LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Sunday, 14 December 2014

What happens to circus tigers when they retire?

Back in October, Alex Lacey, the English star of America's Greatest Show on Earth - the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus - retired the two oldest tigers in his act, the first two he ever trained and which he has worked with for the past 19 years.

On his Facebook page, the trainer paid tribute to the long-serving cats and reveals their future:

"Tara and India will stay with me and live along side their offspring and the other cats that they have have formed family groups with. They will continue to be included in morning practice sessions and keep the next lot of youngsters "in line" that are currently being trained. They will stay with me and receive the very best veterinary care available from Ringlings veterinary team. The best possible diet and the best possible team of animal carers. Tara and India have been replaced with Bella and Suzy who performed for the first time in a live show this evening and were excellent :)))
Bella is India's daughter. 
Thanks for everything my old girls xx"

Alex Lacey and his Gold Clown-winning brother Martin Lacey Junior are probably the two most accomplished big cat trainers in the world.

It was a visit to the Great British Circus, which was run by their father, Martin Lacey, that inspired me to write my book, Circus Mania. For a chapter on Lacey Sr and the truth about how circus tigers are trained, click here to buy Circus Mania from Amazon.

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