Eight years ago Ary Marques Borges rescued two tigers from a circus that kept the majestic creatures living under poor conditions.
Now Ary and his family live with seven tigers at their home in Maringa, Brazil. Even though he had no previous experience with big cats, the father of three built an enclosure to properly welcome them to the family.
They may be one of the world’s most dangerous predators, but Ary says that he has never worried about his children’s interactions with the deadly but beautiful beasts.
‘You have to show the animals respect and love, that’s how you get it back from them,’ he explains.
The tigers are often kept on leashes, and Ary’s daughter Uyara shows no fear when feeding, petting or walking them, claiming that ‘their instincts became dormant’ because her family had reared them from a young age.
Twenty-year-old Nayara shares a particularly close bond with a tiger named Tom. In order to help him lose weight, Nayara goes swimming with him in the pool frequently.
‘He associates the pool with me,’ she grins.
But not everybody is comfortable with the presence of the giant cats.
Uyara’s husband Rafael is afraid of the tigers, and believes that it’s only a matter of time before disaster strikes, regardless of the safety precautions.
‘I think her interaction with the animals is dangerous,’ he tells the cameras with a serious look.
But Ary insists that the tigers are totally safe, and plans to open a 40 acre eco-park in the near future so he can give his extended four-legged family more room to run around and live happy lives.
Is Ary doing the right thing? Comment below to let us know what you think!