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.
Tributes to Bella Tiger
Unknown Oct 22, 2013
I vividly remember the first time I seen you, it was a few weeks into starting at BCR and my heart skipped a beat at the sight of this beautiful tiger and I fell in love!
I miss you lots, what a beautiful tiger with such a loving personality. I’m glad I was able to be part of your life and see you enjoy so much here 🙂 xx
LaWanna Mitchell Oct 21, 2013
Sweet Wild Bella, Memories of you are cherished. Photos of you are treasured. The things you taught us are many. The tears falling now for you are just as many. You will long be remembered and your story will continue to be one that teaches people about the plight of big cats. I will miss seeing you stalking TJ, hiding in the brush waiting for him so you could pounce out and surprise him. Memories of you up on the top of your platform gazing out over the lake with the early morning sun glistening on your beautiful stripes is something many will never forget. Seeing you hopping down off your platform to chase the golf cart in hopes of begging for a treat is another memory we will not soon forget. The way you used to stand with your front paws up on your pool lifting your nose high and sucking in the gentle breeze off the lake then chuffing in pleasure always made me smile. Run free, Miss Bella. Your old friends Modnic and Trucha are waiting for you. You mattered, your life mattered. We promise to never forget you and to often use your life’s story to teach others.
Jennifer Ruszczyk Oct 17, 2013
It has been wonderful to see Bella get a second chance on life. When she came to BCR she and TJ seemed to have given up on life. You coud see that happiness tigers have in their eyes was gone. I am proud to have been part of giving her back the gift of life. All good things must come to an end though. I will miss your happy eyes and eager chuffs when I would come over to say hi. Rest in peace.
Desmond. Fowles Oct 17, 2013
” BELLA ”
1. About eight thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine
Is the number of Tigers around at this time
A few days ago there was one Tiger more
But the wonderful Bella is with us no more
2. She lived with us in the Sanctuary here
Spending her days in peace, without fear
She lived next to T. J. her long time friend
And he was close by her right to the end.
3. She was aptly named the beautiful one
This skittish, wild Tiger so full of fun
These days at Big Cat were the best of her life
These days in retirement, these days without strife.
4. We will miss you dear Bella but life must go on
You will be remembered by the words of this song
Remembering you, both at rest and at play
In your home at Big Cat between Al and T. J.
Erin Carden Oct 15, 2013
We will all miss you, gorgeous girl, but I’m glad your pain is gone. I will miss your friendly chuffs, and I am forever grateful I had the chance to get to know you. You were so calm and ready to go, that is the only thing that keeps me at ease. Love you, beautiful Bella Bella!
Unknown Oct 15, 2013
I will miss you Bella, you and me always had a love I want to eat you relationship and I wouldn’t have changed that for the world. I can’t wait til the day that I can see you again, I am happy that you are in a better place free from cancer and pain. I love you.
BethAnn Bluder Oct 13, 2013
Good-bye sweet Bella. I visited with you for awhile before I left on vacation, I was afraid you would be gone when I got back. You were so sweet, always there with a friendly chuff. I will miss you.
Regina Rinaldi Oct 13, 2013
Oh Bella my baby!!!! I made you a promise and I wasn’t there to keep it!! Mommy is so sorry Bella. I’ve lost all my favorites now and a huge piece of my heart has gone with Bella. I saw her Tuesday and the light was gone from her eyes and my heart broke then. My baby girl is gone!!! I will miss you most of allmy Bella, but you’re free now. Find Snorkel and Nini and they will show you the tall grass to run and a huge pool to swim. Mommy loves you Bella!!!
Unknown Oct 13, 2013
About a month after I started volunteering at BCR I was fortunate to be able to take a walk out to see Bella when she was on vacation. She looked so regal and happy sitting on the platform out there surveying her new domain. Thank you to all that worked so hard to improve Bella’s life.
Big Cat Education Oct 13, 2013
My heart breaks at the loss of Bella. She was so beautiful and so sweet. She was my operant cat for almost a year, and it was just a joy to give her treats and have her talk to me. She was a gentle cat with a very thoughtful demeanor. I thought that we would have more time with her! I will miss her very much.
Marie Schoubert Oct 13, 2013
All losses are terribly sad… but Bella… oh Bella!!! I became so attached to her from day one! Training her and giving her treats EVERY DAY was all I was looking for every single day at BCR! (sorry ABob, you are not the only one!). Last week was still a good week together… many treats and chuffs… but this week… oh I could tell you were not feeling good and you were ready… I am so glad I was able to say goodbye to you in the name of all of us who love you and could not be there to do so. I promise everybody that I whispered to Bella how BIG our love is and will always be for her! I will never forget all the good times we spent together Bella. R.I.P. my love!
Pam Rodriguez Oct 13, 2013
A wonderful creature, and will be sorely missed by all.
Thank you to everyone who took such great care of Bella.
Carole Baskin Oct 12, 2013
Bella was on death’s door when we rescued her all those many years ago in 2007 and I watched her so closely, for so long, worrying that every day would be her last, that it made me appreciate every day I had with her.