Did you know there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than there are living wild in their natural habitat? These marvelous animals are kept by zoos, roadside attractions, circuses, and even private collectors. Sadly, a good majority of the owners do not know what they are doing, and it doesn’t tend to end well for the animal.
Many tiger owners have no clue what they are getting into, or how much it can cost to keep one as a pet. An adult male tiger can easily cost their owner $10,000 a year just for food; that’s not including other expenses like flea and tick control, medical bills, enclosure upkeep, toys, and many other things.
Makeen is a male bengal tiger who lives at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, but he hasn’t always lived there. Makeen’s first ten years of life were what can only be described as utterly horrific, and the full extent of what he lived through can never be known.
Makeen lived in a nine foot by four foot cage inside of a barn for ten years before he was rescued. For reference, that’s the size of your average small dog run. Makeen had no window or way to view the outside, and he had never been given the chance to stretch his legs outside of his tiny enclosure. His life was like a horror movie, trapped inside of a dark barn with no way to stretch his legs and left all alone with no companionship.
When authorities heard how horrible this regal tiger’s life was, they immediately confiscated him and turned over to the sanctuary where he now lives. The first day, Makeen refused to leave his transport cage as he was too terrified of all of the unknown things surrounding him. That first night when Makeen left his cage for the first time, he was able to feel the lush grass under his paws and the gentle breeze ruffling his fur for the first time ever.
On his second night, Assistant Behaviorist Christi went and sat with him outside of his cage. He observed her for a few minutes before slowly approaching her, lying down next to the fence and letting out a low chuff. Since then, Makeen has only become more affectionate with those he trusts.
Makeen has adjusted to living in an amazing habitat, and loves to swim. When people tour the facility they often get to see him sleeping in his pool with his head nestled in her paws. This amazing tiger seems to hold no grudge against humans, and now gets to live the most amazing life possible.
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