Sheba, a campground tiger, can finally walk without pain
It was not that long ago that Sheba, a beautiful tigress, was being kept in a small concrete enclosure in the middle of an Arkansas campground.
Last February, IFAW stepped in and relocated Sheba from her inadequate cage, where she lived for ten years, to a spacious enclosure at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center in Texas.
One of the most rewarding sights was seeing Sheba step on grass for the first time in a decade. She took in her new surroundings with curiosity and courage; however, it was clear that Sheba was still suffering from badly executed de-clawing procedure when she was just a little cub. From the X-rays, it is suspected that whoever de-clawed all of Sheba’s paws did so with nothing more than nail clippers and left bone fragments imbedded in her pads. That, combined with walking on nothing but cold, hard cement her whole life, left Sheba in constant agony.
De-clawing cats or any animal is severely detrimental to their well-being, both physically and psychologically. For big cats, it alters the way they walk and distribute their weight, causes joint stiffness and arthritis, and deprives them many instinctual feline behaviors, such as marking territories by scratching different surfaces.
Thankfully, the competent staff at In-Sync Exotics recognized Sheba’s discomfort and pursued veterinary assistance. IFAW provided a grant to cover the costs of surgery for Sheba to have the bone fragments and ingrown claws removed from her pads and allow her to finally walk pain free.
Luckily, recovery from this type of surgery is relatively quick. Sheba is already walking much better and the staff at In-Sync tell me that even her overall demeanor has improved, indicating that she is finding relief as a result of the surgery.
I’m grateful to our sanctuary partners for their keen observations and dedication to ensuring that all animals entering their care receive the best they have to offer. This has certainly been a happy ending for Sheba, our campground tiger.
For more information about IFAW efforts to help big cats in the United States, visit our campaign page.