Rescued Bengal Tiger Cub Moka Recovers from Surgery

Reunites with Best Friend Rakan at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Guests visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Tull Family Tiger Trail exhibit this morning (Thursday, March 29, 2018) were delighted to see Bengal tiger cub Moka and his Sumatran tiger buddy Rakan, once again enjoying some playtime together—running, pouncing and climbing in an outdoor area. Two days ago, veterinarians determined that Moka was recovering well from his March 6 emergency surgery to correct intestinal adhesions, and could to go back outside and resume his normal routine. Until today, he had been spending his days recovering in his bedroom area at Tiger Trail—with his best friend Rakan by his side—under the care of veterinarians and keepers.

“Moka’s sutures are looking great, he’s healing well and his prognosis for a full recovery is really good,” said Katie Christofferson, keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Moka will continue to get a veterinary check once a week for the next couple of weeks, but he’s now he’s able to run, jump and pounce, while honing his tiger skills.”

Moka’s dedicated keepers and veterinarians closely monitored him throughout the healing process to ensure a safe and smooth transition back to his active life on Tiger Trail. Guests will be able to see both cubs daily from around 9 a.m. until noon most days, in one of the outdoor exhibits at Tiger Trail.

Now that the cubs are getting older, there are some noticeable differences. Rakan is much darker in color and his stripes are much closer together—and he’s the more dominant of the two. Moka is lighter in color and is now the larger of the two cubs, weighing in at 100 pounds. Rakan currently weighs 90 pounds.

Bengal cub Moka was confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers during a vehicle inspection Aug. 23, 2017, at the U.S./Mexico port of entry near San Diego. The cub remains under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As part of the organization’s broader efforts to lead the fight against extinction, San Diego Zoo Global is committed to reducing wildlife trafficking and the demand for illegal wildlife products.

The U.S. is a party in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement commonly known as CITES. This treaty regulates trade in endangered species of wildlife, plants and their products. International trade in species listed by CITES is illegal unless authorized by permit. Additional information on importing and exporting endangered species is available at