Sanctuaries, zoo save aged, ailing huge cats from former Oklahoma drive-thru roadside attraction

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Two sanctuaries and a zoo rescued 4 huge cats from a defunct drive-thru roadside safari in northeast Oklahoma June 10.

The Oakland Zoo in California, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas and Lions Tigers & Bears in California all collaborated to rescue two tigers, a lion, and a tiger hybrid from the Oklahoma facility that was as soon as opened to the general public and supplied cub petting and photograph alternatives.

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“There are main purple flags that present these animals had been victims of the cub petting trade,” mentioned Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of Lions Tigers & Bears. “These cats had been declawed and sick and residing situations. They had been seemingly bred to be photograph props, and as soon as they grew too huge and had been now not worthwhile, they had been deserted. We’re the animals’ voices, and we’d like to work towards schooling and laws, as a result of every animal rescued makes a distinction.”

The ability was cited and shut down by the USDA in 2008 after a number of security and welfare violations.

The 4 huge cats rescued had been the only real remaining animals on the deserted facility.

“These huge cats had been residing in small, filthy enclosures. Shelter was offered however was terribly weathered and rotten,” mentioned Tanya Smith, President and Founding father of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. “Except for some good Samaritans, they had been left alone, fed inconsistently, and wanted veterinary care. We’re so relieved to offer recent houses to those animals and assist them thrive.”

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The rescued animals, all feminine and declawed—a regular observe within the cub-petting trade—embody:

  • An aged, arthritic lion that required rapid medical consideration and care, going to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
  • A tiger hybrid in poor situation with a facial wound and bowed legs, going to Oakland Zoo
  • Two tigers housed in separate enclosures, each energetic however lean, one going to Oakland Zoo and one going to Lions Tigers & Bears

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“For the previous thirty years, we’ve totally dedicated Oakland Zoo’s tiger habitat as a sanctuary for tigers victimized by the circus, roadside zoo, personal possession, and cub-petting industries. These tigers need assistance, and we will present that assist whereas educating the general public in regards to the risks of animal exploitation practiced in these industries. When a involved Oklahoma resident referred to as us to assist these huge cats, who’ve endured a lot struggling, there was no doubt that we might step in and provides them the houses and care they deserve, at Oakland Zoo and our partnering sanctuaries, for the rest of their lives,” Nik Dehejia, CEO, Oakland Zoo.

Rescue officers say the roadside zoo and its proprietor had been reported to have ties to “Tiger King” star, Joe Unique.

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