PAWS Welcomes New Tigers to ARK 2000
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Performing Animal Welare Society (PAWS)
January 2017

The zoo made money by offering the public the opportunity to hold tiger and bear cubs for a fee. To ensure a steady supply of cubs for photo and "play" sessions, tigers and bears on the property were constantly bred, producing litter after litter with no regard for their health. Cubs were forcibly removed from their mothers soon after birth, so they could be bottle-fed and handled by people.

rescued tiger
Scratching on a tree is a novel experience for the four tigers who have been given lifetime homes at ARK 2000. Photo by Charity Maness

On New Year's Eve, four of eight tigers we are rescuing from a defunct roadside zoo in Colorado arrived at ARK 2000. It was so gratifying to watch as they stepped out of their transport cages and onto the lush green grass of their habitats, which they delighted in eating and rolling in - a simple pleasure that many captive tigers never experience. After a life of deprivation and exploitation, these four needy tigers finally have a home where they can relax, play, and explore to their hearts' content.

More than 100 animals needed immediate placement in new homes after the zoo ceased business. Several reputable sanctuaries throughout the U.S. have stepped up to provide lifetime care for the animals from this rescue, with PAWS accepting eight tigers, including five males and three females ranging in age from five to 18 years old.

The Colorado facility was notorious for its long rap sheet of USDA citations for serious safety and health issues, including employees attacked and injured by tigers, inadequate veterinary care, lack of shade, and unsanitary and unsafe living conditions for the animals.

The zoo made money by offering the public the opportunity to hold tiger and bear cubs for a fee. To ensure a steady supply of cubs for photo and "play" sessions, tigers and bears on the property were constantly bred, producing litter after litter with no regard for their health. Cubs were forcibly removed from their mothers soon after birth, so they could be bottle-fed and handled by people. Several cubs died from improper care, including death from pneumonia after accidentally inhaling milk from a baby bottle. Cubs who are removed from their mothers at birth miss out on important antibodies that they should be receiving from mother's milk, and as a result their weakened immune systems leave them completely vulnerable to deadly infections. Cubs that managed to survive this horrifying start to their lives quickly grew too big to be handled, and were immediately put into the breeding population to create even more cubs. This hellish, self-perpetuating cycle is found wherever tiger and bear cubs are subjected to public handling.

In December, PAWS President Ed Stewart and Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai traveled to Colorado to meet the tigers and assess their condition. Ed stated: "After looking into their eyes I promised them that I would not leave them there."

Upon returning to PAWS, preparations to accommodate the tigers began, including construction of new enclosures. The last four tigers from the Colorado facility are currently awaiting transport to ARK 2000, pending completion of construction that has been delayed due to rainy weather.

As we welcome these new tigers into sanctuary, we celebrate their symbolic rebirth into a life where they will be treated with respect and where their dignity and individual needs will be honored. Former, and sometimes derogatory, names are being changed to reflect their new life, and we look forward to introducing you to them as they gradually settle in at ARK 2000.

We urgently need your support for these tigers because some of them will require spay and neuter surgery and others arrived with chronic health conditions that must be treated. Your contribution for the "Colorado Eight" will provide them with a healthy diet and lifetime, expert care at PAWS.


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