Good Friday afternoon from T.I.G.E.R.S.! Would you like to see a one of a kind animal exhibit? How about watching live exotic animals interacting with their handlers?
The animals at T.I.G.E.R.S. and Preservation Station in Myrtle Beach are hand raised from the time they are very young. They are given thousands of hours of training and constant care by their individual trainers. We have such a strong relationship with the animals that recently we were able to go in the den box with one of the female tigers and assist while she gave birth to her cubs. One of the first things the baby cubs saw when they opened their eyes were their human friends.
People often think it is dangerous to get so close to wild animals like these, but the handlers here at T.I.G.E.R.S. have been with these animals since they were cubs and have developed a special friendship based on love and respect. All of the trainers live with the animals 24 hours a day.
T.I.G.E.R.S. has a proven method of dealing with these animals: Never treat them as pets; lots of tender loving care; and thousands of hours of one-on-onehandling. This training is beneficial to the animals in many ways.
Enjoy a few facts about tigers:
The gestation period for tigers is 100 days, but ranges from 93 to 111 days. After this time she will give birth to a litter of between 1 and 7 blind cubs, the norm being 2 to 4.
Wild females give birth once every 2 to 2.5 years. The interval between births is approximately three to four years, though should a litter of newborns die, a tigress is quite capable of producing another litter within only five months.
The mortality rate for wild tigers in the first two years of life is very high — at least 50%. Estimates consider that only one cub from each litter survives to maturity.
An interesting comparison can be made here between the lion and the tiger. Lionesses have other pride members to protect cubs and to help hunt. If a lioness dies the pride will usually continue to provide for her cubs. A tigress lacks this benefit and the cubs are at the mercy of any predator that wanders past. Some of the animals that would attack a cub are jackals, hyenas, wild dogs and the python.
Fathers do not assist in the raising of cubs and females often chase off males as they are a threat to the cubs and may even attempt to kill them
Other causes of death include fires started by villagers; these are done to clear land for grazing, or to increase fertility. Once they become out of control they can destroy large tracts of forest and it is not uncommon for dead cubs to be found outside their dens soon after.
Poachers are more than happy to kill cubs for their highly prized body parts and those valuable coats.
On average tigers will live for 10 to 15 years out in the wild and 16 to 20 years in captivity, though there is one Australian tiger recorded as living to the ripe old age of 26.
I hope you enjoyed these facts. Please visit www.myrtlebeachsafari.com for more information on the T.I.G.E.R.S exhibit in Myrtle Beach, Endangered Tigers Species and the Greatly Endangered and Rare Species wildlife education organization.