Tigers for Tomorrow:
An Alabama Wild Animal Preserve
Address: 708 Co Rd 345, Attalla, AL 35954
Phone: (256) 524-4150
January & February Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm
March – November Friday-Sunday 9am-5pm
Did you know that nestled in the Appalachian foothills north of the town of Attalla, about 75 miles southeast of Huntsville, there is a non-profit tiger preserve and rescue? Tigers for Tomorrow is located on Untamed Mountain and is home to 170 different animals. While the preserve was started for big cats, it now contains lions, tigers, bears (and more) … oh my!
During my visit to Tigers for Tomorrow I had the pleasure of walking around with the founder, Sue Steffens. Sue is a passionate animal lover who never expected her journey to include saving tigers, yet 23 years and counting that is exactly what she does. In 1990 she started working with an animal media agency out of Manhattan and they had a sister sanctuary where she would work on her days off. After nine years she moved to Florida and met her mentor who taught her all about the psychology behind predators and she grew to be in love with big cats.
After she moved on from her mentor’s facility in Florida Sue decided to start her own preserve, which took her three years to secure a property. While all of the board members she recruited at the time went their own ways, saying that her preserve was “never going to happen,” Sue never gave up. She eventually secured 40 acres in Fort Pierce, Florida but after being hit with four hurricanes decided to move Tigers for Tomorrow.
Sue found the area that Tigers for Tomorrow currently resides in and was excited to have a location outside of the Birmingham and Huntsville areas to share environmental conservation with the community. Tigers for Tomorrow started with 30 animals and 18 years later has 170 animals. When I asked Sue how she came across the animals that live at Tigers for Tomorrow she was firm in saying they don’t like to dwell on the stories of the animals past. Tigers for Tomorrow focuses on the future of the animals, as it is their forever home. After walking around for a while, I did get to hear some stories of the animal’s backgrounds, such as zoos not wanting them anymore if they weren’t 100 % healthy, or states that changed laws about owning certain types of animals.
Like many people, I was a bit hesitant about going to a facility and seeing how wild animals were living in caged areas. I am so glad that I went and got to walk around with Sue, because I could tell how much her and her staff love the animals and work day and night to keep them safe, healthy and happy. They have personal relationships with all the animals and she tries to keep the same staff to limit stress on the animals of having to learn new people. Tigers for Tomorrow is very big on respecting the animals and does not tolerate people taunting or messing with them.
There are many educational options when you visit Tigers for Tomorrow, including informational signs, educational programs for kids as young as preschool and educational exhibit talks and spontaneous interactions with the animals. Along with lots of big cats (GBEMGA was my favorite), I had a ton of fun observing the African Porcupines and hyenas. I learned that the African Porcupines are the second largest rodent in the world, are monogamous and stay with their family for life. To be honest, I was super excited about seeing the hyenas because of The Lion King and they did not disappoint!
I spent about three hours walking around and could have stayed longer if my stomach hadn’t told me it was time to eat. I did learn that you are allowed to bring food in and have a picnic, so that’s what I will do next time. I am definitely heading back because I didn’t get the chance to have the capybara encounter and I NEED to hang out with them and love on them.
Tigers for Tomorrow count on the local community to help them house and feed the animals, so head over and support them today! They go through 1000 pounds of food a day, with most of the meat donated from locals. You can also sponsor an animal, purchase from the gift shop, participate in their “round up” program, buy an annual membership or purchase a memorial brick. Tigers for Tomorrow is an amazing experience and I hope you head over there and support them!
Ashley Polesak has spent the last 10 years living her best life in Huntsville, Alabama. She loves to explore all of the things that Huntsville and the surrounding areas have to offer and is a big proponent for scouting out local experiences. Ashley lives and breathes the outdoors and recreation opportunities in the area, you are very likely to run into her at a park or on a hiking trail. If she has her two rescue dogs with her, Oba and Twyla, please excuse their over-excitement, they are currently being trained and it’s a work in progress! If she had to describe herself in television characters she would choose 1/4 Eleanor Shellstrop, 1/4 Leslie Knope, 1/4 April Ludgate and 1/4 Margaery Tyrell.