Siegfried and Roy might want to move the good furniture into storage for a while.
The famed illusionists welcomed five new tiger cubs to their exotic habitat on the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday, a move Siegfried Fischbacher said would be therapeutic for Roy Horn, who was critically injured when he was mauled by a 380-pound white Bengal tiger onstage in 2003.
“That gives him a reason to get up in the morning,” Fischbacher said.
Horn did not answer questions from reporters but played with the small tigers, holding them for the cameras, kissing them and nibbling on one’s small ear. The playful, 15-pound, 6-week old cubs were brought to Las Vegas three weeks ago to be part of the longtime duo’s animal breeding program.
The cubs — two white females, two white striped females and a golden male tiger — were to be taken to a nursery for public display at the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage hotel-casino. The exhibit houses lions, tigers, leopards and a black panther.
“Our life is a purpose,” Fischbacher said. “Our purpose is to keep them from extinction.”
Fischbacher said Horn had named the golden cub Svengali because it was a name for a womanizer — and the cub was growing up with four females.
“He has to hold court,” he said.
Fischbacher said the illusionists were moving ahead as promised with a one-night-only comeback next year to benefit the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. But he’s not sure whether the young tigers will be a part of the Feb. 7, 2009, performance.
“I’m always getting questions, ’Are they going to be in our show?”’ he said. “They are just a part of our life.”
Horn was critically injured when the white tiger, Montecore, sank its teeth into his neck and dragged him offstage in front of a horrified audience at The Mirage in October 2003, ending one of the most successful casino shows in Las Vegas history.
The near-fatal mauling left Horn, partially paralyzed, damaged a neck artery and crushed his windpipe.
The pair have said they believed Montecore sensed Horn was having a mini-stroke and was dragging him to safety, rather than attacking him.