NJ Tigers

Can I See Tigers In NJ?

I spend a lot of time in New Jersey, and when it comes to tigers, it might not be the most natural place to see them, but there are actually a few zoos close by that are family friendly and have good tiger attractions. In NJ, there is the Cape May Zoo. Also, there is the Philadelphia Zoo just a little ways over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Pennsylvania. Both have invested a good deal of money into improving the quality of life of their big cats and into making them more accessible to the people who have come to see them.

Cape May County ZooRocky The Tiger - CMC Zoo

The big name down in the Cape May County Zoo is Rocky the Tiger. He is a large male Siberian Tiger who has spent his life in the care of the good zookeepers down along the Jersey Shore. The CMC Zoo is accredited by the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and has meticulous regulations to make sure that Rocky is well cared for. He is a fan favorite and usually pretty playful. This makes it so much more fun for families, or anyone for that matter, to come and see him play with his giant cat toys or roll around in the grass. He is actually the tiger that I saw spray a group kids on a school trip who got a little too close to his fence. One minute they were laughing and yelling with excitement as he walked right by them. The next minute they were screaming and running because he turned his back and sprayed all over them through the fence. It must have sucked for them, but I thought it was funny as hell.

Along with school trips and day trips for local families, the Cape May County Zoo is actually pretty popular for out of towners looking to do something different while on vacation at the shore. A friend of mine owns a local limo company in South Jersey (www.vinelandsbestlimo.com), and was telling me how he actually gets a good amount of business in the summer months from people who are taking trips to the zoo to see Rocky and all the other animals there. It was something I never would have thought of to rent a limo or car for, but it goes to show that the tourism demand and popularity for exotic wildlife such as Tigers in NJ is alive and well and is not just limited to the beach or gambling in Atlantic City

Over the past few years, the zoo has actually spent over $500K to improve Rocky’s habitat. Expanding his enclosure and giving more room to roam has helped keep him a happy tiger. Keeping him happy is paramount, because even animals can feel stressed and have physical and emotional health issues. Back in 2013, the zookeepers found a tumor that kept recurring even after multiple surgeries. He underwent three surgeries to remove the tumor each time it came back, and had 6 months of chemo therapy. He is fortunate enough today to be cancer free and to not have had any serious adverse effects from the treatment. He is living his life as happy and playful as he ever was.

Philadelphia Zoo

If you are in NJ, another family favorite zoo that is close by that you might not have thought of is the Philadelphia Zoo. They have spent a great deal of time and money (over $2M) to engineer and build the “Big Cat Crossing”. It is a mesh bridge that allows all the big cats, such as tigers, lions, jaguars, and others to move about the park along protected mesh walkways overhead of the visitors. The bridges connect different enclosures and encourages the animals to be curious and explore and gives the patrons more chances to see and interact with the animals.

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Tiger Tourism in SC

One of my favorite places that I have visited is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at a conservation called T.I.G.E.R.S (The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species). They offer up close and personal encounters with a number of different kinds of animals. One of their biggest draws is the opportunity to cuddle and have your picture taken with some of the cutest baby animals, like tiger cubs and young apes. They also have the rarest of the big cats, the Liger (Lion/Tiger).

Now with institutions like this, you always have to be aware of whether or not they are just exploiting these creatures. That’s something I’m always concerned about with zoos or animal sanctuaries. People aren’t always the most trustworthy, and have been known to do cruel and indecent things to make a buck. The people here seem to be very upstanding and do their best to take care of their animals and keep them happy and healthy. They are trying to spread the word of how tigers, along with other species, are becoming extinct in an effort to make a change for the better. The animals they have are the faces of the creatures that are being wiped off the earth. The money brought in through ticket sales is used to take care of the animals kept there to to sponsor conservation efforts around the world.

I felt comfortable with what they were doing and the way they were doing it, so I decided to go and support them, as well as have some fun for myself. Now the price for the tickets does seem a little steep at first, but you have to remember that this is a very rare experience and is totally worth it in the long run. You can look back at the photos and memories with a smile, knowing you did something most people will never have the chance to do.

What T.I.G.E.R.S. offer:Tiger Cub

  • Plan an African Safari
  • Myrtle Beach Safari Tour
  • Pictures with Baby Tigers and Apes
  • Ligers, Big Cats, Bears, Elephants, Primates
  • The chance to experience and support wildlife preservation

If you are looking for a unique trip that offers experiences for animal lovers that you will not be able to find elsewhere, this is the place for you. I would highly recommend going to South Carolina to see these beautiful animals. Enjoy seeing them run and play in a safe and friendly environment. Do your part to support conservation and have some fun at the same time.

A Tiger’s Stripes

So why do Tigers have stripes?

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled and talked to many zoologists and tiger conservationists about my favorite big cat. I was hoping to have found out some secret or at least relatively unknown information about the tigers stripes. Unfortunately, I kept getting the same answer that you will find on Wikipedia or in any blog. The tiger’s stripes are one of it’s many tools used as a hunter. It serves as camouflage so that it can sneak up on its prey.

Tiger Camouflage

The tiger is at the top of the food chain and is considered one of natures best hunters. It attacks and kills other predators, like alligators and crocodiles. I heard stories of this but it seemed a little far fetched until I actually saw some video of it. The tiger SWAM over and killed the alligator and drug it back through the water (where you think it would have a disadvantage) and back into the bush where he ate it. It kind of blew my mind. The tiger really is an impressive hunter which seems to have no real natural enemy other than man.

So back to the stripes. The color patterns of the fur actually start on the skin. If you were to shave a tiger down, its skin would actually show the same striped design. So what about the orange coloring? Honestly, I’m not really sure why it’s orange. Research has been done that shows most animals are pretty much color blind. So the tiger’s stripes and orange color actually just appear as lighter and darker shades of gray to most of its prey. Because most tigers inhabit areas like jungles with thick foliage and brush or areas with tall grass, they blend in perfectly.

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Tigers – When They Attack

Yes, Tigers are beautiful and even seem cuddly at times, but we must remember that they are wild animals. It is in their blood to hunt and be at the top of the food chain. Whether they are in captivity, like zoos, and used to having people around or not, they must be respected and even feared. They are very large animals that can kill when they want. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not trying to fear-monger or make these animals out to be something they are not. I just want people to remember their place when standing next to one. Mankind tends to be fearless and think that we are invincible. For some reason, we expect these wild animals to recognize that we are man, and they should obey us.¬†These are not tame house cats and they should not be treated as such. They are bigger an faster than us. They have evolved into the predatory species that they are and have no reason not to look at anything smaller and weaker as food.

Below is a video from YouTube on Tiger attacks to demonstrate how powerful they are. These clips might not be for the faint of heart. They are not gory, but do show some blood, so view at your own risk.

 

 

Every time I see a tiger in person, animal to animal, I am in such awe of them. I feel lucky to be able to stand next to them and appreciate their size and and strength, and feel even luckier still to have thick glass or a fence in between us. I don’t know if you can relate, but it’s almost this mixture of feelings, like fear and euphoria at the same time. I am so ecstatic to be in their presence but can’t wait to leave. I have that surge of adrenaline and want to run, but can’t because I’m locked in place. When I get the chance, I like to look into their eyes if they let me and it’s almost hypnotic. There’s something deep and soulful there, but I also can’t help thinking that they could eat me if they wanted at the same time.

Anyway, I’m saying all this because I respect these creatures so much. I hope that others of you out there do as well. I think the best thing to try and do is understand them. Ignorance is such a weakness for humans. We feel like we are in charge, but fail to realize how often that is not the case. Sure, relationships can be made with animals, but just like with other people, it should be based on respect. If you have the chance to see a Tiger up close. Just sit quietly and try to look into it’s eyes. I’m sure it won’t take long for you to get the feeling that you are not in control and are lucky enough to be having that experience in a safe place instead of out in the wild.

Thanks for checking out my new Tiger blog!

TigerCubHello to all the Tiger enthusiasts out there! Thanks for taking a look a my blog (Tiger Wildlife Tours India). I am still getting things going here but I figured I’d start out at the beginning. I want this blog to be informative¬†as well as fun and interesting.

 

So let’s start with some of the basic information and see where we go from there.

The Panthera Tigris, or Tiger as we know it, is the largest of all the big cats. They have been recorded just over 11 feet long and up to approximately 860 lbs. That’s no simple house cat. That is a massive powerhouse of a feline that is unfortunately now on the endangered species list because of the drastic loss of numbers, now totaling somewhere just under 4,000. This could be directly related to the expansion and growth of the human population into the tigers old habitat. Because of this, the area of their natural habitat has shrunk by over 90% of what it used to be, scattering them and forcing them to try and exist in areas that are only a fraction of the land they used to inhabit.

They are probably the most recognized out of all the large cats because of their beautiful orange / golden coloring and bold black stripes. It’s hard not to talk about a tigers colors without mentioning the White Tigers. The whiteness is caused by a recessive gene that both parents have to carry. When this is the case and the parent tigers decide to get busy, out comes a baby white tiger. Because they are popular, they are seen more in captivity. The downside to this is that there is often a lot of inbreeding, leading to defects and shorter life spans.

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