Beasts and Breeding and Brazil…oh my!
I read an interesting article on Yahoo today. It was about Ary Borges, a Brazilian man, who owns 7, yes 7, Siberian (orange and black) adorable full-grown tigers. He also has 2 lions. Yipe. The federal Brazilian wildlife officials have begun legal methods to remove the animals and neuter them. Ary, a bit of an unconventional sort not only protects his cats, he also breeds them. Ary had no experience handling wild animals when he began to breed his cats. The wildlife feds argue that the animals are dangerous and deserve to live elsewhere than in Ary’s small home in the middle of an industrial area. He does however have a spacious red-dirt compound. It is surrounded by wooden walls and metal fences.
At first I thought “this guy is nuts. One of these days those tigers will turn on him.” Then I looked at the slideshow. Cute. And in the pictures I saw the a highly impressive property. A gorgeous woods with a large, deep blue swimming pool (yes the tigers use it), as well as spacious cages with at least one swimming pool inside. The rest of the day the tigers and lionesses wander around inside his house interacting with his children and spouse. Ary first rescued two abused tigers from a circus and this is what started him on his tiger-breeding hobby so to speak. To be fair, I should call it a sanctuary and it does look that way. It is probably a full-time job to care for so many wild beasts and it is obvious from looking at the impressive photographs that Ary does a darned good job. The cages are clean, as are the animals. They are healthy and active (not to mention beautiful). In one picture Ary is shown bottle feeding an adorable 2-year-old tiger named Dan. His paw is enormous, far bigger than Ary’s hand.
The 2nd last picture is of one of his 7 tigers standing in his pristine white kitchen across the table from Ary’s family. The animal is enormous. I pictured walking around the corner into the kitchen alone and encountering just one of the enormous tigers or lionesses. It made my heart skip a beat. As beautiful and serene as they are, tigers, lions (and bears) are wild animals. I hope nothing nasty ever comes of Ary breeding and raising his tigers. I watched a Youtube video of Ary, his tigers and his family and my impression changed somewhat. Kevin Richardson has nothing on Ary Borges, in a manner of speaking.
Another scene showed Ary holding a tiger on a leash and the animal lunged at one of the girls, Uyara, who scurried, frightened, out of its way. Moments later Uyara insists that since the family has been caring for them, the tigers’ instincts are dormant. Not sure I agree with that one. Rafael, Uyara’s husband,doesn’t want her interacting with the tigers. He is terrified of the big cats and keeps his distance. “They can be lethal. I am very afraid. I try to avoid any kind of contact as much as I can.” Not a fun way to live. Uyara however allows their adorably pretty little daughter, Rayara to ride on the backs of the tigers. Ary leans over and strokes one of the cats behind the ears. The animal’s head jerks up and he growls at his “master.” Ary snarls back and wallops him but he looks uncertain.
The compound is impressive. I didn’t picture (pun) this man’s property and animals being anywhere this efficient and clean. Considering that it takes $20,000.00 a year just to feed one full-grown lion or tiger Ary must be loaded. That’s also beneficial to his cats.
Personally I’m on Rafael’s side. The animals are cantankerous, unpredictable and huge in size, Even Ary wouldn’t have a chance should any of his cats turn on him. I picture coming around the corner and walking smack into a huge, grown tiger. I doubt I would maintain my calm. I’m sure I’d scream and run. Of course we know that running away from a carnivore tends to trigger a hunting mechanism. Instinct is the inherent inclination of an organism toward a particular complex behaviour. The simplest example of an instinctive behavior is a fixed action pattern, (chasing) or a very short to medium length sequence of actions which are carried out in response to a clearly defined stimulus (running away). Running away from Bob or Dan means you might as well be a sitting duck. Chasing is a complex reaction when compared to a simple reflex. It isn’t learned. An animal or person is born with it. In spite of Ary and his family insisting that the tigers’ instincts have become dormant since they have been raised by humans, science says differently. People may be able to modify a stimulated fixed action pattern by recognizing its activation and choosing to simply stop doing it, whereas animals without a sufficiently strong volitional capacity may not be able to disengage from their fixed action patterns, once activated.
So far, Ary and his family insist there have been no serious injuries. I hope that continues. As impressive as the concept may be I say eventually nature always wins.
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