Look closely at this tiger photo taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and you’ll discover some of the special characteristics of this magnificent animal — the largest of all cats.
For one thing, you may notice that the tiger’s ears can turn independently of each other, allowing them to pick up sounds from different directions. The ears also have distinctive white circular spots—think eyes in back of their heads to scare off potential predators, according to one theory.
Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 25 will discover even more about tigers and learn about efforts to conserve them as the park celebrates Tiger Day with special activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Families can test their skills at identifying tiger calls, find out where in the world tigers live and how they travel through the forest, and see if they can leap as far as a tiger, among other activities.
Of course, every day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests love seeing our tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where the tigers can enjoy a dip in the water, nap on the grass, and play with a variety of tiger toys. Unlike some other cats, tigers seem to enjoy water and can swim well. They use rivers and lakes to seek relief from the heat and to catch fish.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is helping to conserve tigers. So far, the fund has contributed $1.4 million to projects working to protect tigers and other big cats like lions and leopards. Last year, for example the DWCF provided funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society to help the government of Thailand train and equip park rangers to reduce the threat of poaching and wildlife trade for tigers and other forest wildlife in that country.
More tiger fun facts:
- Did you know that a tiger’s stripes help it hunt? The stripes break up their outline, helping tigers to remain undetected as they close in on their prey in their forest homes. And not only is a tiger’s fur striped, but its skin underneath is too.
- During the day tigers can see about as well as humans, but their night vision is six times more powerful.
- Tigers use their whiskers as “feelers,” helping these large cats to navigate their way through dark and heavily wooded areas.