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Audio Kiosk #15
Tiger Pool Area
This area below you that has running water in the warmer months is incredibly important. Many things take place in this Tiger Pool Area that are essential to the rehabilitation of rescued Tigers. Rescued Tigers that live in the Roundhouse just ahead of you use this area to begin getting used to larger spaces, so they can be transitioned to a large acreage habitat. This is also a neutral space where Tigers are first introduced to one another. That it is neutral is very important as it removes territoriality from the equation when Tigers are put together for the first time. And it is also used simply as a recreation area for Tigers living in the Roundhouse so they can have access to water, which they love, and at the same time, grow in confidence in their new and larger world.
The Sanctuary has had great success over the decades being able to form groups of Tigers that live together quite cohesively—perhaps more like roommates than family members, but quite happily all the same. This is accomplished by observing individual Tigers very closely and looking for signs of compatibility and being very patient in allowing the Tigers the time needed to get to know one another in a non-threatening environment. Sometimes, this may take months or even years, but what’s the hurry? Rushing the process will only ensure its failure. Of course, removing the competition around food, reproduction and territory is also key. Having enough room for multiple animals to live in the same space is absolutely essential, too. Most of us can relate to “living on top of one another” and how it adds to stress and conflict. By having large areas in which the Tigers live, they can get away from one another if they are in a less-than-social mood. Here at the Tiger Roundhouse all of this takes place and is occurring even now. Yes, some of the Tigers you’ll see in the Roundhouse are retired from habitats due to old-age issues, but just as many or more are taking the first steps towards living with other Tigers in their own large-acreage habitat.
The Tiger Roundhouse is where the majority of rescued Tigers begin their stay at The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Like the Lion House, this very controlled environment allows Tigers to be introduced to others while feeling safe and confident at the same time. Typically, two Tigers will be identified by the Animal Care staff that seem to have potential compatibility. At that point, the Tigers will be moved so they are next to one another in their enclosures. This allows the animals to get to know one another while feeling safe in their own space and with a barrier between them and the other Tiger. If it appears there is compatibility, the Tigers will be moved over by the Tiger Pool Area. At that point each Tiger will be allowed to go into the space individually so as to get comfortable within it. While doing this, they will also grow in confidence and their world will continue to open up and expand. Once each Tiger has had many opportunities to spend time in the pool area, the day will come when the two are introduced to one another in that space. This meeting will be closely supervised by Animal Care staff members. Because the Tigers already know one another, there is rarely ever any serious conflict. However, there may be some tension when they first have physical contact with one another, not unlike when two dogs first meet at a dog park. Usually after the initial greeting, the animals quickly begin to interact with one another and become friends. Once the Animal Care staff is certain that all of the initial tension has been dissipated, the Tigers will be allowed to live together here at the Roundhouse for a period of time before being moved out to a large acreage habitat.
As incredibly beautiful and majestic as the Sanctuary’s Tigers are, they have no conservation value. That is, Tiger conservation organizations have no desire to use these animals for breeding purposes. The reason is, they are considered to be generic or mutt Tigers. In the decades that Tigers have been bred in captivity, especially those found in roadside zoos or private ownership, no regard has been given to maintaining genetic purity or specific subspecies of Tigers. Tigers have simply been bred with other Tigers leading to offspring that could genetically be any combination of subspecies. Since Bengal Tigers are the most common subspecies, the majority of rescued Tigers more than likely are predominantly Bengal, but could also have Siberian or Sumatran genes as well. The recessive gene that causes white Tigers is carried in Bengal Tigers so any white Tigers you see are most likely to be of that subspecies. Contrary to what many people believe, white Tigers and Siberian Tigers are not equivalent. Siberian or Amur Tigers, the largest cats in the world, have orange coloration. But no matter their genetic background, the Sanctuary believes these incredible animals deserve the best life possible after being treated so poorly by humans.