Visitors swim with tiger cub at Dade City Wild Things - WFLA News Channel 8

Visitors swim with tiger cub at Dade City Wild Things

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DADE CITY, FL (WFLA) - Dade City Wild Things offers their guests a unique experience to swim with a tiger cub!

Dade City Wild Things says tigers are the best swimmers of big cats, as they have webbing between their toes.

Tiger cubs especially love the water. The zoo says when tigers are young they are slowly introduced to the pool where they are easily trained in the water, as they can be manipulated while floating. Training in the water makes them more comfortable with exams and treatments in their adult life.

Guests to the zoo can work with the trainer in the pool to help the tiger learn these lessons.

For Bjorn Lieliensiek, swimming with a tiger cub was the opportunity of a lifetime. Lieliensiek, a visitor from Germany, swam with "Tora" the tiger cub at Dade City Wild Things Tuesday morning.

The non-profit eco-tourism zoo charges $200 for the experience. The money goes to pay for the trainers on hand and the remainder of the money goes back into the program.

Kathy Stearns is the director at Dade City Wild Things, and says despite what some think, the encounter is not dangerous.

"We have full control. It's a training session," said Stearns. "We have full control of the animal. You have two trainers working with them. Two in the water, especially as they age, plus someone taking the pictures."

Lieliensiek says the thirty-minute session was awesome, although he admits, he was apprehensive at first.

"When they told me I could actually come and swim with a tiger, I thought it was a grown up one. I was kind of scared," said Lieliensiek. "When they told me it was a baby, I was cool with that. I really like it. I could stay all day."

See photos of their swim above.

Get more information about the Swim With A Tiger experience at Dade City Wild Things here.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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