Or *mis*heard….

“Hi, I’m Riders, I used to work here. B gave me the OK to go behind the fence and just say hi to the tigers.”
“Oh, okay. Uh…okay. Um, when you’re done just come back through the East Barn and make sure the gate’s latched.”
“So, okay, just have fun and be careful.”
“I’ll try :3”
“….w-wait, did you just say, ‘no promises?'”
“No…did I?”

Best of – Overheard or Spoken at the Tiger Sanctuary

img_20200407_130554Reposted for the benefit of posterity:

“Hey Riders will you take this next tour? I know it isn’t your turn but–”
“It’s good, my search for tips is endless.”
“Hah, I got forty dollars once.”
“Apparently J got tipped a hundred.”

[sung] “Oh where oh where has my capuchin friend gone,
Oh where oh where can he be? Is he up in the outside
Or will he come in for ve-eee-ggie straws?”

“Come try to kill me over here!”

“I gave Leo his meds…A2 was able decoy the lionesses away. I guess she looks tasty!”
“Must be all them bones.”

“OK, Leo, it’s hose time.”
“Riders, you sound really excited.”
“…I’m going to spray a lion with a hose and you’re going to force-feed him chicken. What’s not to be excited about?”

“Did Leo get his meds?”
“Yeah, I went over and I pulled his mane through the fence, and then when he turned to snarl at me I shoved the chicken into his mouth.”
“I feel very accomplished.”

[dart gun training by an ex-Marine]
“Ok, so safety is paramount. Never point a gun at something you do not intend to shoot. So if you point this at anyone, I’m gonna punch you.”

(And on a particularly crazy day:

“Riders! Hey this is really weird, do you know if anyone here has size seven shoes?”
“…I’ll check.”
“Yeah please thank you, M1 had a boot blow out on her and it’s raining.”

Riders, walking west: “M1, are you feeding Farah?”
“I was but she’s being a bitch so I’m making her suffer.”
Riders, walking east, five minutes later, overhears:
“Open your f*cking mooouuth!”

“Riders, can you give A2 her boots back? And tell her I said thank you from the bottom of my…soles.”)

And on another day:

“M1, M1, do you copy?”
“I copy, go ahead.”
“The llama just chased us out of the pasture and he’s got our tools still in there.”
“OK, copy. Can you reach them to get them out from the outside?”
“We just pulled the rake out but now he’s humping the shovel.”

“Hey, M1, what would we use to knock out the llama?”
“What drug would we use to knock out the llama?”
“That’s what I thought you said.”

“Where’s my kitty?”
“Excuse me, I think you mean my kitty.”
[from the next room] “You mean my kitty?”

“If you love something, let it go to its box.”

“I used to be the shy quiet kid who hardly talked to anyone.”
“That sure changed.”

[to a female wolf] “Kala, you are such bitch.”
“Did you just call Kala a bitch?”
“Biologically accurate.”

“I got video of Murder Eyes trying to stalk me!”
“He a cutie-patootie, he do that.”

“I feel like the lionesses are checking out [large male tiger].”

[after giving Large Male Tiger a pig head as enrichment, with great success]:
“Murder Eyes would prefer a human head, wouldn’t he…”

“Oh G*d these animals! Does everyone want to eat Midnight’s food except her!?”

“Where them kittens at?”

“I don’t mind Midnight sleeping in my room. I do mind it when she steals my bed.”
“Oh, like she did last night and you yelled at her?”
“You heard that?”
“Yes. You were like, ‘Midnight! Get OFF my bed!‘”
“Well, yeah, it was two in the morning and I also had to get up at twelve to let her into my room because she was scratching at the door–”
“Yeah, I heard you then, too. You said, ‘Midnight, if you keep on whining I’m going to be really mad.’
“I petted her afterwards so she knew I wasn’t mad.”
“You sounded mad.”

“I hope we can let Bob roam the house tonight, he keeps attacking my feet through the covers and his claws are very sharp.”
“I went out and bought a new duvet because he kept biting my toes.”

[The next day]
“They’re so much calmer today!”
“Yeah, they’re settling in.”
“I only heard you yelling at the dogs twice last night.”
“And you only thumped on the wall once.”
“Does that actually work?”
“It works on me!’”

“Billy just creeped me out. He was humping his ball and then he looked at me and chuffed.”

“If the dogs have storm anxiety, I [the shelter veterinarian] can do something about that….”
“How are you going to do that?”

[the cat jumped down from the window. Very loudly.]
“Holy [bleep], Bob! That was like the curtains just dropped a deuce.”

[Sung] “You put your right arm in,
You put your left arm in,
You put your right arm in,
And! A tiger rips it out! Hooo-wheeee!”

“Yeah, that would never fly here. If one of us got our arm ripped off, we’d be fired.”

img_20200417_101853“M2, are you OK with feeding Harry [large male tiger] and Krishna [larger male tiger]?”
“Yes, I think I’m good.”
“You can handle them? They do get kinda loud.”
“I mean, with all the big boys I do expect to get rawr’d at.”
“…rawr’d at?”
“…is that the technical term?”

“Hey Z, do me a favor? Read over this Facebook testimonial I’m doing and see if it’s too passive-aggressive.”
“Nah, it’s not passive-aggressive at all.”
“I thought bit about ‘communication and leadership’ was a bit snarky.”
“Nobody but us will get that you’re being snarky, because literally nobody in this organization knows what communication is or that they’re bad at it.”

Poetry Corner – Other Tiger

A tiger comes to mind. The twilight here
Exalts the vast and busy Library
And seems to set the bookshelves back in gloom;
Innocent, ruthless, bloodstained, sleek
It wanders through its forest and its day
Printing a track along the muddy banks
Of sluggish streams whose names it does not know
(In its world there are no names or past
Or time to come, only the vivid now)
And makes its way across wild distances
Sniffing the braided labyrinth of smells
And in the wind picking the smell of dawn
And tantalizing scent of grazing deer;
Among the bamboo's slanting stripes I glimpse
The tiger's stripes and sense the bony frame
Under the splendid, quivering cover of skin.
Curving oceans and the planet's wastes keep us
Apart in vain; from here in a house far off
In South America I dream of you,
Track you, O tiger of the Ganges' banks.
It strikes me now as evening fills my soul
That the tiger addressed in my poem
Is a shadowy beast, a tiger of symbols
And scraps picked up at random out of books,
A string of labored tropes that have no life,
And not the fated tiger, the deadly jewel
That under sun or stars or changing moon
Goes on in Bengal or Sumatra fulfilling
Its rounds of love and indolence and death.
To the tiger of symbols I hold opposed
The one that's real, the one whose blood runs hot
As it cuts down a herd of buffaloes,
And that today, this August third, nineteen
Fifty-nine, throws its shadow on the grass;
But by the act of giving it a name,
By trying to fix the limits of its world,
It becomes a fiction not a living beast,
Not a tiger out roaming the wilds of earth.
We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.

- Jorge Luis Borges

There are more tigers in Texas

–than there are in the wild. There’s approximately 4,800 tigers in the wild–in the entire world. There are approximately 5,000 in the state of Texas alone.

In some ways, this is a good thing. The amount of habitat available for tigers–and most other large wild animals–is limited. Preserving the species, even if it’s in captivity, is a worthwhile endeavor. Because a world without tigers, or elephants, or moose, or penguins, or hell, even Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, is a world that is that much less worth living in as a human.

However, there are a lot of people who just do not know how or what is necessary to take care of giant, obligate carnivore, apex predators. 

THIS FUCKING FALLS UNDER YOU DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE FACILITIES TO CONTAIN THAT ANIMAL and I fucking guarantee you that it isn’t being fed or treated right.

Somebody here deserves to get shot, and it’s not the stripey one.

No more Jaz

The good die young

Paid a visit to the sanctuary today. On the schadenfreude front, there has been 110% staff turnover since I left last year (AHAHAHAHAA), the excess domestic animals have been moved out of the intern house (DEO ME VINDICE), and all feeding of the big cats is done strictly in pairs (HAhaha….ouch.)

On the not so much, several of the cats have passed away. Willie and Stripey, at least, were quite old (both were hitting their 20s, which is about the limit for captive big cats and twice what they’d usually make in the wild), but it was a real shock to find that Jazzy had succumbed to renal failure and died early this year. Jazzy wasn’t even six years old, and she was everybody’s sweetheart. 

Picture taken approximately 30 seconds before she peed in her nice, clean, just-scrubbed pool

Willie, now…

“Willie was weird looking, no one cares about him.” “That’s what everybody says….”