WYLIE -- What's better than one tiger baby? Two, of course!
In-Sync Exotics wildlife sanctuary in Wylie welcomed its second tiger cub this year on Thursday night, and the hope is the two will become roommates and playmates as each was left to fend for himself.
You may recall the story of a 3-month-old tiger cub found in a duffel bag near the Texas-Mexico border on April 30, left behind by illegal border-crossers after border patrol agents scared them off. The tiger was taken to a zoo in Brownsville to recuperate, then sent up to In-Sync Exotics. He was given the name Kenobi to match the Star Wars-inspired name of the sanctuary's other cub, Kylo Ren, who was born at the sanctuary in March and basically abandoned by his parents. Their temporary pens are currently facing one another so they can get used to each other before being put together, and with names representing opposing sides of the Force perhaps it's no surprise they've gotten off to a rocky start!
"Kylo Ren appears to be asserting his dominance and telling Kenobi that he was here first, and that's fine," says Angela Culver, In-Sync's media director. "Out in the wild, tigers establish dominance, so it's only natural for that to happen here, as well."
Because the tigers are both young and about the same size, In-Sync is confident they'll (eventually) get along. The plan is to let them assimilate over the next couple weeks while a new enclosure is completed, then move them into it when it's ready--but that plan is flexible.
"We'll just take it at their pace," says Culver. "We'll let them dictate how quickly they're introduced and what their comfort level is."
The cubs are currently being kept in the sanctuary's private veterinary clinic, but visitors can see Kylo Ren when he's taken to a visible playground enclosure each day around 1 p.m. Kenobi will be given a similar routine as he becomes more comfortable with his surroundings. But even if you don't see them, there are still around 70 other animals available to look at! The non-profit sanctuary is open to visitors from Thursdays through Sundays throughout the summer season.