MEETING TIGER CUBS AT DREAMWORLD
I was in the fortunate position to recently find myself on the Gold Coast. The Dreamworld theme park to be specific. Meeting tiger cubs!
I am a massive animal lover and I have always felt pretty iffy about paying to spend time with animals because I believe animals should be in the wild in their own natural habitat, but on this occasion when I questioned the Dreamworld staff on how the Tigers were treated, I was assured that the sessions are pretty much dictated by the tigers. I decided to pay for a tiger cub experience at the theme park.
What did I get for the $250? A 20 minute visit with two cubs for both myself and my partner.
As you can see the tiger cubs (Akasha and Adira – born Nov 29th) were on leads attached to their handler. The leads were always slack as the trainers let the cubs take the lead. We were told to constantly stay behind the tiger and let the tiger cub go where ever it wanted to go and to let it do whatever it wanted to do.
If the tigers were tired or not up to the session, it would be cut short with no notice which was fine as the tigers health is more important than any human interaction. I didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived at the tiger cub pen.
The cubs didn’t take much notice of any of the people in their pen. Just like children, they were more interested in playing with each other and with their bucket of water.
The tiger handlers were on hand to answer any questions we had and believe me there were many! I found it fascinating that just like our puppy Teddy, the tigers would go from balls of energy to little naps in the space of minutes and then balls of energy again!
One thing that really worried me was that the cubs could possibly be doped up like they are in tiger parks in Thailand and Bali- I can assure you these cubs were definitely not.
The trainers explained to us that Dreamworld were offering cub experiences in order to raise funds to help tiger conservation in India, Thailand, Borneo and Sumatra. Apparently there are only approx. 3,000 tigers left in the wild, which is so sad as they were once thought to have numbered 100,000. Through conflict with humans, their habitat has suffered and tigers are thought to now only have 7% of the territory they once occupied.
They are also hunted for every part of their body which is sold illegally in many parts of the world.
It made me really sad to think these cubs and the rest of the tigers in Dreamworld would never know true freedom or have a ‘wild’ life, but I understand that through their short interactions with the public they are raising money to help protect future generations of their species.
They really are such beautiful creatures!