This blog is in memoriam of Tigger, our Siberian tiger. She spent her entire seventeen years at the Hattiesburg zoo, and in her time here, she had a profound impact on so many people! The guests loved her, and the keepers love to see the guests’ affection for her, like the little girl who brings her toy tiger with her every time she comes to see her, and the family who brought flowers for her after they heard she passed. But there’s a lot about Tigger that only an employee could possibly know. The staff was asked to share some of their favorite Tigger traits and moments, so here are just of few of the memories that they came up.
TIgger wasn’t a complicated girl, in fact, one of her favorite toys was a simple card board box. She loved to tear them up and drag them around her exhibit, she got excited every time she saw her keepers coming with one. As she got older, the keepers enjoyed watching her eyes light up and see her inner-kitten coming out of her again. She loved when toys were thrown into her pool and would run and jump in to get them. She enjoyed standing under the jet as her pool filled for a lovely morning massage during the summer months.
She didn’t need a toy to have fun though. Tigger enjoyed playing with her keepers as well. It brought a smile to every keepers face to walk around the corner and see her crouched down and waiting for you. If you crouched down with her, then ran towards her, she would bounce up and run away playfully. Then she would immediately come over to you and rub against the fence lovingly. She would often run and chase keepers, and even golf carts, along the fence all around her exhibit.
Above all, she loved everyone, whether you were her personal keeper or not, and she would always let you know. Everyone’s favorite sound was the sound of Tigger chuffing. A chuff is one of the best compliments you can get from a tiger. It’s a friendly, happy sound, equivalent to a purr from your house cat. In the mornings when the keepers do health checks on all the animals, Tigger would roll on her back, tossing her head back towards you and chuff as a happy “Good Morning”.
Though these are just a few simple memories of ours shared with you, we encourage you to share with us some of your fondest moments of Tigger. As one of the most beloved animals, we will all sorely miss her, though she will always remain with us as the motif of the Hattiesburg Zoo.