Under normal circumstances, the relations between dogs and cats tend to be frigid and adversarial -- but one brave Shar Pei is proving that those age-old interspecies grudges are nothing compared to a bit of motherly love.
Just last month, two endangered Siberian tigers, named Clyopa and Plyusha, were born and then sadly rejected by their mother at a zoo in Russia. Fearing the worst for the adorable pair , zookeepers soon were fortunate to find them an unlikely adoptive parent through a local dog breeding club: a nursing Shar Pei named Cleopatra, who had recently given birth to a little litter of her own.
According to a report from Russia's RIA Novosti, Cleopatra welcomed the orphaned tigers into her wrinkly young family and to her life-giving milk without a second thought. The tigers too seem to have taken to their new surroundings and puppy counterparts quite well.
"The baby tigers will spend about 30 more days with Cleopatra and her family, where they will grow stronger and become accustomed to humans. After that, Clyopa and Plyusha will then return to the zoo."
The Shar Pei's remarkable show of canine-feline solidarity isn't just gush-inspiring -- it's hope-inspiring as well. In the wild, Siberian tiger populations have been reduced to just a few hundred members. Until conservation efforts are effective in curbing the big cat's decline, captive tigers like Clyopa and Plyusha help ensure that the majestic species won't be lost forever.