Monday, Aug. 16, 2010 | 4:36 p.m.
Map of The Mirage Hotel and Casino
3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
Mohan and Majestic are like any other babies learning their surroundings — they play, they cuddle and they require lots of attention. The only difference is the two babies happen to be white-striped tiger cubs.
The Mirage welcomed the pair of 7-week-old tiger cubs to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat last week. Mohan and Majestic are the youngest tigers the Mirage has had in the past seven years.
The cubs were born June 22 in Orlando, Fla., to parents that are part of Siegfried and Roy’s breeding program. After bonding with their mother for about two weeks, the brothers were taken to Las Vegas, then arrived last week at the Mirage.
The cubs will be on display in their nursery for the next few weeks until they are integrated with Siegfried and Roy’s other tigers at the Mirage.
Mohan and Majestic’s nursery is a small, glass room attached to the Siegfried & Roy’s gift shop, but looks much like a baby’s room. It’s littered blankets, balls and stuffed animals, including an almost life-sized, white-striped stuffed tiger.
Outside of the nursery, tourists snapped photos and "ohhed" and "awed" as the brothers wrestled with each other.
Five-year-old Jonas Hendrickson stood with his tiger mask pressed against the glass while watching the tigers intently.
"I have more stuffed animals than that," Hendrickson said proudly.
While the cubs are nearly identical, Hendrickson seemed to be able to tell them apart, pointing out his favorite through the glass.
Even at 7 weeks old, Mohan and Majestic already have begun to develop their own personalities, the cubs' neonatal care specialist Gail Hedberg said.
"One of my favorite things is when one is sleeping in your lap and the other will be a little more assertive because he isn’t the favorite at that moment," Heldberg said. "They have a lot of self-confidence, which is a goal in this program. You don’t want to give them so much attention that they can’t develop independence."
Hedberg has been working with Siegfried and Roy’s cubs for nearly 20 years, helping to raise more than 25 tiger cubs for the pair. Her job is to bottle feed and acclimate the cubs to people so other trainers can work with the tigers.
Hedberg is comfortable in the nursery with the two wild animals, letting them playfully bite her hands and jump into her arms, but she also knows when to slip out of the nursery before things get too rough. It all comes with experience.
The two cubs already are aware of their brotherly connection, Hedberg said. Like most brothers, they wrestle, rough-house and antagonize each other.
"They play really well together, but they will also play independently," Hedberg said. "They’re not so bonded to each that if one is not in sight, the other one panics."