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Posted in Memorials, Rescues, Tigers, Videos | 0 comments

Simba

SIMBA

tigers simbaFemale Siberian Tiger

DOB 6/8/94 – 11/24/11 (Thanksgiving Day)

 

Simba was owned by a woman in Ohio who had declawed Simba and had the cat’s large canine teeth pulled. Supposedly this made Simba “safer” to be with people.

 

The woman would chain Simba to the ground with short chains so the tied down cat could not stand or turn to bite people.  Then the woman would charge visitors to go in with Simba and straddle her to take photos.

 

After years of people getting hurt, the woman finally lost her USDA license. But she kept operating without a license because there was no enforcement.  When the woman was finally evicted from the property some years later for not paying rent, she just left, abandoning Simba.

 

Thanks to the supporters like you Simba now has a safe, peaceful permanent home at Big Cat Rescue.   She has a very warm personality and will approach the side of her enclosure and greet passers by with an enthusiastic “chuff”.

 

A beautiful tiger, with a rich cinnamon colored coat, she is probably one of the friendliest tigers at the sanctuary. Simba loves to spend the heat of the afternoon in the cool shade of her den and just before dark she lounges peacefully in the grasses looking out over the lake.

 

The Saddest Thanksgiving Day Ever!

 

Simba the tigress died on Thanksgiving Day.  She was 17 and had been in renal failure for a while but in the end it was her precious little heart that gave out.

 

Thanks to Big Cat Rescuers who were on site tonight we were able to remove her from her cat-a-tat.  Thank you Jamie, Gale, Chris, Willow, Regina and Chelsea for being with her when she died and helping with her afterward.  I know that Simba was thankful for all of you who helped her ease from this life to the next over the past few months.
Julie set up a memorial page for Simba the tiger here:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/simba-tiger

A Lion Pride of a Different Stripe

 

Joseph the lion and Nikita the tiger, his best friendIt took the combined efforts of USDA, undercover agents and concerned citizens seven years to shut down Diana McCourt (aka Cziraky) and her Siberian Tiger Foundation. It wasn’t until her landlords, Donnalynn and Christian Laver were able to evict her from the property that Knox County was able to seize the six cats who had been used for years as props in Diana McCourt’s “tiger training” scheme.

 

By the end of the ordeal eye witnesses said that the cats were starving and they still have inadequate shelter from the elements.

 

Even though McCourt lost her USDA license to operate the tiger-tamer camp in 2000, and permanently in 2006, she still continued to charge people to come into her back yard in Gambier, OH and pet the adult lions and tigers.

 

The cats would often be chained down so that people could touch them or have their photos made with the cats.

 

To make the cats more pliable McCourt had their teeth and claws removed. (Joseph still has his canine teeth) Despite the abusive violations to their bodies and mobility, the USDA investigation included eight allegations of attacks on visitors in an 8 month period.

 

 

In May of 2007 Diana McCourt emailed Carole Baskin asking if she could move her operation to Tampa and bring her cats to Big Cat Rescue.  Our response was that her cats were welcome here but her brand of animal abuse was not.  By August McCourt had been evicted and Knox County was awarded custody of the four tigers and two lions.  Dean Vickers, the State Director for the Ohio branch of the HSUS contacted Big Cat Rescue and asked if we could take the cats, but six more big cats increases our annual budget by $45,000.00.

Sasha the lioness was used as a prop by the Siberian Tiger FoundationWhen Sarabi, our lioness died, her half acre enclosure was opened up so that Nikita our only other lioness could have the run of both half acre enclosures.  This large enclosure has an open roof and is only suitable for lions because they don’t climb, or very old, declawed tigers, who would be unable to climb.  Taking on two lions, age 9 and 13, who have a 20 year life expectancy means a cost of $15,000.00 annually and $150,000.00 in the long run.  Lions often end up in canned hunts, especially males who are coveted as wall trophies, so we felt certain our donors would help us rescue these two cats.  Our board convened and agreed that the lions would be rescued as soon as we could make travel arrangements for them.

Nikita and Simba the tigers who make up Joseph's prideCalling with the good news, that at least the lions would be spared, we were told by the landlord, who has been caring for the cats since evicting Diana McCourt, that the male tiger, Nikita, would be heartbroken that his best friend in the world, Joseph the lion, would be leaving.  As the conversation unfolded it appears that for the last 13 years, two tigers and two lions have shared a cage.  (Joseph only coming along in the past 9 yrs)  Instead of being elated for the lions, we now felt sick that they would be separated from the only pride (albeit tigers) they had ever known.  And thinking about how they would feel, of course, led to thinking about how the tigers left behind would feel.

We appealed to our supporters, asking if they would be willing to help us rescue all four cats who have lived together and the response was an overwhelming, “YES!”

Joseph the lion shares his dinner with Nikita the male tigerOn Oct. 19th Big Cat Rescue’s President Jamie Veronica, VP Cathy Neumann, Operations Manager Scott Lope and Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wynn, DVM flew to Columbus, OH to rendezvous with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) staff and a driver and vet tech from the Animal Sanctuary of the United States (ASUS) at the Columbus Zoo at 6 am on the morning of the 20th.  From there the entourage drove an hour to the Gambier, OH facility and met with the property owner and the Knox County Animal Control Officer, Rich Reed who had been granted possession of the six cats.

Within just a few hours all of the cats were safely loaded and on the way to Florida where they arrived at 6 am the morning of the 21st.  While the weary drivers slept, the Big Cat Rescue team unloaded Nikita, Simba, Sasha and Joseph into their new enclosure, which is a little more than half an acre of lakeside living with high grass, cave like dens and hills from which they can survey their new kingdom.

Joseph the lion sucks his thumb because of emotional scars from being taken from his mother too youngWe let you know that the rescue would cost us $34,000.00* and 294 of you responded.  As of 11/16/07 $29,435.00 has been raised to save these four cats. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) agreed to help rescue the last two cats and IFAW paid to transport all six cats to their final destinations. That saved us $4,000.00! We are now only $565.00 short of what this rescue will cost us in the first year. Thank you everyone who has helped so far!  If you haven’t helped yet, keep in mind that your donations are tax deductible and that these cats rely entirely on your generosity.

See slideshow of photos taken 9/26/07 in Ohio: Siberian Tiger Foundation


The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) agreed to help rescue and place the last two cats, Sierra and Ekaterina who are now at Wildcat Sanctuary.

Sierra the white tiger lives with Ekaterina and still needs a home too! Ekaterina the tigress lives with Sierra the white tiger and still needs a home too!
Sierra the white tigress Ekaterina the tigress

Should there be any surplus in the donations made to this rescue they will be used for the continued care of the cats.

 

 

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