Black Pine Animal Sanctuary has launched a fundraising campaign to help offset some of the costs related to the care of four new tigers expected to spend the rest of their lives in Albion.
Sammie and Delilah have already arrived safely from the Tiger Paw Exotic Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Ashland, Ohio, and Taz and Ticha are expected sometime this weekend, joining the five tigers who already call Black Pine home. The four will require an extra 50 pounds of food per day, said Lori Gagen, executive director.
Tiger Paw owners Denise and Jose Flores told Gagen they could no longer afford the big cats they’d had for more than 17 years. A new Ohio law took effect last month requiring exotic animal owners to obtain a new state-issued permit by 2014. The permits require a background check, liability insurance and an inspection that demonstrates the owner can properly contain the animal and adhere to other standards.
That law was passed after a suicidal Zanesville, Ohio, man released dozens of exotic animals, including black bears, lions and Bengal tigers.
Sanctuaries such as Black Pine are paying the price for these types of laws, but Gagen said the cost will be worth it if it can prevent similar tragedies.
Short term it’s going to be rough, but long term, it’s the right thing to do, said Gagen.
The total fundraising goal to deal with short-term expenses for the new tigers is $50,000.
Denise Flores contacted Gagen in April for help, but at the time Black Pine had just rescued eight animals that took up all the space in the sanctuary’s temporary quarters.
Flores was able to send four other tigers to Minnesota and Oregon, but Sammie, Delilah, Taz and Ticha were too old to travel such long distances, Gagen said.
About six weeks ago, Flores again contacted Gagen. She agreed to take the four tigers, who range in age from 14 to 17 and have a life expectancy of about 23 years.
Three of the tigers were rescued from a roadside zoo that was auctioning off the animals after they became too old to use in photographs with children. The other was attacked by a dog at a young age in the home of its owner. A veterinarian asked the Floreses to take the tiger because of its injuries.
Taz and Ticha will make the four-hour trip in the back of a covered trailer, remodeled to accommodate and secure large cages on wheels. For safety reasons, Gagen declined to say when they will arrive.
Most of the $50,000 for the Ohio Tiger Relief Fund is needed to build permanent habitats for the four tigers. Additional money will help with ongoing veterinarian costs, food and additional staff expenses.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare donated $6,000 to help with travel costs and initial veterinarian checkups.