Kid’s View: Tigers for Tomorrow

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Visit animals from all over the world and help support their new home at this preserve and education center.

by TRISTAN SNYDER, AGE 14 | photos by Donn Knapp, Sandy Johnson and Tristan Snyder

Do you like animals? I do, especially wild animals that you don’t see every day. Tigers for Tomorrow is a great animal sanctuary you can visit. It is privately owned, accepts donations and takes in animals.

Most of the animals have been rescued for one reason or another. They have a rocky past, were injured or have other disabilities. Sandy Johnson, our tour guide, has worked at Tigers for Tomorrow for eight years, and she talks about the animals like they are family. She explains what types of animals they are and how they came here and tells us about their personalities, even showing us some of their tricks.

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[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]The first two animals my friend Kelsey Durham and I meet are Tootles the camel and Zach the zebra. They came to the sanctuary together and are the best of friends; they make a very cute pair. The next animals we see are birds of prey. None of them can fly because they were injured in accidents, so the sanctuary took them in. The birds often are used for teaching kids in schools about birds of prey.

We see several small animals next. They include tortoises, a grey wolf named Bubba, a mara (large rodent) and cute foxes.

After that, we approach the bigger animals. Sandy takes us over to Cowboy, an older tiger, and tells us a bit about the 31 tigers in the sanctuary. She also tells us they are an endangered species. Ninety-seven percent of wild
tigers have been lost in just over a century, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Then we walk over to Cody the bear, who happens to be the oldest resident. Sandy tells us about him and what the bears do in the winter. They sleep and their heart rates drop. They barely eat at all because they eat before
winter comes. When we walk over to the twin bears, Sandy shows us how they can jump up and give kisses.

Near those bears is a big grizzly named Yonah. He gives kisses, too. Sandy turns on his water hose, and he splashes and bites the water. It was cute to see a big bear cooling off.

Sandy then takes us over to a tiger named Katie, who apparently is the queen around here. Sandy shows us how Katie likes to stalk her and jump at the fence to show she’s caught her. Then she likes applause. Katie is the only animal the sanctuary had to pay for.

We see some other tigers, then Sandy takes us over to three cougar sisters. She explains they can jump 16 feet. We also get to hear them purr; apparently all the cats purr except for lions and tigers.

A lion named Kazuma came from Guatemala. He was taken away from his owners because of animal cruelty. He is very cute; I especially like his name because it reminds me of an anime name.

The sanctuary is on 140 acres of land with 160 animals to see. In the front, there are a couple of wild mustang horses, and a bunch of domestic cats roam the facility. When you’re done, you can look in the gift shop and buy items that
have pictures of the animals on them.

Visiting Tigers for Tomorrow helps the nonprofit organization pay for the things the animals need. The preserve also accepts meat donations since all the animals there eat a lot of meat, especially during winter.

All in all, it was a great experience: I learned some stuff, got to see interesting animals and had a fun time with my friend.

If You Go

GETTING THERE: Tigers for Tomorrow is at  708 County Road 345, Attalla, AL 35954.

HOURS: September – Wed & Thurs, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; October & November – Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

ADMISSION: Adults, $15; Children ages 3-11, $7.50

CONSIDER: A customized birthday package or an environmental education tour for your school or other youth group