Tiger Farm

By: Jason Davis
By: Jason Davis

Farming is a big business in the Panhandle, and not just crops. Florida is one of the largest beef producing states in the U.S., but there's a farm in Walton County that's raising an unusual herd. In fact, it's not a herd at all.

Just south of the Holmes County line in Walton County you'll find a farm of a different kind.

Mike Ink, a tiger handler, says, "It's a program dedicated to the preservation and protection of the Bengal tiger. It was started by Joseph Marcan, who's a veterinarian that was trained in Germany. About 20 years ago he started a breeding program."

There are about 28 tigers and counting on the 80-acre farm in Walton County. Its newest residents showed up just this week when three cubs were born.

"It’s always good to have a litter born. We had one snow white tiger born and two white Bengal tigers, white with black stripes."

These furry animals can also be seen at show near you very soon. The tiger farm also lends some of its tigers to Zoo World in Panama City Beach, and this spring the big cats will put on their first live show there.

Richard Williams, Zoo World director, says, "No one will be offended by the show because it's just a pure love show. It's a fun show. The animals have fun. They'll run around. They chase what we call a pompom. They play tug of war with it. It's very heart warming.

Bengal tigers are extinct in the wild and every tiger on this preserve was born in captivity.

Bengal tigers are native to India, but many of these will be spending their days on Panama City Beach as part of at Zoo World's white tiger exhibit.


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