What started out as a simple job turned into an amazing friendship between a man and one of the most efficient predators on Earth. 10 years ago, Abdullah Sholeh became a “nanny” for a 3-month-old tiger cub, but they eventually became so close that even after the tiger matured, they spend almost every minute of the day together, and sometimes even sleep in the same enclosure.
Mulan Jamillah, a beautiful Bengal tigress, was donated to the Islamic school in Malang, Indonesia, when she was just 3-months-old, and then 25-year-old Abdullah Sholeh became her full-time caretaker. Her previous owner was unable to take care of her, but the young student was more than happy to dedicate most of his time to the adorable cub. The only problem is that what started out as a temporary job eventually turned into a full-time friendship, with Abdullah having to spend almost 24-hours with the tiger, which earned him the nickname “The Nanny”.
“If I am not home Mulan will be trying to find me, she will be anxious,” Abdullah told Barcroft TV, 3 years ago. “That is why I am always with her to play, to sleep and to feed her, that is how I spend my days.”
Not that he minds, though, as Abdullah says Mulan has become his best friend. They play together, eat together, and sometimes even sleep together in the feline’s enclosure. But despite the affection that Mulan shows her human nanny on a daily basis, Sholeh says that is always aware of the risks he takes every time he gets close to the 400-pound Bengal tigress.
“I realize that she is an animal who has her own instinct, she is just like a cat. When she is playing she can scratch and bite, and those are just a few of the risks that I have to face,” the Indonesian man said. “That’s why we have to learn about her character.”
Like a cat, Mulan will often get carried away while playing with Abdullah, and he has dozens of scratches to prove it. “I was lucky, Mulan’s claws nearly took my eye out,” he says pointing to a scratch on his face. He wears a thick cloth around his neck as that’s what Mulan loves to play with most, and it’s a pretty sensitive area to have deeply scratched or bitten into.
But he’s gotten used to it over the years, so he doesn’t really mind a bit of rough play. “Having a bit of a scar from her doesn’t mean anything to me, getting a scratch or even a bite from her is a common thing,” Abdullah told Barcroft TV.
Abdullah Sholeh feeds Mulan about 6 kg of chicken or goat meat a day, which he sometimes offers her with his own mouth, but says that her favorite treat is instant noodles.
Their friendship has been going strong for over 10 years no, and Abdullah says they are closer than ever.