Poncho the Tiger

At Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, we have around 92 animals at our facility. Almost half of those animals are tigers […]

At Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, we have around 92 animals at our facility. Almost half of those animals are tigers and the rest are bears, African servals, bobcats, cougars, leopards, and hybrids. Today we are going to focus on 1 tiger we have at TCWR. His name is Poncho. Poncho was 1 of the 34 animals we were able to bring back from a roadside zoo in Colorado. The Colorado rescue in 2016 has been the largest big cat rescue so far. We rescued 115 animals from this facility. 

Poncho lives in a habitat with his brother Montana. Throughout time animal behaviors grow and change. The brothers did use to roam in the grassy habitat together. However, fighting between the two got aggressive which ended with them being separated. They now share the grassy habitat every other day. Poncho likes roaming around his grassy habitat and is always excited for his dinner. They are both very vocal cats. One of the ways tigers communicate is through chuffing. A chuff is an air vibration noise that they make, it is a sign of friendliness or endearment among other tigers. When you visit TCWR keep your ears open for that noise, because that noise can be a great memory to take home. 

In the wild, tigers are a dark orange color with black stripes. They are this way for a reason, their dark orange color helps them camouflage with their surroundings to get their prey. The prey that they eat is mainly deer. Deer are red/green color blind which means deer cannot see the color orange either. The dark strips the tigers have is supposed to break up their body to appear smaller instead of the bigger animal they are. 

Have you ever looked at the back of a tigers head and noticed the white spots on their ears? Those white spots are to mimic eyes. To prevent other predators, like tigers, from sneaking up on them, they will twitch their ears. This makes it look like they have eyes moving on the back of their head. Tigers are ambush predators so if they see an eye looking at them, they don’t usually want to pounce.  

Tigers are also on the endangered species list. There are less than 4,000 tigers in the wild today. They are on the endangered list because of many different reasons. A few of these reasons are poaching, deforestation, and agriculture purposes. There are some ways to help this magnificent animal including donating to creditable organizations that will help the tigers like WWF, you can go to their website and sign a pledge, Voice for the Planet (panda.org).  Another way is to visit true sanctuaries, you can visit Find a Wildlife or Animal Sanctuary – GFAS (sanctuaryfederation.org) to find one. Also a way to help is by educating your friends and families about these amazing creatures.  


Tiger | Smithsonian’s National Zoo (si.edu)

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