- Belfast Between The Wars
TIGER EASTER GIFT TO BELLEVUE: BELFAST MAN’S PET
Belfast Telegraph, Saturday 11th April 1936
HAD RUN ABOUT LIKE A CAT
AREA WHERE LIONS MAY ROAM
A surprise Easter gift has just reached Bellevue Zoological Gardens from the Federated Malay States. It is a tiger, presented by a Belfast engineer, Mr. J. C. O’Neill. This tiger is unique among tigers, as he has until recently been running about in the compound in complete liberty. Tim, as he is called, played and rolled about like a big, overgrown kitten, but the baby days, even of pet tigers, soon pass, and he was becoming so big and strong that he became a danger to his friends, even in play. Reluctantly Tim had to be put under restraint, and now he has been sent to Bellevue Zoo, where, rather travel-stained and tired, he will soon return to his former playful ways.
Visitors to Bellevue Zoological Gardens this Easter are in for a thrill. A big arena, planted with shrubs and trees, has been fenced with strong meshing, and lions have been liberated to roam, apparently at liberty, within it.
Forest-bred lions have been specially obtained for this purpose, as these animals, contrary to the general belief, are not nearly so dangerous as lions born in captivity. In a wild state they quickly learn to fear man, but in the zoo they have nothing to fear, and as a consequence, are extremely difficult to handle.
This is the ideal way of keeping lions in a zoo, and although they appear in complete liberty, they are perfectly secure, as the fencing is 16 feet in height, and lions can only leap upward for a distance of 12 feet. The fencing, too, has been sunk three feet below the ground level to prevent any possibility of the lions digging their way to freedom.
Find out more about the history of Belfast Zoo here.