PAWS Says Goodbye to Two Special Tigers
Animal Stories from

FROM PAWS Performing Animal Welfare Society
July 2019

Tigers Marin and Malabar lived wonderful lives at PAWS until they were 20 and 21 when they died after having been rescued from separate horrific circumstances.

Tiger Malabar

Malabar came to PAWS in 2004, one of 39 tigers (video below) rescued from a situation of severe abuse and neglect at a roadside zoo in Colton, California. At the time, it was the largest tiger rescue the U.S. had ever seen [see Ten Years Ago This Month, The Colton Tiger Story - The Largest Big Cat Rescue In U.S. History]. Malabar lived with three other big male tigers in Colton, and they stayed together in their new home at ARK 2000 where they had access to a large, grassy habitat with rolling hills, oak trees, and a pool.

This group of rough and tumble boys was very active, and Malabar was like the mischievous little brother of the group. One of his favorite things to do was to hide behind things and jump out to surprise Boebie, Pat Jr. and Jay Logan, only to quickly run away to invite a playful chase. Malabar had a very curious demeanor and always wanted to know what was going on when caregivers were working on nearby projects. In later years, after the other three tigers had passed away, Malabar was friendly and welcoming to new tigers who were housed next to him, greeting them with much chuffing and rubbing on their shared fence.

Malabar remained healthy, strong, and vibrant for many years, outliving many who had been rescued alongside him. In his later years, he received supplements and medications to help with arthritis and to support his aging kidneys. Similar to smaller domestic cats, it is common for large cats to develop arthritis and kidney disease as they get older. In late June, he began to show signs of worsening kidney failure, and declining mobility.

It became clear that Malabar was not improving, and he was having increasing trouble standing and walking, so the difficult but compassionate decision was made to euthanize him. Malabar passed from this life on July 5th, surrounded by many who loved him dearly. Tiger Supervisor Renae took care of Malabar for almost 12 years, and she will always remember Malabar and his three friends playfully running up and down the hills, crashing through the trees and brush, sounding like a herd of elephants as they ran. Malabar was estimated to be 21 years old at the time of his passing.

Tiger Marin

Marin arrived at our ARK 2000 sanctuary in February 2017, after a roadside zoo and cub-petting operation in Colorado closed. Marin had endured a lifetime of neglect, exploitation, and repeated breeding to produce cubs for public handling and photo opportunities. Over her lifetime she had given birth to numerous cubs, only to have them forcibly taken away from her shortly after birth. An 18-year-old tiger is considered elderly, but the facility was still breeding Marin at that age. Just months before coming to PAWS she gave birth to a dead cub. We can only imagine the stress, fear, confusion, and sense of loss that she felt for much of her life.

Marin adjusted quickly to her new home, and enjoyed her very own habitat, with gentle terrain, lush grass, oak trees for shade, and a pool. This was probably the first time in her life that she was surrounded by the sights, smells, and sounds of nature, and was cared for with love and respect.

Marin was an exceptionally beautiful tiger; her fur had a striking copper/rust coloring. Lean and strong, she simultaneously had the poise and dignity of a great wild tiger, balanced with an almost kitten-like energy. She was very playful and especially loved rolling and pouncing on her big red ball, as well as lying onto her back in the grass (below). Her neighbor was Malabar, and the two of them often slept back to back against their shared fence.

Tiger Marin

Marin was friendly with caregivers, and she would happily come to the fence to greet them with a "chuff" and would "talk" to us with her own unique voice. Tiger Supervisor Renae recalled, "Knowing that she went through so much, she was the brightest little star. She was a beautiful old girl with the soul of a kitten." Marin held a very special place in PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Gai's heart as well, as her courage, resilience, and joy for life were an inspiration, and her playful antics always made us smile.

Marin was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer, which came on very suddenly in mid-June. Her cancer was untreatable and aggressive, and when it became clear that she was feeling the effects of the disease, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her to prevent suffering. Marin passed from this life on June 19th at the estimated age of 20, surrounded by many who loved and cared dearly for her. We are heartbroken to lose her but honored to have been able to provide her a comfortable, nurturing home for the last two-and-a-half years of her life.

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