Robert Mullen has always had a passion for animals and had a dream of working with and caring for animals.
Mullen’s life dream has come true as he is now the lead trainer for the One World Show and Amazing Rainforest Experience and is performing live with the animals he cares for at the Missouri State Fair.
“I’ve always had a passion and love for the animals,” Mullen said. “The rewards of working and sharing with others at the Missouri State Fair is truly an educational and wonderful experience.”
The Amazing Rainforest Experience provides not only a show but an ongoing display, featuring a unique collection of 20 different species.
The show, “One World,” and the exhibit, the “Rainforest Experience,” work best when presented together, however they can be provided separately.
Orlando, Florida-based One World is a unique animal show where conservation and environmental awareness take center stage. It is a scientific fact that our planet’s rainforests are home to more than two-thirds of all species, and yet they are being destroyed at a rate of more than one acre every second of the day. With these events, conservation of natural resources is an ever-pressing issue. Some of the most rare and endangered species on the planet are featured in this show.
Among the larger creatures Mullen works with are three Bengal tigers, including a Royal White Bengal tiger. Two of the tigers, a Bengal tiger named Jai and the Royal White Bengal tiger Raji, performed at 4 p.m. Monday at the bleacher area situated between the 4-H Building and the Agriculture Building at the fairgrounds.
The tigers showed grace and beauty for the audience as Mullen had them perform several tricks. He said he has worked with the big cats from the time they were cubs and they are very gentle. Raji, 7, the Royal White Tiger, is white only because she has a recessive gene. She has no physical disabilities. Jai is 9 and both were very playful with each other.
Mullen said the tigers will sleep as much as 20 hours per day and they consume about 13-14 pounds of chicken daily. He said the average lifespan for a tiger is 15 years. Bengal tigers are endangered and it is estimated there are only 1,500 left in the wild.
According to the Amazing Rainforest website, the animal training methods are based entirely upon “positive reinforcement and are evident through the love and admiration that we share with these animals we are privileged to have as a part of our lives. Our cast of animals from the smallest to the largest will keep the audience on the edge of their seats during the entire 25-minute show.”
“I truly have a whole lot of love for all of my animals,” Mullen said.
Mullen said the shows are performed daily at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. throughout the duration of the fair.
Tim Epperson can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1485.