The cubs are six-months-old now and growing fast (Reuters)

Three small tiger cubs have become the main attraction at a small zoo in Abony, 90km east of the Hungarian capital of Budapest.

Visitors have been flocking to the private zoo to catch a glimpse of the cute Siberian tigers and be able to hold and pet them for a moment.

The three female tiger cubs were born near Hamburg in Germany, but ended up in Hungary as their mother became ill and could not feed them any more.

The cubs are six-months-old now and growing fast.

The zoo’s owner, Tibor Toth, has earned a reputation for raising and taming lions and tigers.

Toth says he was inspired by Austrian-born naturalist and wildlife preservationist Joy Adamson, who in her book Born Free told the story of how she and her husband raised a lion cub and trained it to fend for itself. The famous cub named Elsa was later released back into the wild.

“Once I got hold of this book by Joy Adamson, where she writes about the loyalty of the lions and raising lions…and I was captured by this and I really wished I had animals around me like she did. But Africa is very far away. Then once I got the chance to pet baby tigers and then I said to myself this is my dream, this is what I want,” Toth told Reuters TV.

So in the middle of the 1990s, only a few years after the collapse of communism, Toth decided to start building his zoo.

The zoo is financed from entry fees and personal donations and survives without any support from the state. It had more than 60,000 visitors last year.

The liveliest of the three cubs has been named after the Russian river Ussuri, while the more subdued pair are called Reika and Nadinka.

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