After seeing this video I was immediately jelous of this orangutan. It’s always been a dream of mine to play with baby tigers in exactly this fashion. I’m painfully aware though that if I were to try this I would most likely be torn into bloody ribbons. Not to mention the fact that wild animals should never be treated as pets by humans. They are wild for a reason. So, I will content myself by watching this adorable orangutan handle these big frisky kitties in much the same way I would like to. I especially love when he throws that one over his back like a rag doll. If my heart had been frozen, that would have made it melt all over the place.
The place where this video was shot is called The institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species Safari and Preservation Station. Also known as T.I.G.E.R.S. It’s located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding this place. They have been accused of under feeding their tigers in order to keep them smaller so that they retain their baby look. This way they will look smaller when they pose for pictures. This place will let you hold a baby tiger or ape on your lap and pose for a picture for $100 per person, $25 for each additional person. As someone who has always harbored the dream of playing with tigers, even I find this a little disturbing. My desire to do so is dream based and highly unrealistic, which I am acutely aware of and this is why I would never actually handle a young wild animal. I respect them too much.
For a place that prides themselves on the rescue of endangered animals and their preservation, they sure do seem to exploit these animals.
When I think of a place that ensures the survival of endangered species, I think of a peaceful place where the animals are free to be themselves in all their wild glory. Away from the prying eyes of humans. It should be a place that ensures the safety and well-being of the animals without directly interfering in the natural process of the way they behave.
When wild animals have prolonged exposure to humans they start to behave differently than they would in the wild, without human interference. T.I.G.E.R.S. advertises that you can take a guided tour through a 50 acre preserve while being followed by a photographer and a video camera to document your experience. It is said to be a, “hands on” “opportunity of a lifetime.”
I’ve said this before, but I love it when animals of different species naturally become friends. Naturally is the key word. Forced animal friendships for the purpose of an attraction is never okay. I would like to believe that all people are kind to animals and only have their best interests at heart. Unfortunately, there are people out there who are uncaring and will take advantage of the kind hearts of animals.
Always be wary of places that will allow you to directly interact with wild animals. It’s against the nature of the animal to so. This means that the animal has been trained to allow humans to be near it. I don’t like to think about the training methods that may have been used.
Us humans, with big squishy animal loving hearts may easily be lured in by the prospect of snuggling our favorite animal. Just don’t be fooled into supporting an organization that may be hurting animals more than they are helping. Be sure to do some research on the place, if you are interested in doing something like this.