Big cats and human complexity

The Trailhead

This weekend I spent time at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center near Brazil, Indiana. Most of the cats at the Center are tigers, due in part to the popularity of tiger ownership as a status symbol, as well as the obsession with breeding white tigers. Such breeding inevitably produces many non-white tigers, which then require sanctuary.

White tiger. White tiger.

There really are very few places that one can get so close to big cats; in the wild it’s unwise, and in zoos there always seem to be greater physical barriers, whether through glass or moats or just sheer distance. The EFRC keeps the cats in wooded, fenced habitats. Some of the cats are quite affectionate, and would come up and rub their faces against the fence when our guide called them, just like ordinary kitties.

010Others, though, behaved very much like one would expect wild tigers and lions to behave. I stood…

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