Aug 23

Bala and Bhutan Celebrate Birthdays at Busch Gardens

Bala blows out her birthday candles at Busch Gardens Tampa!

Happy Birthday Bala and Bhutan! You’re finally 6! It’s hard to believe that these two tigers moved to Busch Gardens when they were only 6 months old. Renowned by guests as two of our sassiest tigers, they are without a doubt crowd favorites.

So how could we let the day pass without acknowledging their advancement in age and maturity? Ok, so they haven’t adjusted their attitudes; they’re tigers after all, so let’s be realistic! But their birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity to shower them with cake, streamers, and presents. Some of our dedicated camp counselors worked for days to build tiger gifts out of cardboard boxes and paper mache.

We filled the cakes and boxes with the tiger version of celebratory treats including meat, perfumes, and stinky spices! After the habitat was decorated, guests looked on as the cats hustled into the yard to explore. Two of our white tigers, Lanie and King, were lucky enough to partake in the festivities since they live with Bala and Bhutan.

These two sibling pairs were introduced when Bala and Bhutan arrived at the park over five years ago, and have remained a social group since. Even though tigers are solitary in the wild, they tend to get along just fine when they are introduced at an early age. However, Bala is notorious for not being a very good sharer, so she was quick to set a couple of gifts aside for herself!

We may have thrown a birthday party for tigers, but the aftermath was comparable to that of a group of 6 year old children. There were party favors everywhere, and it looked as though Bala may have tried to drown a few of her gifts. But just like every loving parent, the clean-up paled in comparison to our excitement for next year’s celebration. As keepers, we have been so lucky to watch our youngest and most dynamic group of tigers grow into beautiful adults!