updated 06/22/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/22/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
She’s a handful – but she’s got that newborn baby glow.
This 5-day-old Amur tiger cub was one of two born at the Minnesota Zoo on Father’s Day, June 17, to first-time mother Angara. Keepers left the cubs with Angara overnight, and while she wasn’t aggressive toward her young, she didn’t seem to know what to do with them.
“She was just a little bit intimidated or confused, in human terms,” the zoo’s Northern Trail supervisor, Diana Weinhardt, tells PEOPLE. Only one of the cubs survived, and the zoo decided to hand-raise the animal.
In the days since, the tiger has been exhibiting typical cub-like behavior: “She eats, she sleeps, she pees, she poops,” Weinhardt says. “She can sniff out her bottle already! Once she smells it she locks in on it.”
After a few more days, the cub’s eyes should open, but she’s already responding to voices and sounds. She’s also growing and gaining weight, and “heading in a very positive direction.”
In the wild, tiger cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years, but this cub may leave the nest a little sooner. Because the zoo likes to raise baby animals with others of the same species, this tiger may end up heading to a different zoological facility in the near future.
“We want to do what’s best for her,” Weinhardt says. “She needs to learn to be a tiger and that’s the bottom line.”
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