Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Semblance of Sanity....TIGERS!

"If you win a rat race, if you come in first place, than a rat is all you will be"
~The Clockwise Witness, Devotchka~

So really quick before I type this up, I got to say one thing.
I AM ____________________       ____________________(fill in the blank)
the end

So then, I want to talk a little about my recent adventures with Joe Exotic, and the GW Exotic Animal Park.  Oh how I miss it.

In previous posts I have said a little bit on how I got into what I was doing, and said a little on what I was doing.
Tonight, I am just going to ramble about it some more.  If you have questions I can answer just about anything you want to know.  I learned more in the short time I was there about myself, and about my passions, than I learned throughout my entire life.  I am not lying if when I say that this truly changed my life.

I saw my life take a turn for the best when I joined this crew.  It was the first time since I was young that I knew what I wanted to do.  I honestly can say that working with tigers reminded me that my childhood innocence was not as farfetched as the world would have me believe.  I know now, that I can, and will work with tigers, and any other animals I can for the rest of my life.  It only took leaving home and traveling with them for me to realize, or better, remember that this is what I am meant to do.

While we were in St. Louis Missouri, we had  3 tigers with us, our kangaroo, our lions, Joe's spider monkey, and his olive baboon.  Unfortunately our two play cage tigers; Baby Girl, and Baby Boy, were getting to be to old, and we where going to have to stop doing play cages with them.  Lucky for us babies had been born at the park.  A male and a female set of tigers, and some baby ligers!
Some info on ligers.

  • Mixed
  • Male Lion mated with a female tiger.
  • Amazing patterns in their fur.  I am in love with them.
  • Live shorter life-spans than normal big cats. :(
Now that you know this, you should know that our ligers did not survive.  It was sad, but these things happen.  There was one person on our crew who could not quite handle this, but he is no longer a member of the crew.

Anyways, These babies were the first chance I had to literally watch one grow.  You see, they came to us on the road.  In captivity when cubs are born they are often times taken from their mothers for protection.  The mothers can lose their maternal instincts, and have even been documented to eat their young, so it is much better for us to take them from day one.  It makes me a little sad, but I want to do what is best for the babies futures.
I feel like before I go any further I should clear something up.  I was working with a rescue organization, and we did not breed our animals.  The babies that came out on the road with us were products of rescues.  Their parents were rescued from zoo's and circus's that neglected or abuse them, or from private owners who have bought them thinking they could handle raising an exotic animal.
A couple things to think about:
  1. There are no laws restricting the buying/selling of exotic animals such as tigers or lions at public auctions, or on internet sites similar to ebay.
  2. In the United States it is illegal for us to rehabilitate and release them into the wild.
  3. People can buy these amazing beasts for next to nothing(so they are constantly coming into captivity) but we are not able to release them.  We have to take care of them for the rest of their captive lives.  Often times never having known the wild where they are from.
This pisses me off more than a lot of things in life.  Almost to the point of rage, which is very rare for me.

Anyways, I wanted to tell you about the babies.  Our baby tigers survived, and they grew up almost literally in my arms.  I worked with them almost everyday till just before I quit.  And I have to tell you something.  
Tigers = Drugs
 My favorite, and the one I inaccurately call mine was called Edward.  He was a butt-head a lot of the time, but I became most attached to him.  I don't want to sound like I knew more than anybody, I think I could never know as much as some people who were there, but I think that sometimes people connect with certain animals so much more than the bond between lovers.  I feel like he was my closest friend while I was on tour. I loved him.  See, Addicted.

One last thing.  There is one person I trusted more than Katie(the girl I signed on with) and he knows who he is.  I am not sure if that trust is still there.  I still wear the ring he gave me for christmas.  Maybe I am just lost right now...
I mentioned him in an earlier post, but I think I might go erase that.  I don't know yet.

Well, on a final note

I am listening to Empire State of Mind (Part II) sung by Alicia Keys, and am thinking that everyone deserves the right to marry.  "Bright lights will inspire you"


  1. Very nice Travis. I admire this greatly..and I definately agree about your point of the bond between an animal and human can be greater than that between lovers..its true.

  2. Hey Travis it is a shame how we as civil people treat animals. I hope you find peace man and where ever your lost .. know your not alone... Hang in there. Really like your quote and it is up ... Hope you soon get to return to where you were happiest man. So really quick before I type this up, I got to say one thing.
    I AM __strong and awesome person named Travis.__________________ ____________________(fill in the blank)