Stories tagged tiger swim

Oct
20
2008

Swimming with a tiger: I think it looks like it would really be a spiritual experience.
Swimming with a tiger: I think it looks like it would really be a spiritual experience.Courtesy o205billege
J/K! You can’t! You totally can’t! No swimming with the tigers for you!

Unless, maybe, you’re a young person, and you haven’t yet entered that clammy pipe that empties out into your grave—that is to say a career. Perhaps you could study zoology, or become an animal handler and trainer, maybe then you could swim with those noble man-eaters.

Because some people are swimming with tigers. There might even be a person swimming with a tiger in a warm Florida pool right now, as you read this in your bleak computer lab or parents’ basement.

It turns out that being a huge tank of water with a five hundred pound tiger, the best swimmer of all the large cats, is somehow way easier and less frightening than being on solid ground with a five hundred pound tiger (obviously), and so “The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species” (TIGERS, if you will), near Miami, Florida, has created a special pool for tigers and their handlers to swim in together.

The tigers at TIGERS would usually only go swimming to retrieve chunks of meat thrown by the trainers. The obvious next step, decided the center’s director, was to put the trainers themselves in the pool. Swimming around together should allow the animals to bond better with the handlers (that’s the hope, anyway), and will give the tigers some exercise. A tiger in the water, the TIGERS director points out, is unable to rear up on its hind legs (behavior that can make training difficult). Humans in the water, I’ve noticed, are also unable to rear up on their hind legs. That seems like it could spell trouble.

One side of the 100,000 gallon tiger/human swimming pool is made of glass, so if anything unfortunate does happen, at least the public will be able to see it.