A baby tiger abandoned by her mother in a Japanese zoo has found unconditional love in an unlikely neighbour -- a French bulldog.
The Bengal tiger, born last month in Kagawa prefecture, southern Japan, was first cared for by zoo-keepers after she was found stranded from her mother with no means for milk. But the squealing cub soon found motherly love in the zoo's two-year-old French bulldog, named Nana.
"Nana happens to have a strong motherly instinct," said Yuki Matsumura, keeper in charge of the baby tiger at the Shirotori Zoo.
The dark-grey bulldog stops to lie still as the cub nudges its side to drink its milk. The bulldog, which recently gave birth to a still-born pup, may be thinking that the tiger is her real child.
"The baby tiger also seems to believe the dog is her real mother," Matsumura said. "She always asks the dog to breast-feed her by crying loudly."
The two may have to part soon in a few months, however, since the 30 cm cub is growing fast.
The zoo says the tiger may have to be moved to an enclosure with other tigers once she reaches a certain size.