Tigers draw crowd at county fair
BY CATHARINE HADLEY
July 24, 2009
Hundreds pack into bleachers
For Information About White Tigers Visit: http://bigcatrescue.org/cats/wild/white_tigers.htm
SALEM TOWNSHIP — The tiger show at the Ottawa County Fair has proved to be a crowd favorite.
Hundreds of people packed the bleachers in front of the small fenced-in arena Wednesday and Thursday to see Floridian Clayton Rosaire and his four tigers in their daily shows.
The tigers and a lion and a liger spend most of their day in cages on a truck trailer, surrounded by fencing.
During the shows, Rosaire brings Noelle, Kira, Samson and Conan into the arena, where they entertain, educate and thrill the crowd.
Children laughed as Conan, a 750-pound tiger, acted too lazy to respond to Rosaire’s commands to get moving. Another tiger gave the trainer a kiss, while a third acted fierce and walked backward on its hind legs.
Samson, a white tiger, wowed the crowd by sitting up on a rotating pedestal.
During the presentation, the trainer educated the crowd about tigers’ habits and the dangers of private owners keeping big cats. His family owns the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota, Fla., where they have rescued 40 big cats.
“Out of all of them, Conan is the only one I can feed a piece of raw meat out of my bare hand. It’s like feeding a crocodile. It’s really dumb,” Rosaire said.
Conan took his snack and waved good-bye to the crowd –with his tail.
Before one of the shows, Rosaire said he’s been working with animals “my whole life. I’m in the ninth generation of my family to work with animals.”
Crowds are always surprised by the size of the animals.
“They don’t realize how big they are. They look a lot smaller on TV,” he said.
The cats eat between five and 15 pounds of meat each day.
He said he travels for a few months each summer, and spends most of the year at the Florida sanctuary.
Showtimes are 2, 4 and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday. The free show lasts about 30 minutes. Photos with Samson and souvenirs are available.
In Your Voice – Read reactions to this story
It is very angering and sad to see these beautiful majestic cats degraded, abused and exploited. They are forced to perform useless “tricks” and are traveling around the country, where as it states in the article, they “spend most of their day in cages on a truck trailer, surrounded by fencing.” These so called “educational shows” are nothing more than a way to disguise the fact that these cats are being used for the purpose of entertainment and monetary gain. A true sanctuary would not abuse these tigers in this or any manner.
7/25/2009 2:43:25 AM
It is hard to believe that in the age of the Internet there are still people so uneducated, or perhaps, still so uncaring, that “hundreds” would come to see a man act abusively to tigers. All of these charlatans claim that they only train using positive reinforcement, but it is a lie. When the “show must go on” the only reliable way to train is through beating, and domination. If tiger tamers really did only use positive rewards to train they would be holding up treat bags, not whips, to get the cats’ attention. More about circus acts here: Circus is No Fun for the Tigers
7/24/2009 8:52:33 AM