Callie – In Memory


Nicknamed Callie, Calcutta’s a female white tigress who arrived at the sanctuary in 2015. At 11 years old, she came to us with a much-publicized past.

As a cub, she’d been used by the Ashville Game Farm as a photo prop. Even fully grown at 2 years old, people would pay to have their picture taken with her at fairs. A four-year old child was sitting on a bench in front of her when she reached out and scratched the child’s forehead, requiring 14 stitches. Authorities ordered Callie be gotten rid of.


Be sure to learn the TRUTH ABOUT WHITE TIGERS here.

That’s when she ended up at her second home, in the backyard of a private owner. Years later, this new owner also faced a legal battle. Local zoning laws changed, and his big cats hadn’t been ‘grandfathered’ in. He was ordered to find them another home or face jail time. With an ill wife and disabled son, he accepted a plea bargain and agreed to place them elsewhere within a year.

He truly loved his cats. We set aside our opinions about private ownership and worked with him for almost a year to safeguard Callie, and the other cats’ future. Callie had lived in a cage less than 200 square feet. Now, she would enjoy a free-roaming habitat 50 times that!

Life at the Sanctuary

Despite what she went through in the past, Callie’s put all that behind her and lives each day to the fullest, here at her forever home. Every single toy she’s given, she loves. And you’ll find her splashing in her pool the whole summer long. It’s her favorite place to be. She puts a smile on everyone’s face with her non-stop energy and zest for life.

How You Can Help

Our sponsor program is what makes top notch care possible for new residents like Callie. Would you like to become Callie’s sponsor parent, helping assure she can live wild at heart the rest of her days?

You’ll find buttons at the top of this page that make it really easy to do. And, it’ll make such a difference for Callie – thank you!


In Memory

Our hearts our heavy as 19-year-old tigress Callie (Calcutta) has passed on to her forever wild life.

Callie had overcome so many health issues over the past several years. But she always found her way back to us. We were hoping that was the case this time as well, but unfortunately, her recent seizure was too much.

Callie had previously been diagnosed via a CT scan with severe arthritis and compression of the spine. Steroid and pain management treatment helped keep her comfortable.  The staff modified her habitats and moved her into quarantine for close observation.

Prior to that Callie survived emergency surgery for an 8-pound tumor in her uterus.

Despite all of this, Callie was a happy tiger. She loved to greet her caregivers with an unlimited number of chuffs.

She loved to get a rise out of her big cat neighbors by playing stalk and chase along the fence.

And she loved spending summers cooling off in her pool.

So many times, we thought we’d have to say good-bye to her, but she was determined to stay.  She amazed us each day, especially with how she came back from each health obstacle with such grace.

But this time her body told her it was time to rest and finally let go.  And it was our duty to honor that as peacefully as possible.

Up until her last seizure, Callie was doing well. She was active, put weight back on, and was acting so much like her happy self. The vet team even approved her to go back down to her free-roaming habitat in Wild Woodlands where she could enjoy the summer in the tall grass.

She walked right into the transport crate, exited into her bedroom, and explored her outdoor yard with no issues at all.  She spent time laying in the sun, walking her paths, and following caretakers around the fence line.

As a geriatric cat with health issues, each moment is precious.  But we thought we had many special moments left.

Upon morning rounds after a night of storms, one of the caretakers was checking on all the cats.  As they approached Callie’s room, she began having a seizure, one that lasted much longer than any of her previous ones. We knew the longer it lasted, the more critical the seizure was.

Our staff and vet team spent the entire day with her.  She remained dazed, exhausted, and uncomfortable. We knew this seizure caused too much damage and we had to help Callie pass on.

Callie will be remembered for her resilience and confidence. She was a strong-willed tiger, especially around other big cats, but very kind and trusting of her animal caregivers and humans all together.  She enjoyed her life to the fullest and we enjoyed caring for her.

Callie, you brought so much joy to us. Thank you for staying as long as you did.  You made us all feel very appreciated for the work we do; we hope we did the same for you.