I am standing 20 feet away from a magnificent tiger named Meow. Meow is breathtakingly beautiful, like nothing I've ever seen before.
Meow is calm, he seems to know that these people are here to help him. I look Meow straight in the eye, and Meow blinks his yellow eyes and looks at me.
Then I ask: "Is the tiger sedated?"
"No," say Edwin Weik, the director of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand . Edwin devotes his life and courage to Thailand's damaged wildlife, doing what he can to give them a chance at a better life.
We are here at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand with Edwin to learn about two rescued fishing cats, but at the moment we are standing in front of a magnificent tiger.
I gulp as Meow, a 12-year-old tiger that was rescued by WFFT 11 years ago, is carefully carried over to his personal bath tub. Tigers, I learn, are very clean animals and often take baths multiple times a day. But bath time is important for Meow for more than just cleanliness reasons, it is a chance to rehabilitate and strengthen his leg muscles, so that some day very soon he will be able to walk all on his own again.
Edwin was told multiple times by various veterinarians to give up and put Meow down, but Edwin is a champion of lost causes and a savior of down-on-there-luck animals. And now there is hope for this wild tiger.
Edwin explains that for the first time in many, many years Meow walked from where he is currently lying right over to where I am standing. This is great news for Meow, but not the most comforting piece of information for me, still I am gratefully to be standing here.
Edwin hopes that in the New Year Meow will be back on his feet. And after standing in front of such a clearly wild creature, that is my wish for the New Year too.
Join us in wishing Meow a happy and healthy 2012 by watching this short clip.
The wetlands of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park are home to many species of unique birds, fish, mammals and plants. Thai locals set fish traps in the mucky waters and even eat the white seeds of the lotus flower plants that grow in the nutrient rich waters.
The fishing cat hunts for prey here and likely seeks refuge from the loud sounds of shrimp farm industrialization in this area. Watch this clips we filmed using two GoPro underwater cameras and see the biodiversity that lives in this area.