Tigers on the prowl at fair

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Tiger Talks, a division of Dallas-based Terranova Enterprises, brought the big cats of the jungle to the children of Belmont County during the fair. The show featured several trained tigers ranging from 15 months old to 18 years.

Doug Terranova, owner, spoke about the behavior and habitats of tigers as the trainers directed the performance. A crowd of children from area schools watched.

He said that tigers were normally solitary hunters, but due to factors such as human impact on nature the animals were living together longer in the wild. Likewise, the tigers in the show are trained to work together on their performances.

“We want to inform the kids of our methods and training,” he said, noting the humane, responsible and affectionate treatment.

“It’s very easy to taylor a show for kids.” he said.

He pointed out the different markings and body types of the tigers to tell them apart, adding that a tiger’s pattern of stripes was as distinct as a fingerprint. Terranova also spoke about the influence of the tigers’ personalities in planning the performances, comparing the situation to a classroom were the children are often rambunctious and dislike doing their homework.

The performance was punctuated by an occasional roar that made the audience jump.

There are about 3,200 tigers in the wild. A tiger typically sleeps 18 hours daily.

Terranova said his group travels to various fairs, festivals and circuses. They have also done television and movie work. He added that he was impressed by the fun and family atmosphere at the county fair and hopes to return.

Thanks went to Whiteside as the local corporate sponsor.

Tiger Talks will hold shows Friday, 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 2 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m., and Sunday at half past noon.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com