Rescued 5/18/07 Died 10/11/13
Bella is very quite and reserved. She spent her first few days in her new enclosure in her den. She had never had a den before, so the dark secluded area was quite appealing. Bella was spayed shortly after her arrival, so that she and TJ can live together again. They were a breeding pair at Savage Kingdom. Bella has turned around since her arrival and is quickly becoming a favorite among volunteers and guests alike.
A hundred times or more a year Big Cat Rescue is contacted by someone trying to unload a tiger, lion, bobcat, serval or some other exotic cat who has outlived his usefulness. In most cases the people calling are those who have used the animals to support themselves, or to make themselves more popular, and now the cat no longer serves their needs. Then the cat has to go.
Big Cat Rescue can only take in a limited number of big cats each year because each cat is a 10-20 year commitment. Most of the cases do not meet Big Cat Rescue’s criteria for accepting a cat as they will not assist these irresponsible owners in continuing to breed and use animals by being a dumping ground for last year’s babies.
This case at Savage Kingdom was different. Robert Baudy was world renown for producing what are commonly referred to as “throw away tigers” because they are so often lame and cross eyed from the inbreeding that goes into producing the white tigers that will fetch a big price.
When USDA finally shut down the 84 year olds’ breeding activities in August of 2006 an era of abuse came much closer to an end. A friend of Baudy’s had managed to place all but four tigers by May 14, 2007. If she could not find a home for these last four tigers she was going to have them euthanized on May 18th because she could no longer afford the time and resources needed to care for the cats.
TJ, Bella, Modnic, and Trucha were the last four cats that needed a home and Big Cat Rescue stepped in to provide one. On May 18th, 2007, Rescuers transported the four to their new home at BCR. They now have spacious grassy enclosures with shrubs and trees, large mountain dens, and pools to cool off in.
Bella starred in Fatal Attractions 2011 as a stand in for the tiger who was killed after mauling a worker at Savage Kingdom.
See some of the deleted scenes Fatal Attractions – Tigers Unleashed, about TJ and Bella tigers: http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/fatal-attractions/videos/tigers-rescued-deleted-scene.htm
In August 2013 Bella was diagnosed with cancer. It is already spread throughout her blood system, so we wanted to give her some sense of freedom before being freed from her earthly body. On August 14th she trotted through the connected tiger tunnels out to the Vacation Rotation enclosure. The pictures say the rest.