Believe it or not – there was a living tiger on Pentala in 1970! However, the tiger was not the big, dangerous beast, as you might think.
Tiger cub Mona lived with her adopted mummy Daffy, a dachshund, for one summer at a villa on the southern tip of the island. Carl Wahlberg, the owner of Daffy, has written about the adventures of Mona the Tiger on Pentala.
Tiina, a Siberian tiger living in Helsinki Zoo, gave birth to two cubs in 1970, but unfortunately rejected them at birth. The wire-haired dachshund Nappa, owned by a Kauklahti-based breeder Kasse Selin, and a feeding bottle came to the rescue. One of the cubs died, but Mona survived and grew stronger. After Nappa was finished with fostering her, she was adopted by Daffy.
On Pentala, Mona could roam free and practice being a tiger with her adoptive mother, whom Mona by this time had already outgrown. Tigers love swimming, and Mona spent many happy summer days playing in the water with her human family. Mona would prowl in tall grass and make formidable leaps on her “prey”, that is, Daffy – and soon joyful wrestling ensued.
Mona was the talk of the island community. Many boaters passing by could not believe their eyes, as instead of a dog, a tiger was standing at the front of the boat with paws on the seat and whiskers against the wind. At the Sjöberg’s grocery shop, everyone loved it when the Wahlbergs arrived with Mona.
In the autumn, Mona, who weighed 12 kilos by this point, had to move back to Helsinki Zoo and start a real life as a tiger. After growing up in Helsinki Zoo, Mona moved to spend her later years in a zoo in Canada. The little tiger of Pentala is still in the living memory of everyone who knew her.