He calls himself Big Cat Derek, and he makes some of the Internet’s most addictive Vines.

Nearly a million people follow Big Cat Derek hilarious Vines of animals who live at the Center for Animal Research and Education. Derek has loved tigers since he was little, so when the opportunity arose to volunteer at CARE, he was floored.

An aviation meteorologist by day and a badass volunteer big cat advocate and caregiver by night, Derek has been with the foundation since 2006 and is now on their board of directors. He even met his wife — human, not cat — there.

So naturally we asked Big Cat Derek to share some of his stories about the totally #dorbs cats he interacts with every day. Also, more Vines.

Today is International Tiger Day!

Tigers are the largest animals in the genus Panthera, with some males of the largest subspecies, the Siberian tiger, weighing in at over 600 pounds. The great size and strength of these big cats allows them to carry prey several miles once they have dispatched it. 

Scientists at the Museum and the wild-cat conservation organization Panthera have demonstrated a new technique to non-invasively survey tigers using their scent sprays. The findings of a recent study show that DNA taken from tiger spray is just as good or even better at identifying individual tigers and their gender as scat—the “breadcrumb” that researchers have traditionally used to track the endangered animals.

“Genetic monitoring of tiger source populations is a conservation priority,” said Anthony Caragiulo, a postdoctoral researcher in the Museum’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics.“The utility of this new method is really impactful because it will let us dramatically build upon the number of tigers that can be surveyed and, consequently, increase our understanding of these elusive animals—hopefully before they are gone.”

Learn more about this research

Happy Tiger Appreciation Day!

Although July 29th may seem like a normal day, it’s actually a day to appreciate the largest of the cat family: the tiger! Here are some cool facts about these fantastic felines:

1. Tigers are crepuscular – they hunt mainly in the morning and evening.

2. A group of tigers is called an ambush or a streak.

Originally posted by cutestcorner

3. Tigers cannot purr, so to show happiness, they squint or close their eyes. This is because losing vision lowers their defense, so tigers only purposefully do so when they feel comfortable and safe. Many other cats do this as well.

4. Tigers are great swimmers unlike other species of cats. They enjoy bathing and swimming and go swimming to hunt for food.

Originally posted by tigerstripe-s

5. Tigers have antiseptic saliva, so when they lick their wounds they disinfect them.

6. Stripes on tigers are unique just like fingerprints on humans. No two are the same.


7. Tigers are known to imitate the sounds their prey makes in order to successfully hunt.

8. The tiger is capable of killing animals over twice its size; it is one of nature’s most feared predators.

Originally posted by halalboyfriend

9. Sadly over the past 80 years, 3 of the nine tiger species have gone extinct due to trophy hunting, beliefs that tigers were symbols of evil, and the exotic pet trade.

10. Tigers have incredibly strong legs and can leap up to 6 meters. After a bunch of trial and errors first of course.

Originally posted by iwonderhowlongicanmakemyusername