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Monday, October 1

Tuffy the Tornado











At the end of August, my Mom and I took my grandsons, Brandon and Jordan to the Killman Zoo, located in Caledonia, Ontario. We had a great time looking at all the animals. We visit the Zoo every other year. My how it had changed this year. The Zoo had expanded and there was a sign that said that it houses the most Big Cats in Ontario. It also houses a lot of other species.
Each time we go, Mom and I always ask the boys what their favorite animal was. Often they each choose a different one. This year, it was unanimous. Both Brandon and Jordan chose Tuffy Tornado as their favorite animal.
Tuffy the Tornado is a female tiger who was born at the Zoo on June 28, 2007. She is a darling. While we were at the Zoo, Mark Killman, who owns the Zoo with his wife, asked if anyone would like to watch him feed Tuffy. Her mother was also born at the zoo. However, Babuska didn't want Tuffy to feed, so Mark had to bottle feed her.
Tuffy got her name because she moves as fast as a tornado and is a very tough little girl. Before she was fed, she ran around between the people and had a great time. She would run at Mark and put her paws around his leg. Finally, he picked her up and gave her some of her bottle. She wrapped her arms around his hands and the bottle during feeding time.
Mark allowed all the kids to pet Tuffy and a few of the adults too. I couldn't resist. When else would I ever have the opportunity to touch a tiger. Her fur was soft and you could tell she was well taken care of.
Mark let Tuffy down to roam. She ran with some of the kids and had a great time. It was like playing with an overgrown kitten. Then she ran and hid in some raspberry bushes. Mark, not wanting her to be scratched, picked her up by the loose fur at the back of her neck - just as Mama tiger would do in the wild. Tuffy liked playing in the raspberry bushes and was perturbed at Mark for removing her from her hiding place. She clamped onto his arm and bit him a good one.
When she bit Mark, I commented to the boys that in the wild Mama tiger would have swatted her with her paw and sent her rolling across the yard. Mark told the boys that I was correct. Mama takes no biting or scratching off the cubs. Tuffy is going to have to learn proper manners and because her mother rejected her, Mark is going to have to be her teacher.
Soon Tuffy was back in her cage and we went on to visit all of the other animals that live at the Zoo. What a wonderful time we had - and a very unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

13 comments:

  1. Mary,

    I so enjoyed reading about your trip to Killman Zoo. And the photo's are great, especially the one of Tuffy the Tornado. What an adorable looking tiger kitten. Of course, the boys would choose her as their favorite. Was she your Mom's favorite as well?

    Thank you for sharing your fun trip to the zoo with us.

    Take care!

    Renie

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  2. What a wonderful treat to get up close and personal with a tiger cub.

    I hope some day they will reintroduce the Cougar into my part of Ontario. I follow with interest all the "siteings" in Eastern North American. Recently, they have been reporting a big black cat around North Bay which some believe is an escaped panther or a panther/cougar cross.

    I have managed to see a Lynx in the wild. What a treat.

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  3. What a wonderful treat to get up close and personal with a tiger cub.

    I hope some day they will reintroduce the Cougar into my part of Ontario. I follow with interest all the "siteings" in Eastern North American. Recently, they have been reporting a big black cat around North Bay which some believe is an escaped panther or a panther/cougar cross.

    I have managed to see a Lynx in the wild. What a treat.

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  4. Mary,

    What a wonderful outing for all of you. Tuffy the Tornado is adorable. I can just imagine how the boys must have enjoyed him. I didn't realize that a tiger's fur would be soft. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day!

    Tina

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  5. Mary,

    What beautiful colors on Tuffy! She's adorable - for now. Within a year, she will still be beautiful, but muscle bound and a creature of awe. I love to watch the big cats - my favorite being the tiger.

    I wonder why her mother wouldn't let her feed???

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  6. Our family likes the cats at the zoo best, too, but we've never been able to pet a tiger!

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  7. Renie,

    Yes, Mom loved Tuffy too. Imagine! She was almost 80 years old and was getting to pet a tiger cub. I think she was just as excited as the boys. By the next time we visit Killman Zoo, Tuffy will be an adult. We saw an adult mountain lion when we were there that was a cub two years ago. The boys couldn't believe how he's grown. From 20 pounds to approximately 200.

    Thanks for dropping by. It's always nice to have you visit.

    Mary

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  8. Pebbles,

    I haven't quite figured out where in Ontario you live, but I do know that cougars have been spotted in this area. Usually they have migrated in search of food. I don't believe cougars are plentiful in Ontario.

    Thanks for letting me know about the black cat that's been spotted. I hadn't heard about that.

    Thanks for visiting.

    Mary

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  9. Tina, Deborah and Willow,

    I'm glad that all of you enjoyed the post and the photos of Tuffy. It was a marvelous experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.

    Tina, I also was surprised that Tuffy's fur was soft. I thought it would be very coarse.

    Deborah,

    Babuska wouldn't feed Tuffy. She was a first time mother and sometimes mothers reject their cubs for some reason. Even Mark Killman wasn't exactly sure why Babuska wouldn't feed Tuffy. However, if she had, we wouldn't have had the marvelous experience. Tuffy is doing great.

    willow,

    It's not many people who get to pet a tiger cub. Those boys will never forget it.

    Thanks everyone for your visits and comments. I enjoy reading each of your blogs and getting to know you.

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  10. Mary, I agree with the others! I loved this story (you wrote it so well!), and I love the photos ;-) What's left to say?

    Thanks for sharing, I've really enjoyed my time here, and thanks for stopping by my blog (Writing the Cyber Highway).

    Oh, I've seen either a black panther or black cougar in the wild when I took an adventure through our own woods. I have other witnesses, so I wasn't just seeing things! They are beautiful, but I never want to be that close again! ha ha!

    Smiles,
    Michele

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  11. Michele,

    I wouldn't want to be that close to a panther in the wild either. All big cats are beautiful, but they are powerful and dangerous. Glad you are safe.

    Take care,
    Mary

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  12. Denise,

    I'm glad you are enjoying my blog as much as I'm enjoying your presence here. Bless you.

    Mary

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