We were contacted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) about a California event center using animals for exhibition. The US Fish & Game authorities declared their tiger enclosure to be non-compliant. The owner was given 60 days to upgrade it, but he claimed that would be impossible to do.
While IFAW negotiated with the owner, trying to convince him to surrender all his exotic cats, we agreed to take them all in. That included two tigers, two servals, and two caracal brothers named Nigel and Ivan. Another sanctuary offered to take in a lynx from the event center and provide transport for the cats to us, too. Everything was in place.
But then, the owner decided he would not surrender all his cats. We stood by our commitment to provide a home for Tonka, the tiger, and the two caracals he agreed to release to us. We also offered, in the spring, to pick up the two servals he still has on display there, as well as his remaining white tiger.
Tonka and the caracals made the long, two- day journey and arrived in the wee hours on a Sunday morning. At daybreak, they were more than anxious to get out of their transport carriers.
Nigel and Ivan, born in 2000, had lived at the event center their entire lives, since being purchased as kittens. They both moved into our large indoor/outdoor quarantine area when they arrived.
Though Nigel adjusted right away, something was wrong with Ivan. Sadly, he passed away and we are all heartbroken at his loss.