Nikki the Tiger Won’t be Cougar Bait

August 20, 2008

By Yul

Zookeepers are saying that Nikki, a 370-lb. male Amur tiger at the Erie (Pa.) Zoo, is “too shy” to explore a new $500,000 love nest they’ve constructed. I think he’s just trying to avoid another tiger who’s really a “Cougar.”

Nikki asks, "Where's that old bat?" (Photo Sarah Priestap, Erie Times-News/AP)

Nikki asks, "Where's that old bat?" (Photo - Sarah Priestap, Erie Times-News/AP)

For the past 2 months, 5-year-old Nikki has been frustrating zoo visitors by only poking out his head occasionally in his new digs.

When he agreed to give up his swinging bachelor pad at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago to relocate to Pennsylvania, he probably had no idea they were scheming to mate him with Anna, a 300-lb., 10-year-old, single mother of 3 who left the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn., for the chance to hook up with a young stud like Nikki.

Anna the "Cougar" (Photo - Ryan Randolph, Erie Times-News)

Anna the "Cougar" (Photo - Ryan Randolph, Erie Times-News)

She could be his great-great-great-great-grandmother.

Nikki’s understandably upset about the whole May-December thing and has refused to even meet Anna. During her solitary visits to the new enclosure, the humans are encouraging Anna to leave her scent all over the place, which features high grass, ideal for amorous trysts, a pool, and a romantic waterfall. They’re hoping Nikki will eventually be overcome by lust and join her there.

Nikki, I say stick to your guns and hold out until they provide you a shapely lioness who won’t be putting her teeth in a glass every night.

Out in the wild, you can bet the last thing Nikki would want to become is some old Cougar’s gigolo, so that lifestyle shouldn’t be forced on him in captivity.


Cougars, Stay Away from Chicago

April 21, 2008

By Adele

On April 14, police in the north side of Chicago killed a 122-pound, 2-year-old male cougar in a hail of bullets after they put him in a no-win situation by trapping him in an alley.

The cat might have been an escaped pet, but most likely he had come 1,000 miles from the Black Hills of South Dakota. He crossed several state lines through populated areas where many people reported seeing him, and had managed not to get in trouble with the law until he reached Chicago. Then, as is too often the case in Man vs. Cat, his reward for being a resourceful survivor who wasn’t bothering anyone was a violent death.

Cougars were a threatened species protected by the government. But now they’re crowding each other out of their rapidly-dwindling natural habitat. Young males often roam off in search of territory they can call home before one of the older males kills them or they feel compelled to mate with female relatives. Incest grosses them out.

Animal lovers said the cougar should have been tranquilized and relocated. Others said he needed killing because he was “real close to a grade school” and might have attacked a child, although he hadn’t previously shown any aggression toward humans.

Cougars are misunderstood cats with a bad reputation they don’t deserve. People also call them mountain lions, pumas, or panthers. In 119 years, there have been 108 cougar attacks on people, with only 20 proving fatal. Given a choice, cougars would avoid humans altogether.

Dogs, on the other hand, are reported to kill about 26 people a year in the U.S. alone. But you don’t see the police cornering and shooting them while they’re just going about their business, do you?

So Chicago feels safer because it rid the world of one smart cat who was only hoping to find his place in the world.


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