Relocated tigers settle down in their new home
After a long haul from Texas, the three relocated tigers arrived to the Carolina Tiger Rescue (CRT) sanctuary last Friday afternoon. Along the way, the transport team stopped every two hours to check on the tigers and give them water. Although transport is inherently stressful for animals, they reported that the tigers travelled well.
It was close to 4:00pm when the trailer pulled up to the sanctuary's entrance and parked next to the quarantine facility, the tigers' resting place for the next 30 days before finally moving into their new spacious enclosures. Bali, Java and Titan finally heard the engine turn off and the rear ramp door open.
One by one, the transport cages were wheeled out from the trailer and secured to the wall of the quarantine, leaving a small opening so they could slip into the building. Once more, Bali was the nervous of the three, letting out a few bone-chilling roars as his cage was in motion. Soon enough, the three tigers were inside, the transport a success!
"It's not common to have all three animals slip into the quarantine door so decidedly, many times we see big cats hesitating but these tigers were ready to step out of those cages!" said Pam Fulk, Executive Director for Carolina Tiger Rescue.
Minutes after the keepers brought out some food for them and Java (the only female of the group) was quickest to the draw, snatching most of it for herself while the boys were still getting acquainted with their surroundings.
Across the hall lay three lions, also recently moved from Texas. The six big cats brought up the total number of animal residents at CRT to 72. The sanctuary is a nonprofit whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild and has operated for more than 30 years.
The next day, IFAW staff toured a section of the 55 acre property. CRT is foremost a rescue facility and we were able to meet several other tigers that had similar stories to Bali, Java and Titan. The spacious enclosures full of trees and other enrichment components was certainly a welcome sight. Many cats had been once kept as pets, others came from closing zoos or sanctuaries, all bearing the scars of a lifetime in captivity. These wild animals never had the opportunity of a free life. Since birth, they became the victims of human greed and selfishness and at this point living in the wild is but an impossible dream.
As we stood in front of a white tiger named Jellybean, Pam put it best, "I hate this, I wish we didn't have a single animal here. These amazing creatures belong in the wild, not fenced in like this, but we open our doors and try to give them a good life and hope that their example can help educate people on the tragedies of big cats in captivity".
We left Pittsboro, North Carolina later that day but our work to save tigers continues. Did you know that there are as few as 3000 wild tigers in the world? Later this week, governments of the 13 tiger range countries will convene in St. Petersburg, Russia to agree on a plan to save tigers from extinction and IFAW will be there. For more information, go to www.ifaw.org/tigers today.