So far Suvarna has adjusted to his new life pretty well. He figured out the food cart very quickly and is very eager for his breakfast first thing. Chicken seems to be his favorite but we haven’t found any meat he doesn’t eat.
Knowing that our new cat enjoys chicken, we can use this to reward him for exploring new areas of his yard or to ease him into new situations. Previously Suvarna lived in a fenced in enclosure in someone’s back yard with a den box for shelter. Since Suvarna probably did not have an inside area before, he was not very interested in coming inside the building. With the help of chicken and some other tasty treats we can feed him near any areas he is not comfortable in. Within just a few days he started stepping inside to grab a piece of chicken.
Each day Suvarna becomes braver and braver and will venture in a few steps more or stay a few seconds longer inside. Staff tries to keep his experience inside as positive as possible and reward him for being brave. It may not seem like much to most of us, but this is a whole new world for a tiger. We feel confident that within a few weeks he will be going in and out of indoor holding with no problems.
All of Crown Ridge’s staff has been at the sanctuary for several years. While we all LOVE our jobs, the everyday stuff that used to be exciting becomes part of your daily routine. When you first start you are happy to clean a tiger’s yard, thrilled to feed a tiger, love watching a tiger tear apart whatever enrichment item you spent the last few weeks constructing. Although none of these activities ever get old, they become less exciting over the years. With a new rescue animal, it’s very much like reliving your first days as a tiger keeper. You are super excited when a cat chuffs at you, you see that they even bothered to look at your enrichment item, or they don’t mind you hand feeding them. The excitement comes rushing back and you remember you totally have the coolest job in the world.