Hello again from T.I.G.E.R.S. in Myrtle Beach. Most of us have seen and heard of exotic animals in literature, video games, television and comic books. Tigers, ligers, apes, and the like are magnificent creatures that possess an amazing combination of wonder and beauty. Please enjoy the following article from The Boston Globe.
CARVER — You have to go to the very edge of “Carvershire” to see them. You have to walk past the wise-cracking guy with the penciled-on mustache cracking his whip, past the booths selling turkey legs and yards of beer. Not over by the fire-breathing human blockhead, the other way, next to the jousting fields. That's where you'll find them, just as you have for the past 30 years, the world's biggest cats — one a 900-pounder stretching out his body and drinking milk out of a baby bottle.
So after you’re done shopping for a sword, you can go see some of the rarest animals in the world, Dr. Bhagavan Antle brings the cats up from his 50-acre preserve in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He comes for an annual eight-week visit to King Richard’s Faire, the Renaissance fair that has operated every fall in Carver for more than 30 years. This year’s menagerie includes a baby chimp and a baby puma and Hercules the liger — the offspring of a male lion and female tiger, the biggest of the big cats.
On a visit during the week before the fair opened, sounds from a rehearsal floated from the King’s Stage — this year’s musical is “The Stolen Crown Affair” — past the rows of wooden benches in front of the Tiger Stage.
Antle, resembling Penn Jillette in solid build and radio-ready voice, shares the magician’s understanding that the audience is the absolute engine. Antle’s message is all passion and education: If the tigers’ environment crumbles, ours is next.
“Saving these animals is paramount to saving the world,’’ said Antle. “You’ve got to help take care of them.”
There’s not much of a “show” in the big cat show Antle presents at King Richard’s. There are no circus tricks, no flaming hoops or bicycle rides. While assistant Robert Johnson serves as host, Antle and trainers China York and Chris Heiden walk the animals out onstage and lead them up onto a table so the crowd can see and take pictures. Johnson’s talk includes a few well-worn jokes and a lot of information about the history and future of tigers.
The education comes between the oohing and aahing and camera clicks, with plenty of plugs for the importance of conservation, and how that requires cash.
Vali the year-old chimp and Santi the baby puma come out, as does a royal white tiger and a golden tabby. The bigger cats wear heavy chain collars. As gentle as they appear and as comfortable as they seem onstage, the animals still have all of their claws and teeth and are very powerful. The trainers let Johnson do the talking while they are ever mindful. – John Vitt
Animal attraction T.I.G.E.R.S. tour in Myrtle Beach is the best hands on animal experience in the World. For more information visit www.myrtlebeachsafari.com.