Four massive cats rescued with nationwide collaboration of zoo and sanctuaries

The Oakland Zoo, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and Lions, Tigers and Bears labored together to save a lion and a trio of tigers from an abandoned roadside zoo in northeast Oklahoma.

A rescue of 4 massive cats was facilitated on June 10, 2022 by a collaboration of 3 entities that represented a nationwide energy. The Oakland Zoo, Oakland, California and massive cat sanctuaries—Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR), Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Lions, Tigers and Bears (LTB), Alpine, California—partnered to rescue a lion, a tiger hybrid, and 2 generic tigers from an abandoned drive-thru roadside zoo in northeast Oklahoma.

Cited and shut by the USDA in 2008 for multiple animal basic safety and welfare violations, the roadside zoo had formerly presented cub petting and picture alternatives to website visitors. Its owner may possibly have ties to “Joe Exotic,” known in the eponymous Netflix collection as “Tiger King,” according to a joint organizational push release.

The rescue procedure was initiated by and funded by Oakland Zoo, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoo, that is managed by the Conservation Modern society of California that was initially contacted for assistance by a anxious Oklahoma resident in May possibly 2022. Colleen Kinzley, vice president of animal treatment, conservation and exploration for Oakland Zoo contacted both animal sanctuaries to aid the joint effort and hard work. Oakland Zoo and TCWR then travelled to the defunct roadside zoo and conducted the onsite animal evaluations previously this month.

“These big cats ended up dwelling in modest, filthy enclosures. Shelter was presented but was terribly weathered and rotten,” claimed Tanya Smith, president and founder of TCWR. “Aside from some excellent Samaritans, they ended up still left on your own, fed inconsistently, and wanted veterinary care. We’re so relieved to provide new houses to these animals and aid them prosper.”

The life-conserving journey for the 3 tigers began with the aid of a condition-of-the-artwork, self-contained animal rescue hauler owned by LTB, in accordance to the launch. The tigers arrived at the Oakland Zoo on Sunday, June 12, 2022. Animal treatment and veterinary groups were being standing by to receive 2 of the tigers and transfer them promptly the zoo’s veterinary healthcare facility for evaluation. The zoo’s animal care workforce has already named them “Lola” and “Mia”. The remaining tiger arrived at LTB on Sunday evening.

“For the earlier 30 years, we’ve thoroughly dedicated Oakland Zoo’s tiger habitat as a sanctuary for tigers victimized by the circus, roadside zoo, private possession, and cub-petting industries. These tigers require help, and we can give that aid while educating the public about the dangers of animal exploitation practiced in individuals industries. When a worried Oklahoma resident named us to support these significant cats, who have endured so a lot suffering, there was no query that we would phase in and give them the homes and treatment they are entitled to, at Oakland Zoo and our partnering sanctuaries, for the remainder of their lives,” claimed Nik Dehejia, CEO, Oakland Zoo, in the release.

The rescued significant cats, of which all are female and some are declawed, contain:

An elderly, arthritic lion that required quick clinical interest and treatment, now at TCWR

tiger hybrid in inadequate situation and with a badly infected tooth that has caused facial deformity, and bowed legs, now at Oakland Zoo.

Two tigers in individual enclosures, equally energetic, but lean 1 now at Oakland Zoo and 1 at LTB

“There are major pink flags that present these animals were victims of the cub petting industry,” mentioned Bobbi Brink, founder and director of LTB, in the joint launch. “These cats have been declawed and in bad wellness and living circumstances. Most likely, they were bred to be image props, and as soon as they grew much too massive and could not be rewarding, they had been deserted. We’re the animals’ voices, and we need to perform toward schooling and legislation, for the reason that each individual animal rescued makes a distinction.”

In their new households, just about every major cat will have a appropriate habitat, food plan, basic safety protocol, and further care. This amount of treatment is essential by the World-wide Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, a certification held by only the top rated sanctuaries in the country that present life time care for rescued animals, like LTB and TCWR, according to the rescuing organizations.

In addition, the AZA is a countrywide group that sets the maximum specifications for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums. Upon arriving at Oakland Zoo, the tigers will housed in the on-website veterinary healthcare facility for healthcare attention and care for about 4 months just before becoming moved to the zoo’s tiger habitat, which characteristics climbing platforms, 2 pools for swimming, trees, and a grass-included ground.

TCWR and LTB are 2 of a of handful of sanctuaries in the nation geared up to rescue, transportation, and provide veterinary treatment to rescued animals from horrendous dwelling disorders to accredited sanctuaries close to the region, which includes their own.

“We are always ready and inclined to collaborate with other accredited services when the need for rescue occurs. We have to struggle together to take care of the massive cat disaster we are facing in this article in the United States. No animals should really put up with or reside in the deplorable circumstances these animals experienced to endure. The lioness was subjected to solitude 24×7 for 7 many years that we know of. It was only inhumane,” stated Emily McCormack, animal curator at TCWR, in the launch.

TCWR, LTB, and the Oakland Zoo are also encouraging support for trustworthy animal sanctuaries and amenities as properly as advocacy for federal laws that destinations limits on massive cat personal ownership and speak to with the public.


Oakland Zoo and Accredited Massive Cat Sanctuaries coordinate 4000 mile rescue, deliver 4 massive cats to secure havens. Information launch. Oakland Zoo Lions, Tigers and Bears and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. June 13, 2022.