I think I saw a putty-cat! I went to The San Diego Safari Park to practice with my new camera, but I got kinda distracted by these little guys. I think this one wanted to come home with me……or else he wanted to eat something right past my ear.

Meet the tiger cubs. One cub was brought to the park from The National Zoo after it was rejected by its mother and the other was confiscated at the San Diego/Mexican border by patrol agents when it was seven weeks old. One is a Bengal Tiger and the other a Sumatran. There are less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

This wasn’t a fair test of my new RX10 camera because I had to shoot through-multi inch tempered scratched glass, but who cares, these guys were too amazing to pass up and I knew you would like to see them! I can show you some fair test shots later. Now, it’s tiger time.

The cubs are living in a 5.2 acre outdoor tiger habitat with a river running through it, a waterfall, grass, trees, multiple levels and hiding places, and real dirt to roll in. It cost $19.5 million dollars to build. The cubs are growing up together and thriving. Check out this video of the day they were introduced to each other which was filmed with no glass obstructions:

There are other tigers in the habitat too, like this guy, who likes his bone. Doggies get grumpy when you take their bone. I wouldn’t want to try taking this guy’s bone away! He seemed to think I might want to!

There are only 3,890 tigers left in the wild. In 1900 there were an estimated 100,000.

This past year is the first time there has been an actual modest increase in the wild tiger population since 1900, which proves that conservation efforts can work if they are supported.

It would be a worldwide disgrace if the only tigers left in the world lived in zoos.

Cheers to you from the earth’s last remaining magnificent tigers~

306 thoughts on “Putty-Cat~

    1. There is a person who lives in The Holler that has a personal zoo. I heard through the grapevine that his tiger once escaped. It would really get my blood pressure up to encounter a tiger on a Holler walkabout! 🐯

    1. The Safari Park is a model for zoo improvement. No concrete cages, but free open spaces, outdoors where animals roam in a park like setting. It isn’t freedom but it is much better than a zoo.

  1. Love the look on the big guy’s face… “She wouldn’t dare!!!”
    In fact, love them all πŸ™‚ And then I look at my’ miniature’, trying to explain to me she wants the door opened, hunting time – such similar expressions… What a lovely start for your new camera <3

  2. You captured their personalities – you have a knack for doing that! These are important pictures for so many reasons – especially in light of those population numbers! The video was precious too. The bopping on the head behavior happens in dogs too lol. Just this weekend Henry who was visiting did that to Link a lot lol. These are practice pics?!!! Amazing work! Thank you Cindy!

  3. What stunning creatures! Still, did you see the size of their paws … and their claws?! I’d be terrified to come face to face with such a cat, but I’m glad you captured their pictures for us. And how wonderful that conservation is working to boost their numbers!

    1. A tiger hidden in a jungle would be a truly terrifying creature to encounter unaware on a path. People who live amongst them often wear masks on the back of their heads since tigers like to attack from behind. Still the most terrifying creature of them all are humans, since we are killing off the wild tigers.

    1. Yes, it is a pretty amazing job! My son did a stint at CRES (Center on Research on Endangered Species) which is part of the park. He got to monitor baby cheetahs on display, and was very moved by a tiger dying of old age in the Veterinary Clinic. You can volunteer to work at the park and at other conservation parks if you have the time and inclination. 🐯

    1. It is amazing the photos came out considering the thickness and scratches on the glass. Interestingly, the scratches were on the human side of the glass, not the other way around! 🐯

  4. Beautiful! Is the whiter one the Sumatran? It’s a pity wild tigers and elephants have difficulty cohabitating with humans, particularly in India. Such beautiful animals.

  5. They are my favorite cats, well, also the snow leopard and all other cats as well, LOL. This is such a wonderful post. Beautiful, uplifting and just adorable. Thank you so much Cindy.

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  7. Loved your post, Cindy. Beautiful images with your new camera. Big cats are such amazing creatures. Your info about their new habitat beyond the wild, with a waterfall, hiding places and real dirt made me happy for them. <3

      1. I agree with you that protection in the wild is the best solution, but the way the world is going in certain countries, greed and the money factor prevails, which is very sad. I still remember that big stink in the news where a dentist in States posted photos of his kill of a majestic lion. πŸ™

        1. He had a house full of trophies of endangered and exotic animals he killed. As long as people like this are running around with rifles and no conscience, we do need conservation parks. Can you imagine that guy with a dental drill in your mouth???? Yikes!

  8. Cindy, it is already a disgrace. Yet, even more disgraceful is that there are people who do not give a s&*^ & would easily, very easily, for a few bucks delete all tigers. I’m not sure how humanity can protect these sweet kittens from total annihilation outside of zoos, as humans are involved in the equation. Yet, I hope!

    1. I hear, and agree completely with everything you are saying. Humans are without a doubt the most harmful creatures on this planet and I wish we would finally, stop it already!

  9. A tigerific post, my friend. (β™‘β—–ΰΈΊβ—‘ΰΈΊβ——ΰΈΊ)β™‘I wish I can take the ‘putty-cub’ home. Over here, the Malayan tiger is critically endangered. It was reported there’s only about 250 tigers left. (/❛o❛\)

  10. You’ve been having fun with your new camera! Your photos are exquisite and a lovely tribute to tigers. I had no idea there are less than 4,000 tigers in the wild, but it makes sense then to push conservation efforts like the facility that houses the cubs. 5.2 acres of safe haven for tigers are invaluable. Thank you for sharing your amazing photos and words. πŸŒΉπŸ…

    1. Thank you much more for such a thoughtful comment and for appreciating the tigers, and their endangered status. There are only 300 Bengal tigers left in the wild. Soon I fear, there may be none. 🐯

  11. They are beautiful and fascinating creatures. Thanks for the beautiful photos and helpful backstory. I’m glad there is a modest increase in their population. Yes, it would be a huge shame if we didn’t preserve them and so many of the big animals of Africa too. I hope we are learning about co-habiting with all the other beings on the planet.

    1. I hope we are learning too. I know many people definitely care about conservation, but unfortunately the people doing the damage do not, which leaves many wild animals extremely vulnerable. 🐯

  12. Oh I am a complete puddle. I love cats of all kinds, but especially tigers, my power animals. I travel with two spirit tigers (big love). Who cares about the glass – wonderful photos.

    1. They are just magnificent creatures. If you feel connected to tigers, you might want to read,
      “The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival,” by John Vaillant. It’s quite a read. I read it several years ago and If I remember correctly, it was translated from Russian. I think it is a mixture of fact and fantasy. Google it if you want to sort out the truth from the non. I just found it a fascinating read.

  13. Such cuties! Thanks for including the video, Cindy. So adorable. I agree that it would be a worldwide disgrace if the only tigers left in the world lived in zoos. I’m not a proponent of removing animals from their natural habitats merely for show or ‘education.’ The only lesson children learn from zoos is that it’s okay to exploit other species. We have no right. We’re supposed to be the stewards of Mother Earth, not exploiters or destroyers. Placing an animal in captivity to preserve the species is arguable, from the animal’s point of view. Would I give up my freedom to preserve my species? I doubt it. Temporary captivity is acceptable, if an animal is hurt or endangered, and if the intent is to release the animal back to the wild. Has Planet of the Apes taught us nothing? I wonder . . . Your photos are gorgeous as always, my friend ❀

    1. Yes, it is a terrible compromise when a wild creatures only safe option for species survival are wild animal conservation parks. They are far better than zoos in that animals live in open, natural spaces, roaming outside with trees and water. The Safari Park sponsors CRES (Center for Research on Endangered Species) which is on the cutting edge of using DNA to save endangered species. The are working on saving the endangered northern white rhino of whom only four live in the world, as just one example. They have done so much more than this. They have, for example returned extinct California Condors to California. My son was lucky enough to spend time volunteering for this amazing program.

      1. This is good to know, Cindy. These and several other conservation measures are commendable. I would hope that the end goal is to release animals back to the wild, as many travel great distances on a seasonal, if not daily, basis. The irony is that we humans endangered these species in the first place. I’m grateful that the exploiters are far fewer in number than the stewards ❀

  14. Oh Cindy, I’m so glad you “Saw a putty cat” and shared! This made me smile like a cat with cream. I can’t believe you were taking these beautiful photos through scratched glass. Thanks for taking time to include the video too — it was adorable. Hugs!

  15. I’m liking from my other blog, now! πŸ˜€ So, after my other comment about man will wipe out all the Putty Cats, because man is the worst, I just signed an AVAAZ petition against Trump changing some law so his sons can bring home elephant remains from Big Game hunting.
    I’m assuming this is true, or there would be no petition.

    1. Oh yes, he dismantled the trophy hunting ban against threatened species so Donny Jr and his ilk can go “Tiger hunting with his elephant gun. In case of accidents he always brung his mum.”

  16. Absolutely loved seeing the tigers here today, Cindy. Interesting facts, and a marvelous tribute to a most remarkable and beautiful creature. Young cats have the pink nose, and it darkens to black as the cat ages. Simply wonderful post, thank you.

  17. The look on the face of the tiger with the bone!!! Almost human. And I think my favorite part was their tender fuzzy ears (on such a ferocious beast!)– Beautiful beautiful! And hope you have the best Thanksgiving ahead, a wonderful time with people you love — are you the cook?? I’m thankful for you and all the beauty you send out over and over. You are amazing Cindy. hugs hugs!

    1. Don’t tell anyone, but tigers really are cheating for a photographer. You can’t take a bad photo of them, lucky beasts! Thank you for supporting the 🐾 Patricia <3

        1. I never get the best. I have always used inexpensive cameras. This is the first time I got a pricey one. The speed is pretty amazing but I do use it judiciously for the just the reason you mention.

    1. The recent increase in wild pop numbers is very encouraging so I do hope so, but I also see people in power with a complete disregard for endangered creatures and habitats so I don’t know…..

    1. Thank you so much for highlighting these amazing creatures Charles. I have significant concern about how well we humans are managing our stewardship of this planet. There are less than 400 Sumatrans left in the wild. Closer to 300 actually.

  18. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Another post that I missed when I was away but so pleased I have discovered a combination of Cindy Knoke’s wonderful photography and the wonder of two tiger cubs who have been brought together at a brand new massive enclosure at San Diego Safari Park… do yourselves a favour and head over to enjoy the photographs and the video.

    1. I know you love the feline species like I do.
      The ultimate feline species, tigers, are just beyond amazing aren’t they. And it seems right to me, that they are deadly, but sad to me, that they are not deadly enough to save themselves from us.
      Blake was the only poet I know who could capture the meaning of a tiger perfectly, “Whose immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

  19. Cindy, the photos are wonderful… but I don’t like to see animals behind bars, the reason why I don’t approve zoos or similar places (unless these are “sanctuaries”). There is much fuss about it… but the freedom you shouldn’t take it away from sentient beings. I have seen many continents and the flora and fauna of them, unfortunately where Man arrives, he brings destruction with it. But this is an awfully long story. Take care, hugs :-)claudine

    1. “I have seen many continents and the flora and fauna of them, unfortunately where Man arrives, he brings destruction with it.”
      I share all of your concerns, and relate to your point about the destructiveness of the human species. Some people seem to be planning to go live on Mars once we have completely destroyed this planet. It doesn’t seem an equal substitute to me, and I wish we would put much more money, energy and attention into saving this planet (our only viable home) and all the creatures that live on it.

  20. I missed this post, dear Cindy! Awww, they are so adorable and look cuddly.
    The tigers are so dramatic looking with their beautiful designs. ❀
    When I worked at Cedar Point amusement park, they had baby white lions in the animal nursery. This was an area where a fine, gentle animal trainer named Jungle Larry taught the animals tricks. As far as I know, he never got bitten.
    I was lucky enough to hold baby lion cubs a few times. They were soft and silky, fluffy and had plump bellies. They were hand fed baby bottles. I think only once did I get to feed a baby white lion cub in the two full summers I worked there.
    We (3 of us in Ohio colleges) lived in the dormitory the first year and the second year, I was chosen to be given the key to the breakfast room in the Hotel Breakers. It was quite an honor. . . We opened at 6 am but were off by one pm. We lived in a small room in the hotel. I meet teenagers in Ohio and always say they should consider doing this. There are such great dances, movies on the beach, and invitations to go out on sailboats. 😊

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