Making The World Aware of the Plight of the World's Greatest Cats and Their Fight to Prevent Extinction
Here are some facts about Amur tigers found at www.lpzoo.com.
• Length: 8 to 10 feet
• Weight: 500 to 700 pounds, males larger
• Habitat: Wooded and mountain areas in eastern Russia
Food: Carnivorous, eat whatever they can catch
Potter Park Zoo hours Spring hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through May 27
Where: 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing
On the Web • Potter Park Zoo
April 04, 2005 — By Reuters
Concerned over the fast dwindling tiger population, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month ordered a police investigation and formed a new taskforce to stem the rapid fall in the number of the endangered species.
"We have suspended the chief wildlife warden and seven other forest department employees posted in Sariska," L. N. Dave, minister for forest and environment in Rajasthan, told Reuters.
The officials were suspended after an inquiry found them guilty of negligence of duty, he said.
Wildlife activists say tigers may have been wiped out entirely in the Sariska sanctuary -- where the Project Tiger conservation programme began in 1973 and where there were as many as 16-18 big cats a year ago.
They fear the story may be the same in sanctuaries across India, which has almost half the world's surviving tigers.
Dave said though 25-28 tigers were spotted during a census in Sariska in 2003 but since then no tigers have been spotted in the sanctuary.
Killing of tigers, although banned in India, has been going on under cover as a single one can fetch up to $50,000 on the international market.
A century ago, there were an estimated 40,000 tigers in India. Now, some wildlife experts say there are barely 2,000 and the official government census about 3,700.
Exact figures are almost impossible because of the shy nature of the big cats.
BETSY TAYLORIn our quest to provide news pertaining to the big cats, here is a place that we were told about in eastern Missouri that provides a bed and breakfast experience like no other...
Since Chardonel grapes were first planted at Crown Valley Winery in 1998, it has become a regional attraction with more than 32,000 wine tastings recorded last year, said operations manager Bryan Siddle.
"A lot of wineries have bed-and-breakfasts. The tigers are the unusual part of the equation," said Christopher Ruess, Crown Valley's marketing director.
Down in Florida, in Tampa, Big Cat Rescue has a similar program, with a cottage in the middle of the sanctuary, nestled among the big cast. They even allow one of the endangered species, a snow leopard, or other similar cat, to spend the night with you! Don't worry, though, the ones they select to join the overnight guests are guaranteed not to EAT you in the middle of the night.
But in Missouri, many folks are wondering how a litter of tigers, one of them a white tiger, wound up in mid-Missouri.
Judy McGee and Keith Kinkade have cared for the tigers after they helped rescue them from a neglectful owner in Chicago in 2000. The animals would not survive in the wild, Crown Valley employees explained.
DePaul University in Chicago bought the 55-acre tiger habitat in 2002 with plans to develop it as an environmental field campus in Ste. Genevieve, about 375 miles southwest of the Windy City. The school decided instead to sell the property last year.
McGee and Kinkade stayed on to care for the cats and considered opening their own bed-and-breakfast, but the property ultimately was bought by Joe Scott Sr. and his wife Loretta, whose more than 8,000-acre winery down the road also boasts herds of cattle and bison. The Lorettas also own a golf course, two lodgings and three antique malls in eastern Missouri.
The Scotts used their new property to create Crown Ridge, a bed-and-breakfast property with a restaurant and five big-cat stars, named Dee, Max, Paul, T.J. and Vincent.
McGee and Kinkade live adjacent to the tigers' fenced-in habitat. Their home has an up-close, reinforced view of their charges, a "tiger place" rather than a fire place, Ruess explained.
Visitors to Crown Ridge can pay to see the tigers' fenced-in habitat - from a basic tour to see the animals for $8 an adult and $4 a child to a $75-per-person "behind-the-scenes" option in which guests can feed the tigers, if it's their regular feeding time.
Efforts to educate visitors include a colorful, detailed brochure about the animals' endangered status.
However, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has raised concerns, saying these animals, and others, should not be viewed for commercial purposes. Also, PETA spokeswoman Lisa Wathne said in a telephone interview from her office in Seattle, places like Crown Ridge could lead others to seek out exotic animals of their own. Wathne said Crown Ridge has extended her an invitation to see the tigers, but she has not been in Missouri to be able to do so.
Siddle noted McKee and Kinkade have cared for the tigers for years, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said their nonprofit had been issued the proper permit, which is granted based on inspections.
Visitors can now stay at the property, in an area dotted with farms and vistas of the surrounding hillsides. Both the Tiger View Lodge and the Tiger Den have three bedrooms each and share a small swimming pool and tennis court. Prices begin at $170 a room to $680 to rent out the entire lodge house, the more expensive of the two properties. Crown Ridge is about an hour's drive south of St. Louis.
If individual rooms are rented out, visitors share the common areas, including tiger-striped furniture and a game room with a pool table.
Visitors can opt to tour Crown Valley's 44,000 square-foot winery, about seven miles down the road from Crown Ridge, or visit four other wineries in the area. Tastings are available at Crown Ridge for $5 to sample seven wines.
Disclaimer:The opinions expressed in this or any of our columns represent the opinions of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Magic Web Channel or it's Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors. (The lawyers made us say that.)
Main Store | Visit
Steve's Website |Contact
Buy Steve Dacri items
Contact our webmaster for any questions or problems with this site.