GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has two seven week old Bengal tigers that they have recently started allowing the public to play with in what they call “encounters.”
The white tiger is Leonardo, and the orange one is Raphael. The Bengal is one of five species of tigers, all of which are critically endangered.
“Scientists are actually saying in as little as 10 years there won’t be any more left in the wild, only on nature preserves and in zoos,” said Lindsay Ezell, education and outreach manager for the zoo. “So the fact that these tiger cubs are breeding regularly and we get to educate the public about it is a huge force in teaching about conservation.”
The Bengals will be at the zoo until they are about three and a half years old. Then they will go back to the Marcan Tiger Reserve in Florida.
Encounters for children are all booked up, but adults can still call the zoo gift shop to schedule an encounter.