Rescue of Ohio owner's last two tigers brings a brief sense of peace

Taz, one of the rescued tigers before loading on the transport to Indiana.The sound of reassuring chuffs swirled in the evening air, mixing with buzz of mosquitos as the sun set in rural Indiana. “Chuffing” is a non-threatening greeting made by some big cats, particularly tigers, by blowing air out their nostrils and is considered a similar sentiment to “purring” in domestic cats.

Taz and Ticha, two elderly tigers from a private owner in Ohio, cautiously investigated their new home at a wildlife sanctuary while frequently comforting each other through chuffs and head rubs.

Today was momentous for these tigers, but it also was the final chapter in a mission to relocate eight big cats from a struggling owner to forever homes in qualified sanctuaries.

Earlier today, I stood on the back deck of this home that, from the front, didn’t stand out among the other ranch style homes along the quintessential farm road in Ohio.

Fom my vantage point, however, I stared a row of empty enclosures that once held seven tigers and a cougar. These animals now reside in wildlife sanctuaries from Oregon, Minnesota, and Indiana. Taz and Ticha were the last to leave, and they loaded and traveled remarkably well considering they haven’t left the property in many years.

It will take a short while for them to adapt to their new surroundings and caretakers, but judging by their relaxed demeanor this evening, I’m confident they’ll be greeting their keepers with chuffs in a matter of days.

The road ahead is along, with thousands of big cats in the U.S. needing immediate rescue to provide them with the proper care and homes they require.

Still, as I gazed out from that back deck in Ohio, I felt a sense of peace knowing that eight animals were placed in such facilities.

That peace is short-lived, as there is a seemingly endless cry of big cats from backyards and basements from every corner of this country.

Rejuvenated by the best-case scenario achieved in this situation, and a friendly “chuff” as our reward, we move forward.  


Learn how you can help IFAW rescue big cats and strengthen legislation to protect big cats and keep communities safe by going to today.

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy