The Tigers Who Came To Sea

My daughter loves animals. So much so, I think she’s going to work with them when she is all grown up. She takes a lot of inspiration from the Island, and in particular the Isle of Wight Zoo. We both got very excited recently when we heard that some new tigers were coming to the Isle of Wight to stay, permanently. 

Charlotte Corney, former private owner of the Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown, who now heads up The Wildheart Trust that funds its long term future, has recently taken in five ex-circus tigers. The tigers led a fairly desperate life in a travelling circus in Spain, and have recently been let go by the circus. Unfortunately some were badly treated and had injuries, but after intensive care and rest all five have made their final journey to retire on the Isle of Wight.

My daughter and I excitedly visited the zoo and were not disappointed. It was so nice to see the tigers playing in their specially constructed enclosures with great enrichment toys and water to have fun in. Of course, like domestic cats, tigers sleep for longer than teenagers, as well as patrolling their territory. There’s a nice bit of the zoo where you can go inside and look through little windows into the enclosures, where we were lucky enough to see one of the tigers come up to us, nose-to-nose, teeth-to-teeth, whiskers-to-whiskers (yes, at my age I do have whiskers) — awesome!

It’s still incredible to me that Charlotte and her father once walked tigers on the beach opposite the zoo. Over the years many of the original tigers have passed on, so it’s positive to know a new generation can enjoy five new stripy cats. So what are you waiting for? When you’re on holiday I suggest you visit the Isle of Wight Zoo and meet Mondo, Girona, Natasha, Zoppa and Antonella. And then after, stay for tea (and cake).

There’s a great video from the BBC about the Spanish Circus Tigers here: 

To donate to The Wildheart Trust charity and help raise funds to help more tigers in need then visit: www.justgiving.com/wildheart-foundation

Philip Bell Author Photo by Chris Cowley

6 August 2018

By Philip Bell in The locals' blogs

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