In April For Tigers once again visited the two facilities holding the tigers from Tiger Temple. For both facilities we provided some extra food in the form of chicken and pork just to give the tigers that little bit extra.
The tigers themselves were, in general, in much better health with fewer tigers showing the same breathing problem issues that had been prevalent on previous visits. However, the actual living conditions are still lacking.
With this in mind, we discussed the option of upgrading twenty of the current cages to include more enrichment items and a better internal environment. At this time, the positioning of the remaining cages do not allow for enclosures to be built easily so we are now going to focus on the cages themselves. After all, the tigers spend all their time in them and need something a little extra in order to help keep them active and to encourage species-specific behaviours.
Ten cages in each facility had already been upgraded by Four Paws who included a much higher, wooden-topped platform and a hanging log in the centre of each cage. One of the cages also had a sandpit incorporated. Unfortunately, the materials were not the strongest and because the tigers enjoyed these items, two years on they are already destroyed.
Therefore we are going to redo ten of the cages and upgrade an additional ten - all in the one facility for the time being. This decision was made as the cages in question are all ones with unnatural substrate - concrete flooring.
The agreed upon plan will be to rebuild stronger tall platforms in the original ten cages and brand new platforms in the additional ten cages. Sand pits will be built using cement (this way there's no chance of the wood rotting away) in all twenty of the cages so that the tigers have a more appropriate substrate to walk on. This decision was reached after chats with the head keeper and one of the vets who mentioned that the tigers liked to sleep on the high platforms, not to mention it makes them jump and helps to give them some exercise in this small space.
At this time we are still trying to get together a breakdown of costs for these initial improvements and will begin fundraising towards these in the near future.