Tabby tiger born at Horseshoe Creek in Polk Co.

Last Edited: Friday, 09 Mar 2007, 7:41 PM EST
Created: Friday, 09 Mar 2007, 6:54 PM EST

DAVENPORT – Sounds of life fill the air at Horseshoe Creek Wildlife Foundation. Spring is dawning, and that means babies being born.

All the births are a joy for Horseshoe Creek founder Darryl Atkinson.

“It’s like being a father all over again. I can’t explain — they are my children,” Atkinson said.

He is especially thrilled by the recent birth of a tabby tiger.

Regular bengals have black stripes.

Tabbies don’t.

Every time a new one is born, the species has a better chance of survival.

There are fewer than seventy tabbies left in the world, and they all live in captivity.

The last tabbies living in the wild were in India. In 1932, hunters killed them.

Horseshoe Creek is one of a handful of places in the United States trying to breed tabbys.

Over the last few years, it has brought five into the world.

This time, thanks to Kirtie, the baby’s tabby’s mom, and Mathatma, her traditional Bengal dad.

Even though the future of tabbys is hanging in the balance, they’re not the only ones in danger.

All tigers are.

There are only 7,000 left.

The numbers are dropping quickly through poaching and loss of habitat. In the next twenty years, tigers could be extinct in the wild.

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