Multiple times over the years I have gone into the Tiger Temple to see him, talk to him, keep telling him I was not going to give up on him because he never gave up on me. It was this tiger that taught me how to be strong in the face of terrible negatives, he taught me how to endure, and he remained so very dignified in that jail cell he spent 5 long years in
This is my beautiful boy Harnfa who I helped raise. When I say “my boy” Harnfa was raised by a few people in the early days, so he is also their boy too.
Harn and I were very close, I would rarely leave him and shared many conversations with him. Harnfa knew all my secrets as I had no one I could talk to, he would place his big paw on me when I cried silently and tears falling down my face. Multiple times over the years I have gone into the tiger temple to see him, talk to him, keep telling him I was not going to give up on him because he never gave up on me. It was this tiger that taught me how to be strong in the face of terrible negatives, he taught me how to endure, and he remained so very dignified in that jail cell he spent 5 long years in. A strong loyal boy who could easily recognise the good from the bad. He loved me so much and he showed it in so many ways. When I would be sitting beside him at his cage talking with him, if he saw someone “bad” coming near, he would stand his ground and at times swipe at them if they came near to me. Other times, If he was walking beside me and he saw a “bad”person coming, he would suddenly move forward and stand in front of me, blocking me from that person. When his beloved Darika was lost to the wildlife trade, the lovely female he thought of as his mother, he cried, I wiped his tears away and tried my hardest to comfort him. Yes, tigers cry, they feel. I filmed that moment, one I have never shown to the world, one that I will share one day soon.
He could identify every one of the bad and he would stare them down . I would feel him begin to tense up and I placed my hand on his lovely head and say “shhhh boy, its ok harn. He would soften a litte, but never took his eyes off that person until they were gone.
He would then relax again and move back beside me, unblocking me from the potential danger he felt was present.
This is the tiger that I had to hide inside the inner section of his cage for a night after another wild cat of some kind stalked me in the dark. It was Harn who warned me the cat was there, the only place of reasonable safety near me was Harnfa’s inner cage section. A place he could easily reach me. He could have taken my life easily that night, but instead he watched over me. I was too scared to leave his cage because I didnt know what type of cat was out there or if it was gone. There was no choice, I had to stay with him.
I decided that if I was going to perish it would be by my beloved boy.
Exhausted, I fell asleep, I cant even remember falling asleep, but I do remember waking the next morning, opening my eyes, and there watching me gently was this beautiful tiger with the most extraordinary sunset and aqua eyes, his big paw touching my leg as he always did. He lowered his loving eyes and chuffed softly at me. He saved my life, I owed him everything, I promised him I would never stop. He looked at me as if to say, “I know you will try hard” but then he looked up into the morning sky as the wind slowly blew across his face making his whiskers flicker in the wind. His expression changed to a far away stare, there was sorrow in his expression.
When I saw that, I felt, he was so willing to comfort and protect and love me, but he had sensed the unknowing fear I had of how I could actually protect him. But he would look back at me again gently and chuff again. He loved his face to be stroked…… I look at my hands, knowing that he is now not far from my reach again.
Many times over the years Ive looked at my hands, closed my eyes and remembered the big male tiger who loved me…. I have missed him so much.
Now, it still has not sunk into me what has been achieved, that he actually is now out of harms way, but he is. Maybe its because I’ve got so used to being “on” constantly for nearly 10 years at the threat of his disappearance and the other beautiful tigers.
The hatred rumors created by some of the tiger temple staff has kept me far apart from my lovely boy. I was not allowed ever to be close to him and always had to view him and talk to him from afar. They hated me so much….. The pain has been immense, separated from the tiger who loved me and who I love so very much.
The monk that was arrested driving the truck with the tiger skins and body parts, ordered that I am not allowed into the temple last year, meaning that I would never ever be able to view my boy from afar ever again.
That was the action that sealed his and TT’s fate. No more chances to change their evil ways. Time was up for TT.
Soon the day is going to come where I will be walking towards my boys enclosure for the first time in nearly 9 years, knowing that he will be there, within my reach once again. I will build back my relationship with him, I will comfort and support him to adjust to his new environment and I will never let him out of my sight or reach ever again.
You will all come on this next part of the journey, so grab hold of your hearts because this will prove for once an all that tigers have memory, feelings, emotions and love.
My beautiful boy, I am only a few breaths away . “There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost, but you’ll never see the end of the road while youre traveling with me, hey now hey now, dont dream its over, hey now hey now” For those of you who do not know what that means, its the song I sang to Harn called “Dont dream its over, by Crowded House.
For those who have never seen this, here is my boy and some of what he endured ~ Sybelle