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Orphaned Tiger Given Goat to Eat Befriends it Instead

Orphaned Tiger Given Goat to Eat Befriends it Instead

Editor’s Note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on March 12, 2013. Enjoy!

Written by Stephen Messenger

In 2009, a Bengal tiger cub was rescued from India’s Dhaba forest range, left helpless after the disappearance of its mother. Over the next few years, keepers at the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary raised the orphan, named Bhangaram, to adulthood in hopes of one day releasing him back into the wild.

But, as it turns out, not only was the tiger out of the jungle, the jungle seemed to be out of it.

Staff at the wildlife sanctuary recently released a live goat into the now full-grown male tiger’s enclosure as a way of triggering its predatory instincts. However, as opposed attacking the helpless animal, the unusually docile tiger did quite the opposite.

From the Times of India:

[Keepers had] hoped the beast would make a quick kill. To their astonishment and horror, the tiger instead decided to make friends with its intended meal. For two days, the tiger did not kill the goat despite being hungry. Instead it played with it; at one point even playfully dumping it in an artificial waterhole. Finally, the goat was shifted out and the tiger was given beef to eat.

Although the thought of a normally ferocious tiger ‘befriending’ its intended meal might seem like an adorable turn for the predator, conservationists say there is nothing cute about the big cat’s unwillingness to kill. In fact, Bhangaram’s temperate behavior may mean he will never be reintroduced to the wild where tiger numbers are in decline.

“I fear the male tiger is not fit for release,” says veteran conservationist MS Chouhan.

Since the early 1970s, the Indian government has established wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers in hopes preserving Bengal tigers, driven to near extinction from poaching and other conflicts with humans. But, as conservationists have learned, when young cubs are rescued after the loss of their mother, they often lack the hunting skills only she can teach them.

Sadly, even once rescued tigers are returned to the wild, they are more prone to the same violent run-ins with humans that may have befallen their parent. Tiger experts say that animals which have lived in captivity are more likely to prey on cattle, which in turn puts them at risk of being killed by farmers. In other words, the loss of even a single tiger can have ramifications lasting for generations.

Despite these challenges, conservationists have reported that the number of tigers in India has increased by over 15 percent in recent years. All told, however, tiger populations throughout the world have dropped 96.8 percent over the last two decades from poaching and habitat loss.

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.

 

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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1126 comments

+ add your own
8:05AM PST on Dec 13, 2014

THANK YOU for your time and for posting, great story!

11:27AM PST on Dec 11, 2014

thank you

5:04AM PST on Dec 10, 2014

Thanks for posting :-)

4:59PM PST on Dec 9, 2014

The cubs mother would have had to teach him how to hunt and kill. Without those lessons the tiger had no inclination to kill the goat especially since the story said he was "full grown". Why did they wait so long to try to feed live prey? Parts of the story make no sense.

9:28AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers -

save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers -

save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers - save tigers -

9:23AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

protect tigers! sign all petitions about tigers

9:22AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

tigers should live in their natural habitat

9:21AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

tigers are so beautiful cats

9:20AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

nice story

3:13AM PST on Dec 7, 2014

Thank you for sharing

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