These five tigers once lived in the ghastly conditions of a Spanish circus. Locked in a cramped cage, the raptors fought over the meager scraps they were fed. The tormented tigers were saved thanks to ordinary people who cared.
Five tigers who suffered in a Spanish circus have found freedom from circus hell. A team of animal rights activists organized a fundraiser to save the predators from the terrible conditions, and they managed to raise 20,000 pounds.
The fundraiser to save the tigers was organized by the British publication Mirror together with the management of the Wildheart Trust rescue organization and the leading naturalist Chris Packham.
Thanks to concerned people from around the world, five tigers with troubled pasts are now living in the spacious, clean enclosures of the Isle of Wight Zoo in England.
“We raised £20,000 thanks to the readers of the Mirror. It’s a lot of money, and we’re very grateful for the help. The money went to build and improve the enclosures,” says Charlotte Corney, head of the Wildheart Trust at the zoo.
The rescuers cannot give tigers complete freedom in the wild, because unadapted predators, who have “served” in the circus all their lives, simply will not survive. In the zoo, the tigers are always fed, supervised by veterinarians and sensitive caretakers.
“One of the males, coming out of his cage after a long flight from Spain, walked, stretched, and went straight to the pool in his enclosure. Perhaps he was swimming for the first time in his life. It was obvious that the raptor was happy,” says naturalist Chris Packham.
Rescuers do not know exactly what was done to the tigers in the circus, but they were kept in terrible conditions. According to the zoo staff, the difficult past of these animals can be read even by their looks – “the wounds that are left on their hearts will remain forever.”
In addition to the rescued tigers, the zoo has an old 20-year-old tigress, Aysha, and recently, before the Spanish circus tigers arrived, 22-year-old tigress Iza died in the zoo. Both of them had been cared for since their birth by Charlotte, the director of the zoo.
It costs about 1,000 pounds per month for one tiger from the zoo – this includes care and feeding. According to the staff, they are always happy to receive donations from people who don’t care.