Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

    Most of my readers understand that I have a thing about the number three. If something comes into m e heard or been involved in a discussion about Siberian Tigers, which are currently known as Amur Tigers.

    I have always had a thing about Siberian Tigers. My mom tells me one of her memories quite often. We had gone to the Milwaukee Zoo, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when I was around four and I wandered off. (Oddly, children wandered off back then too, but no one abducted me. Well, I don’t think I was abducted. Maybe the family I was raised with as my own abducted me? Maybe I really belong to another family…I mean, how would I know? Hmm, interesting… I’ll chew on that later.) Anyway I wandered off. Mom was stricken as she gathered the rest of her brood, but then remembered how much I liked the tiger exhibit. So she went back to the tigers and found me talking with them. She said I pitched a fit when we had to leave but I’m fairly sure I would not have done that as I was an angelic type of child…

    Siberian Tigers are almost extinct in the wild as are many other species of tigers, and at this time there are more in captivity then in their natural habitats. That is a sad thing. I am no longer a fan of zoos, but I can see the value of a zoo when they begin to include breeding programs specifically designed to produce tigers that will eventually be released into their original habitats to replenish the wild populations. I was reading a theory on the different breeding programs developing what is being called a ‘super tiger’. No, it’s not a designer breed, but a tiger with a carefully selected pedigree built on health, strength, problem solving skills and offspring mortality. The pedigree combined with the more enriched lifestyle (as good as it can get in captivity I suppose) has produced tigers that are stronger, smarter and more athletic than in generations past, creating animals that could manage quite well on their own in the wild, which of course is the purpose.

    Unfortunately for many zoos and sanctuaries, it is creating tigers that are stronger, smarter, and more athletic, meaning they are escaping from enclosures. Many exhibits are under revision as there have been a number of escapes, some with terrible outcomes in terms of life, human and cat. Most directors of these facilities admit the previous enclosures are not enough not keep the well-bred cats in, the super tiger. They jump across or up motes that are 29 feet across and 20 feet deep, which has previously been unheard of for the sixty or more years facilities have been keeping tigers. They cleverly watch to see how the doors operate and hone their skills on the toys left to entertain them. They are working their way to that release date, when they can once again take their place in the wilds.         Repopulating previously tiger held domains are as scarce as the cats themselves, but more areas are being set aside for just such a day.

    Maybe that is what the tigers are trying to say. ‘It’s time. Let me out!’

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