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Cubs are zoo's star attraction in Chinese Year of the Tiger festival

Two playful sibling cubs can expect to be the centre of attention at Dublin Zoo.

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated all over the world tomorrow -- and this pair will be central to Dublin's festival for the Year of the Tiger.

The festival will feature talks on the two nine-month-old cubs, Emas and Wyneta, who are fast becoming the star attraction at the zoo.

When the cubs were born, staff were concerned that their father, Kepala, might be aggressive to them, but they have all settled in well together.

"He is a great dad, he's very patient," said Veronica Chrisp from Dublin Zoo.

"There was a nervous period when they first went in together. But from when they were very tiny, he was very calm with them."

The zoo has a number of Chinese specimens of animals and plants, including red pandas, Asian elephants and the family of tigers.

However, there is only a slim chance that the two red pandas will go on to produce offspring now.

"It's very difficult to breed in captivity," said Ms Chrisp. "The female is quite old and the male is young, but it's unlikely that they will mate."

There is hope that Budi (2) the bull elephant and Asha (4) might reproduce in the near future.

The trails and talks at the zoo are just some of the events organised by Dublin City Council for the New Year, in the 4,708th year of the Chinese calendar.

The highlight is the carnival, which takes place in Wolfe Tone Square, Dublin 1 tomorrow.

Traditional Chinese ribbon and sword dances will be performed by a dance troupe from Shanghai University as well as tai chi and martial arts demonstrations, interactive art workshops and food and craft stalls.

A spokesman for the City Council said that exclusive treasures of the Shanghai museum are going on temporary display at the Chester Beatty Library.