The transfer gate slid open like a barn door, and the two tigers stepped out into a covered walkway. Waiting on the other side was the largest expanse of land they’d ever set paw into: 12,000 square feet.
The sisters sniffed at the trees, at the stumps, at the plants. They found a lush patch of grass and rolled on their backs. They crawled up onto the elevated wooden platforms.
“Their minds were completely blown,” says Katherine Birk, lead wildlife caregiver at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. “They had never had a moment where they didn’t have a cage over their head.”
It was a moment five years in the making.