keepers on a road trip to Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital in December 2013. Arlo was one of the many patients that was thrilled to have an array of wildlife visit his room! Australia Zoo keepers regularly give up their time to visit patients at the Children's Hospital, bringing their favourite animals with them.
Arlo had a Wilms Tumour, a cancer of the kidneys that typically occurs in children. Now considered "happy and healthy" according to his father Jesse Beale, Arlo was so excited to visit the zoo today.
"When Arlo met the tiger cubs in hospital, we thought 'wow - this is the type of thing that only happens once in your lifetime'," Mr Beale said.
"He was originally asked if he liked snakes but replied that he likes tigers more, so we just couldn't believe our eyes when they came through the doors," he added.
Arlo declared that tigers are his favourite animals, but was also enjoyed feeding the giraffes and checking out the koalas at Australia Zoo.
Australia Zoo Tigers and Conservation Manager Giles Clark said that it was such a joy to be able to re-introduce Arlo to the cubs."With only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, it is so great that kids like Arlo have a love for the species," Mr Clark said.
Australia Zoo's tiger cubs Hunter and Clarence are the result of a successful breeding program. Their wild bloodline from their mother Kaitlyn is significant for Sumatran tiger conservation in Australia. Find out more about Australia Zoo's tiger conservation work here: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/wildlifewarriorstiger511
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