Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wildlife Park - Tiger Splash

These incredible pictures show fearsome 47-stone tigers splashing around with their keepers

As a man stands neck-deep in water a huge Bengal tiger leaps into the air above him with claws outstretched and jaws open

Luckily for this keeper he has nothing to fear as the only thing on the tiger's mind is catching his favourite toy

The incredible photos were taken at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, in Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, as part of the tiger pool play time

For 30 minutes every day a pair of the zoo's six Bengal and Siberian tigers take to the 50 foot pool for fun and games

Aston Powell, from Out Of Africa, said the aim of playing with the tigers in this way was to enrich their lives

To be honest if a 47 stone tiger doesn't want to play like this, there's not much we could do to make him

Tiger Splash began in 1993 when the park purchased a SiberianTiger cub, Genesis, from a breeder in Florida

Genesis had several surgeries because of knee deformity, due to inbreeding, to get the problem corrected as much as possible

Dean and Prayeri Harrison, the park founders and owners, never considered sending him back to the breeder because they believed he would most likely be put to sleep because of his problems

Genesis didn't like the pool at all so they decided to offer it to the other cats to see their reaction. That's how Tiger Splash started

It would not be our way to instruct others to care for their animals in the same way we do anymore than for them to tell us what we do is incorrect. It is about being one with the tiger and looking from the animals point of view, not our own.

There are estimated to be 2,100 wild Bengal tigers in the wild today in their native India and Bangladesh

As a sub-species the Bengal tiger is considered to be one of the largest of the breed, males can measure three metres from head to tail

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