She didn't get its name, sex or age. But sophomore Jessica Tsay found this adult Bengal tiger cuddly, cute and lovable.
"It wasn't scary at all," said Tsay, a mechanical engineeering major who visited Asia with her family during IAP. "The tiger was pretty friendly. You can pet it and stuff." The photograph was taken by Tsay's mother, Rita Tsay, at the National Cultural and Wildlife Center in Pattaya, Thailand on Jan. 13.
A typical mature female Bengal is eight to eight and a half feet long and weighs 355 pounds; males are eight and a half to 10 feet and weigh 570 pounds.
Tsay, who loves animals but does not have a pet, was overwhelmed by the wildlife in Asia.
"You can ride elephants and tigers bareback, and take pictures with monkeys and cheetahs," she said. "We see two tigers in a zoo here in America and everyone's oohing and ahhing--it's a spectacle. In the zoos in Thailand, there are more than 40 tigers in one area, and more than 100 crocodiles just hangin' out in the shade. It's awesome."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 6, 2002.