Tigers Bred To Take Photos With Tourists Will Never Have To Pose Like This Again
"They're really proving to themselves that they are true tigers."
Caesar and Logan were brought into this world for selfies.
The tigers, born at separate facilities in the U.S., were bred as part of the so-called pay-to-play industry.
"People would go and get their picture taken with them when they were cubs and pay a fee. It's often anywhere from $25 to $100 per person," Tammy Thies, founder of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota, tells The Dodo."They're usually holding these cubs all day long, whether it be from a facility, a county fair, a travelling exhibit."
But tigers, even those made to be as docile and easy to handle as Caesar and Logan, inevitably grow too big for selfies. No longer small and cuddly, their breeders looked to offload the cats - essentially to anyone who would pay for them.
And so, they found their way to a private residence in New York. The man who acquired them probably thought he was doing a good thing for them, caring and feeding them in homemade pens in his yard.
"I think he didn't realize he was contributing to a bigger problem by letting people offload their pay-to-play," Thies says. "But Caesar and Logan are probably a few of the lucky ones because they did get proper nutrition with this private owner."
Ultimately, the man did these tigers the best turn of all - and surrendered them to the Wildcat Sanctuary.
That's where Caesar and Logan found the true home that had eluded them all their lives.
Last week, the tigers set foot, for the first time, on their new home turf - a vast, custom-made enclosure at the sanctuary.
"The amount of space they have now is just astronomical compared to where they came from," Thies says. "They're really enjoying it. And they're really proving to themselves that they are true tigers."
They've got their own pool.
And toys made just for tigers.
"Everything that's supposed be indestructible is never indestructible when it comes to tigers," Thies says with a laugh. "We go through a lot of toys with the big guys."
And, of course, there's always that nosy neighbor.
"There is a cougar across the way who has told us the new neighbors are a little annoying," Thies explains. "She's been doing a lot of vocalizations to tell Caesar that just because he's moved near doesn't mean she's given up any of her own habitat."
But that cougar will have to learn to live with their new neighbors. Because they're here for the long haul.
Want to make sure big cats like Caesar and Logan get a chance to live their lives to the fullest? Consider making a donation to the Wildcat Sanctuary.
You can also watch a video of their rescue below.