Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

standard September 21, 2014 Leave a response

Aren’t baby tigers the cutest widdle things in the entire world? The clumsy paws, their soft fur, the pathetic meeps, it’s all an evil ploy to wiggle their way into our hearts and homes.

At 6 months old, Tony the Tiger (of Kellogs fame) was nearly 90 pounds of cuteness. He was nearly 300 pounds, the weight of a NFL offensive lineman, on his first birthday! When he’s fully grown, Tony can eat 23 boxes of Frosted Flakes a day (though he prefers deer, monkeys and the occasional elephant calf).

That’s slightly more than a growing teenage boy eats in a day!

Strangely, in North Carolina, it is illegal to keep a squirrel, goose, beaver or any other native species as a pet. If, however, you want to adopt Tony the Tiger Cub, go right ahead and bring him home!

Rajah

Big Cats in the U.S.

Out of the 10,000 estimated tigers in the United States, only 1,000 are in zoos and sanctuaries. Quite sad, considering that there are only 2,000 or so tigers left in the wild. Many of these pet tigers don’t receive adequate care or nutrition, and when their owners decide they are too much work, they are killed, sold for parts or abandoned. Or left to explore the gorgeous North Carolina highways.

For many people, the only way they can see a lion or tiger in person is to go to the zoo or circus. I was lucky enough Friday night to go on a twilight tour at the Carolina Tiger Rescue, and it was absolutely amazing.

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What is Carolina Tiger Rescue?

Organizations such as CTR take in abandoned, abused or mistreated big cats and give them sanctuary. In addition, they also provide conservation education for the public through tours and community presentations and exhibits (press release).

Twilight Tour

This was my second tour at Carolina Tiger Rescue, and my first twilight tour. Instead of seeing a tiger through a glass enclosure, I was 10 feet away from Rajah and Kaela as they went kitty-crazy over Calvin Klein’s Obsession. I saw a pride of lions doing absolutely nothing, just relaxing in the evening sun. I saw a grumpy bobcat, curious ocelot and adorable servals.

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I understand why some people want big cats as pets, especially servals and ocelots, but I question their sanity in actually doing it. On paper, they seem cute and fuzzy. In person? One look at Rajah’s huge paws made me appreciate how annoying Demon Kitty is when he walks on me in the middle of them night. I’m annoyed, not squished to death.

If you get a chance, you should definitely go by Carolina Tiger Rescue, or find a big cat rescue in your area.

ctr

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own. I am not an expert on anything, except being annoying, and I am not affiliated with any of the companies/websites/etc. mentioned or linked to in this blog.

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