Besides pets, there is another group of animals where it is unavoidable that they learn how to talk: in zoos, reservates or captivity.
A visit to the famous tiger reservate is very different now. This is one of the few places where you are actually allowed to converse with animals directly, albeit at a safe distance. Since this is a place where you can ‘feed’ the animals by choosing to purchase a certain type of prey, this requires a negotiation with the tigers.
At the entrance, the sign with disclaimers is updated to contain a few new things:
- We try to have a wide variety of tigers with different preferences available. Guests are still allowed to feed the tigers, but it is impossible to guarantee that you can purchase the prey of your choice.
- We advise our guests to wear the provided noise-cancellation earphones to put all focus on the tigers. We provide noise-proof facilities wherever reasonably possible since we are unable to control everything the tigers say. Anything you hear because of not wearing earphones is your own responsibility.
- It is explicitly forbidden to communicate with the tigers in any way possible. Any written signs or smartphones will be collected at the entrance. Speech or text on clothing needs to be covered.
- Our employees communicate with tigers for general or research purposes. We welcome any suitable questions from the public which you can provide in written form to our staff.
Getting into the car, you wonder what kind of questions have been asked before. An employee gives you a little brochure with more information. Inside, the contents mention a few interesting questions:
Q: How do tigers use speech when hunting?
A: According to our observations and research, most tigers use it to intimidate their prey. They seem to understand that whispering and shouting has different effects. Since the prey cannot talk, it is a one-sided conversation.
Q: Do tigers tend to pronounce words that contain an ‘r’ better?
A: We hear that our tigers indeed tend to emphasize the ‘r’ within a word. However, if a word contains more than 1 ‘r’, they will only focus on one of them.
Q: Which type of prey do tigers prefer?
A: Among the choices that we provide (rooster, sheep, cow) we do see most tigers preferring the larger prey. However, some tigers told us they like to eat roosters because of their feathers’ texture and the fact that the little bones are easier to crack and provide a crunchier texture.