More than 400 visit 5-month-old cub at Bear Path Acres

Published 11:17 am Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chief peers from the side of a pet carrier. Bear Path Acres drew a record one-day crowd for the Siberian-Bengal Tiger’s public debut.-- DON BRIDGERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—A record crowd of more than 400 people visited Bear Path Acres Animal Education Center on Feb. 4 for the debut of its 5-month-old Siberian-Bengal Tiger.

Visitors from as far as Richmond, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Hampton came to see Chief, the newest addition to the center on Route 258 near the North Carolina line.

“I was excited,” said Debbie Jeter, chief executive officer and founder of Bear Path Acres. “That’s the biggest turnout we’ve ever had. To draw that much attention was fantastic.”

When Chief came to the center in early January, he weighed about 50 pounds. He will grow to be 500 to 800 pounds.

Chief came from Michigan, where he was used for promotions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows the practice when animals like Chief are between 8 and 12 weeks old.

Chief was donated to Bear Path Acres. He will be moved into a habitat built for a leopard, and the leopard will be moved into quarters that are under construction.