Meet The Family Who Share Their Home With Seven Pet TIGERS
He lets the seven tigers live in his house, swim in his pool and even give his baby granddaughter rides on their back.
And now Brazilian tiger-lover Ary Borges wants to build an eco-park at his home in Maringa, near Sao Paulo, for the giant predators.
The father-of-three refuses to accept being so close to the 35-stone animals is dangerous and insists if he gives them respect, they will respond.
Borges rescued two tigers from a circus eight years ago and built a sanctuary in his garden before launching a breeding programme. He was forced to call an end to it when the authorities realised he was breeding the big cats without a permit.
Borges, 43, said: ‘I was never worried about my daughters co-existing with these animals.
‘You have to show the animals respect and love – that’s how you get it back from them.’
He and his daughters Nayara, 20, Uyara, 23, and Deusanira, 24, walk the tigers on leads and feed meat directly into their mouths. They even allow them into their kitchen during mealtime and let them lounge around the house.
Incredibly, Uraya, who also works as a dog trainer, is happy for daughter Rayara to interact with the massive predators with minimal safety precautions.
She said: ‘Rayara loves playing with the tigers – she sees my dad interacting with them and she goes crazy.
‘But it’s safe. I would never expose her to a dangerous situation.
‘Every day since they were born we have taken care of them and fed them so their instincts become dormant.
‘They are part of the family. I can’t imagine life without them.’ Nayara regularly takes a dip with 35-stone tiger, Tom, clinging to his back as he paddles through the water.
She said: ‘I swim with Tom three times per week to help keep him in shape.
‘He wouldn’t get in the water with anyone else now – he associates the pool with me.’
Despite having no training in animal handling, Borges began to breed tigers at his property to secure their survival.
He hoped to boost their numbers to counteract the worldwide decimation of the species, and one day release captive tigers back into the wild. But he was later forced to discontinue a breeding program after officials told him he needed a permit.
Now he plans to open a 40-acre ecopark in Maringa where his animals can roam free.
But not everyone in the family is happy about being in such close proximity to the lethal carnivores.
Uyara’s husband, Rafael, worries that his daughter is being put in harm’s way.
He said: ‘I think her interaction with the animals is dangerous, they can be lethal.
‘I’m very afraid, I try to avoid any sort of contact as much as I can. I’d prefer her to be more distant from them too.’
Borges hopes to get permission to build his park to educate people about the plight of endangered tigers in the wild.
He said: ‘Today tigers are worth more dead than alive.
‘The claws are used to make lucky charms, the penis is used as an aphrodisiac and in China they use the bones to make wine.
‘I want to own an eco park that focuses on always bettering the lives of these animals – I have a soft spot for tigers.’