It’s an unfortunate reality that many people across the globe insist on owning exotic pets. Instead of viewing these creatures as wild animals who should be free to roam their natural habitats, these owners will treat them far closer to your average dog or house cat… often with disastrous results.
One exotic pet owner in Brazil, however, is garnering some controversy for more than just owning a number of wild animals. Though he sees no problem with it, it’s what this man lets these dangerous creatures do around his family that’s really got people riled up…
It’s generally accepted that tigers are dangerous animals that shouldn’t be trifled with. They’re predators, after all, and even though they won’t go out of their way to attack humans, they can easily tear someone to shreds. But just try and tell Aryas Borges that…
Aryas, a resident of Maringa, Brazil, is a huge fan of tigers. It all started back in 2005, when he rescued two tigers from a circus where they were supposedly being horribly abused.
Many circuses have a controversial history with animals, so in many ways, Aryas truly saved their lives. Over the years, he rescued more tigers, and he ultimately made room for seven of them on his property. That was only part of the story, however…
Although Aryas built a large enclosure for the tigers in the back yard of his home, he soon started allowing the enormous—and dangerous—big cats inside his house… and around his family.
Despite the dangers, this never alarmed Aryas’ three daughters, Deusanira, Uyara, and Nayara, who were all in their twenties. They became accustomed to living with the tigers from the very first day that their father welcomed these exotic pets.
In fact, despite what some say is negligent and risky, Aryas trusts the tigers to get along with his entire family—including his young granddaughters. “I was never worried about my daughters co-existing with these animals,” Aryas said.
For Aryas, having a good relationship with tigers, like any other animal, all came down to one simple principle: “You have to show the animals respect and love,” he said. “That’s how you get it back from them.”
Indeed, not only did this family keep tigers in their home much in the same way that other people would care for dogs and cats, but they didn’t seem to show any fear whatsoever!
That’s not to say that the Borges family wasn’t taking huge risks every day for the sake of owning such exotic pets. Tigers are not domesticated, and therefore they’re difficult to predict—even with humans who trust them.
Even though most experts—and just about everyone with any common sense, for that matter—thought that this lifestyle was extremely ill-advised, the family has managed to ignore most of the criticism so far…
For instance, Uyara fully supported her family’s decision to keep the tigers. After all, she had a special relationship with them since she was very young, doing many of the activities that any other pet owner would for more conventional pets… just on a much larger scale!
For her part, Uyara believed love and attention were key. “Ever since the tigers were born, we have taken care of them, feeding them, so their instincts became dormant,” she said of the tigers’ relatively docile nature.
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Nayara, who was Aryas’ youngest daughter, also had a unique relationship with the animals—especially with one tiger in particular named Tom. “I get in the pool and swim with Tom three times a week to keep his training,” she explained.
Not everyone was thrilled with Aryas’ choice of pets, however. Rafael, Uyara’s husband, quite understandably feared the animals—not just for his own safety, but for that of his children.
Rafael wasn’t shy about expressing his feelings toward his wife’s side of the family and their choice of pets. “I think her interaction with the animals is dangerous,” he explained in an interview.
Uyara felt differently, however, and she continued to allow their children to play with the tigers, even though Rafael expressed his wishes for her to “be a little more distant from them.”
Despite the criticisms, Aryas had no plans to end his special relationship with tigers anytime soon. In fact, he intended to open a 40-acre park in his hometown of Maringa just for the big cats to run around freely!
Even with that ambitious plan in place, Aryas remained committed to the tigers that he considered part of his family. “For us, it’s natural to have them around all the time, you know?”
Aryas believed that the current relationship he had with his tigers was altruistic in nature. “We believe the work we’re doing to help the animals is a noble cause,” he said. “It will happen, unless God doesn’t want it to.”
Whether you think the Borges family’s relationship with these tigers is absolutely adorable or horrifyingly irresponsible, it’s difficult to look away from this unique family when you see them alongside their unusual pets!
The Borges family seems like they’ve been okay for quite some time, so hopefully they’ll continue to be careful. When it comes to wild animals, safety must always be a priority!
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