I had the opportunity to participate
in a historic zoological event.

In July, 2006, T.I.G.E.R.S
sent seven tigers of varying colors
to a Wildlife Park
near Bangkok, Thailand. This international exchange constitutes the first collection of all four varieties of tiger (standard, royal white, snow white and golden tabby) anywhere in Asia.

Under strict specifications set forth by the U.S. federal government, I designed and built all of the transport cages the animal would be traveling in. This became a lengthy and in depth process. These photos represent just a brief glimpse of the work and effort put forth. All told, the seven cages took more than two and a half months to produce and required:

1,500 lineal feet of steel
40 lbs. of welding wire
504 Bolts, nuts & washers
98 - 2"x6" boards
35 sheets of plywood
3,402 Hand drilled 1" holes

Each cage was equiped with a steel watering bowl, dual doors with a removable shutter system, individual fans and a very large kitty litter tray.

The collective weight (without the tigers) was nearly 2 tons.

 

Not only did I build these super-duty transport cages, I traveled in the cargo plane with 
the tigers from Myrtle Beach to Bangkok. As you can imagine, there are not many direct flight from South Carolina to Thailand, especially with a load such as ours. Our trip actually took us from:

Myrtle Beach, SC
to Atlanta,
to Anchorage, Alaska, 
to Seoul, Korea, 
to Singapore,
to Bangkok.

It was nearly three days before we saw a hotel room.

The tigers, being large cats, slept 90% of the time, comfortable in their over-size kitty carriers.

 

Now you may be wondering why we would take tigers to Thailand.
The answer to that is two-fold.

First, most tigers in the wild are being killed because of their perceived value as traditional Asian medicine and as an aphrodisiac. China consumes the vast majority of these tigers. Thailand, being a close neighbor of China, happens to be the hub of illegal commerce between the Asian countries supplying the dead tigers and the Chinese who are buying their body parts. It is our hope that by educating the public in these places they will understand the importance of the tiger and to refrain from taking part in tiger trade. Currently their are thought to be less than 100 tigers in Thailand. This is an optimistic estimate.

The second reason for taking tigers is the exchange of bloodlines. Unfortunately it appears that the salvation of the tiger is heavily reliant upon captive breeding. This requires a responsible plan for breeding. While we do want to see tigers proliferate and keep a stable population, this is not a puppy mill, and we do not want indiscriminant breeding. We closely monitor and control who breeds with whom in order to ensure a sufficiently deep gene pool.

UPDATE:
Within six months of being at their new home, one of our tigers successfully produced a litter of cubs with one of the Thai tigers.
A great success for international relations.
 


The full steel frame of the first cage.


The assembly line.


The plywood before the 486 ventilation holes were drilled.
Notice the green floor and wall. This is our green screen which we
use for on sight filming. This time it was used as our "factory floor".


Giant kitty litter tray!


A big yawn.


It took two giant trucks and trailers to transport the cages.


 


Loading up in Atlanta


 


In the belly of the Korean Airways 747-400


Unloading at SamutPrakan