It's easy to get behind in these blogs because I like to take my time in relaying an event or sort through photos. However, I still have tons of photos that don't make it on here. Here are a few:
Julio after I raked all the leaves out of one side of his enclosure, moved around one of his platforms, and built a low-level platform in a tree for him to climb on. One of the volunteers carved this pumpkin and put chicken inside of it as enrichment for Julio. The carving is of the character Puss in Boots, who has been rumored to look like Julio. Here, he investigates. Pumpkins are always a good toy for enrichment, as the cats (both big and small) can tear into them.
Oliver the ocelot is very shy and rarely comes out of his den box. He loves to smell flavored water (I've never seen him drink it).
Kiowa playing with her scented paper roll. The caracals don't respond to scents the same way ocelots do. Kiowa is very playful and this past week was moved to a new enclosure with Damien caracal. Damien has been alone for some time and Kiowa's enclosure partner, Tailessa, passed recently. Kiowa and Damien are currently working on getting used to eachother but have been successful thus far.
Rajah and Kaela sunning themselves. Most of the tigers at Carolina Tiger Rescue can be found doing exactly the same thing on a regular basis. The tigers also call to eachother during the day using low-level roars or to tell everyone that the territory is theirs. We still call these guys "the cubs" because when they came to Carolina Tiger they were very young. A police officer found them walking down the highway in Wake Forest, NC and we were able to give them a home.
Jellybean came from the Nashville zoo as a surplus cub in a litter of white tigers. White tigers are often irresponsibly bred for the entertainment industry. The white gene is genetically recessive and both parents must have the allele in order for a cub to be white. Only two white tigers have been found in the wild, and this was in the 1950's. Based on the gene being recessive, all white tigers in existence today are related to the original white tiger found in India and are as a result extremely inbred. Oftentimes in the breeding industry extra cubs in a litter of white tigers, or cubs that aren't pretty enough, are euthanized. If an orange cub is born in a litter bred for white tigers, that cub may also be euthanized. Although some of our tigers are clicker trained and enjoy the enrichment, we never ask them to perform. I am very strongly opposed to the idea of using live animals as entertainment and I think that the breeding industry for this market is morally corrupt, particularly when it comes to white tigers.
Jelly got his name because when he came to Carolina Tiger his little pink paws looked like Jellybeans. He is a very vocal cat (lots of moaning and chuffling) and loves to visit on the tours. He has also taught his enclosure buddy, Tex, to be extra talkative. Jelly and Tex spar like housecats sometimes, slapping eachother in the face and sprinting around like maniacs. It is not usually seriously aggressive, but rather playful or agitated. The other day I was working in their enclosure (a part they were not in) and the whole time Jelly sat along the fence and chuffled.
As you can see, Jelly loves attention. Not all of the tigers at Carolina Tiger are this friendly, and when interacting with wild cats one must never let his or her guard down. Please note that these are not the kind of cat you bring home and play with.
Nitro is the blind tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue. The sand on the perimeter of his enclosure helps him identify where he is in relation to the fence. He can count his steps and navigates the enclosure very well. His enclosure buddy, Apache, is very protective of him and the two are very friendly. Last week we sprayed the perimter of the enclosure with vanilla and the den boxes, water areas, and shift doors with peppermint to help Nitro use his senses to navigate. Nitro decided recently that he absolutely loves me and jumped on the fence and attempted to scent mark me. The boys are being moved to a new enclosure soon and volunteers have been working to get everything just right. Gererous donations have also allowed the purchase of materials such as sand to make paths throughout the enclosure for Nitro. I am appreciate to each of the volunteers and donors who give to Carolina Tiger Rescue. It gives me hope for the future and protection of exotic cats and I am excited to build a career where I can work with people like the family at Carolina Tiger Rescue.
I'm never sure who is Becky and who is Coda when it comes to the bints in this enclosure (that is, if I am looking at their faces). One of them charges me constantly and yowls and growls, but here either Becky or Coda was being friendly because I had bananas with me. I have to admit that since becoming an intern I have started to eat more fruit. Any career that promotes personal health must be a good choice!
I think I've made a good choice.