Friday 31 August 2012

Magnificence Is Dead

Last night, as I was watching one of my favourite shows 'Better Homes And Gardens', I was horrified to learn of the death of one of the most magnificent creatures on earth. 

The most magnificent creature to me.

Mohan, the 'King' of Tiger Island at Dreamworld, had passed away at the grand old age of 17.

Now apparently this happened back in June, but we didn't hear anything about it here in Melbourne. Obviously down here, it just wasn't that bigger deal.

But it's a huge deal to me.

Back in 2003, I met Mohan personally. And it was an experience that, to this day, nothing has surpassed.

I had booked in to have a photo taken with the tigers at Dreamworld and I was so excited! I can remember, while my hubby (then boyfriend) and I were standing outside the enclosure with one of the keepers waiting to go in, saying something along the lines of I was going to wet my pants, and the keeper replying "You don't have to be scared." "Who's scared!" I said to him. "I can't wait to get in there! Let me at him!"
I think that might have actually scared the keeper a little bit!

Once I stepped into that enclosure, my life was never the same again.

Lying on a low timber deck, was the most enormous white tiger I had ever seen. And I mean huge! Sure, you see them on television, and at zoos, but it's not until you are standing right next to one, can you fully ascertain the enormity of this creature! Power emanated from every pore, and I went from feeling so confident and excited, to feeling vulnerable and minuscule, in a heartbeat.

His head alone was so big, that I would have had trouble putting my arms around it. Not to mention the fact that my arms would most likely have been ripped from their sockets in seconds, as easily as I could tear strands of cooked spaghetti.

His paws were twice as big as dinner plates, and I imagined him flinging me across the entire enclosure with the slightest little flick of his massive wrist.

His fur was so deliciously soft and the colour of Hokey Pokey icecream. I desperately wanted to throw my arms around him, and lie there with my head resting on his huge frame, but instead I slowly patted him like the keepers showed me, and barraged them with questions.

I needed to know everything about this majestic animal.

Mohan was one of the original Tigers that came to Tiger Island when it opened in 1995. He came to Australia as a young cub from the U.S, and is the father of Rama, Sita, Sultan and Tai, who were all born at Tiger Island in 1998.

At one point, Mohan decided he wasn't comfortable and stood, and I briefly saw a flash of fear in the keepers eyes. They were beside him instantly, urgently telling us to step back, while they got him resettled, and then we were able to move next to him once again. They gave him his favourite little carton of milk, and then he had a little doze while we all talked around him.

I think the whole visit took about fifteen minutes, but for me, it was over in the blink of an eye. As I was led from the enclosure, I looked back at him and we made eye contact. I felt like Mohan looked into my very soul.

Meeting this most awe inspiring being was one of the happiest days of my life. And yesterday, hearing of his death, is one of the saddest. There are no white tigers left in the wild. That makes me feel sick as the words roll off my tongue....White.Tigers.Are.Extinct.In.The.Wild. 

And their orange and black striped family members are not far behind.

Humans. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be one.

There is so much we can do to help, but that is for another post.

For now, I just want to say "Goodbye old boy. Thank you for allowing me to share your space, even just for those few minutes. The tears I cry now may not last forever, but the impact you had on me will. You were, and always will be amazing, and I treasure the way you touched me, and so many others.
May you spend eternity running through the rainforests in the stars, where you will always be magnificent, safe and King. Never forgotten, my wannabe furry headrest. I will always remember the feel of your fur on my hands, and have love for you in my heart. Run free my friend."

Linking up with Grace and the others for FYBF.


  1. What an amazing experience you got to share with this magnificent creature. Wow.

    1. It was amazing! Every minute of it! And I would do it again, and again if I lived closer, and could afford it!

  2. His death made me sad :( I can't believe there are no white tigers left in the wild. It makes me sick. I'm so glad that there are people out there dedicating their life to help these beautiful creatures.

    How lucky you were to spend some time with him! I live in Queensland, and I've been to Dream World a few times, but I've never been to Tiger Island. This post makes me want to go!

    x Jasmine

    1. Oh you must go Jasmine! They are incredible to see, and a lot of money does go to help their preservation in the wild. I spent almost an entire day just at Tiger Island alone, and went through four rolls of film! Obviously that was before digital! :)

  3. Oh, I didn't hear about that either! What a beautiful animal. Great pic with him. x

  4. What a beautiful creature he is. love how he sits and is all "I'm the boss". So sad that he has passed away. I just hope he had the best life he could have had on tiger island.

  5. That is so sad he has passed away. What a wonderful experience it must have been, so majestic and beautiful! And look at you rocking the blonde :)

    1. It was incredible Chantel! I'll never forget it.
      Lol, and thank you! Yes I was blonde for a long time! I've only been a brunette for about eighteen months now. I was a redhead too at one point! :)

  6. Oh, Tracey...what a sad day! That photo is truly amazing. I can't believe there are no more white tigers left in the wild. RIP Mohan.

    1. I am really sad Grace. I can't quite believe how much of an effect he had on me, but every time I used to see him on the TV I would always say to the boys, "There's my boy!" It was that visit that inspired me to start on my wildlife journey. I would give anything to work with animals like that, but I'm happy to help out Aussie wildlife too.
      Obviously with the white tigers being so rare, their pelt is worth so much more. Just heartbreaking :(

  7. This animal is sublime. I wish I had seen him too. Lets hope that we can save the white tigers.
    Love Mumabulous

  8. A truly magnificent creature. It is terribly sad to think there will be no more white tigers...
    I love the photos that you took.
    Ronnie xo


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