Standing only inches away from a sleeping mother tiger is scary enough. It is even scarier when she decides to play Peek-a-Boo Tiger with you by quickly opening her eye and staring straight into yours. If you don’t walk away from the experience with a soggy underwear, I certainly salute you. But, I almost did.
On the same visit to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo which allowed me, and fellow photographers Joe and Lynne, to take photos of the playful snow leopard cubs I paused at the tiger pen. Pressed against the plexiglass fencing were three sleeping tigers – two cubs and one mother. The mother was the closest to the glass and she was fast asleep at the time I arrived. I took notice of this and tried very much not to startle her as I carefully stepped slowly up to the glass to take a cleaner shot – Robert Cappa would have loved me for that.
I successfully took three or four shots when some kids, who had just finished at the previous exhibit, rushed over to see the tigers near the plexiglass.I was completely lost in my world with the camera to my eye and my focus on what I was framing. The mother tiger on the other hand was not.When the chitter-chatter of the kids grew louder she quickly opened her eyes to see what was going on out through the glass just at the time I snapped the shot shown in this post – “Peek-a-boo Tiger”. Although I kept a very calm and controlled demeanor, the hairs standing on end on my back told a different story. I went on to take another three or four shots before the parents finally caught up with their kids and decided to take some shots of them sitting no more than a whisker length away from the tiger.
Walking a way from the tiger pen I was very thankful for whoever created pleixglass, it kept the tigers in and kept me from having to consider wearing adult diapers for subsequent visits. But keep this in mind, though the pleixiglass may protect you from any harm done from the tiger, it will not ultimately protect you if the tiger decides to play peek-a-boo.