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.