The tiger is one of the most fearsome predators of the animal kingdom. They can grow to be up to 11 feet long and 850 pounds, making them the largest cat species, and yet they are at grave risk worldwide. Today is International Tiger Day, an initiative begun in 2010 to raise awareness about the tiger’s endangered status. The event’s website claims that the population has dropped from 100,000 to 3,000 since 1913, a 97% decrease, largely due to habitat erosion and poaching.
In honor of International Tiger Day, here are three video examples of people who truly love the species – so much, in fact, that they seem to see them more as house cats than apex predators. These brave souls ignore the fact that tigers kill 85 people every year in India, entering their enclosures to cozy up to them and horse around. With the species so at risk, it’s nice to see, but maybe some love is best shown from a distance. With a fence in between.