Timid tiger beats fear of heights
Published 23/09/2010 | 14:34
A tiger has beaten his fear of heights.
Tanvir, a four-year-old Bengal tiger, was more scaredy-cat than scary cat as he battled to overcome his acrophobia.
Last year the big male climbed to the top of his 15ft purpose-built climbing frame at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, at Wroxall, north Somerset, and was too frightened to come down for 48 hours.
Eventually hunger forced Tanvir to climb down and he quickly ate a pig's head.
Twelve months later Tanvir appears to have left his fear of heights behind him and can now be seen confidently climbing up and jumping from platforms on climbing frame.
Initially more of a pussy cat than a dangerous striped hunter, Tanvir has grown considerably in size and character in the year since his arrival at the zoo last summer.
A favourite among visitors and staff, Tanvir now weighs in at 170kg - about double the weight of a well-built rugby player - and is set to grow bigger, eating between 3kg and 5kg of meat each day.
Big cat keeper Emma Godsell said: "I've always had a big soft spot for Tanvir, who is a very inquisitive tiger, always on the lookout for attention from visitors.
"We created a huge multi-level climbing structure in his enclosure to keep him active when he first arrived here last year and he promptly climbed up and wouldn't come back down.
"Now he's much more confident in his strength and climbing ability and I can use scent and food enrichment exercises on his tower to keep him physically and mentally stimulated, which he really engages with."