hear big catsDes (FKA Desiree)

Male Serval
DOB unknown
Rescued  10/11/2009

Died June 26, 2023

Serval Rescue! An African Serval was limping along in the Arizona desert until he collapsed alongside a road.

He had almost completely given up the will to live. He was probably a pet or perhaps used in the hybrid breeding scheme that has become all the rage where Servals are bred to domestic house cats to produce Savannah Cat hybrids. The domestic cats are often killed in the process. The kittens sell for thousands of dollars, but when they mature they typically spray and bite and make awful pets. The hybrids are usually discarded by the time they are two or three years old.

This Serval was obviously abandoned and was placed by authorities at the Tucson Wildlife Center, a non-profit sanctuary dedicated to native wildlife. Lisa Bates-Lininger the founding president of the Tucson Wildlife Center said, “She was dehydrated and tired and just ready to give up. She may have died last night, but luckily we got her in. We got her emergency treatment, fluids for shock, and she’s also missing a rear leg.” (It was years later, when we first sedated Desiree, that we discovered she was a he.)

Despite 18 media posts including TV news in Tucson and a post on Craig’s list looking for the owner but no one admits to having abandoned this Serval to die in the desert.  Thanks to some very generous supporters the serval was flown to her new permanent home at Big Cat Rescue where she is recovering well.  Servals can live into their late teens and proper care is thousands of dollars each year. His new 1,200 square foot Cat-a-tat had to be specially modified to accommodate her three-legged hopping. It seems that he only recently lost his leg as he has a very difficult time keeping his balance.  We wrote to the vets in the Tucson area to find out if any of them know what tragedy caused him to lose a limb and to see if there is any way to prosecute those who exposed her to such danger, but never heard any more.

Des Serval sees the vet 12 04 2018

March 28, 2019

Des Serval in his favorite afternoon napping spot!

Des Serval in his favorite afternoon napping spot!

August 3, 2019

Des gets treats from his keepers!

May 24, 2020

Lisa sings to Des Serval

January 20, 2021

Des Serval sees the vet for a check up. 2 part video:

January 5, 2022

Birthday enrichment for Des Serval!

May 5, 2022

Des Serval moves to Serval row!

December 3, 2022

Des Serval

UPDATE June 26, 2023

I regret to bring you even more heartbreaking news today. We have had to say goodbye to another member of our extended family, Dez, our brave and resilient three-legged serval. Dez, born around 2005, has been a symbol of courage, adaptability, and spirit for us all. His perseverance despite his physical challenges, the joy he exuded, and his remarkable spirit left a profound mark on everyone who had the good fortune to meet him. As you may know, Dez has been grappling with thyroid problems, liver failure, kidney disease, and joint complications from having only three legs. Our veterinarians and caregivers, supported by many of you, have given their all to manage his conditions, alleviate his discomfort, and provide him with the best possible quality of life. However, despite our best efforts and constant care, Dez’s health began to deteriorate. Due to his increasing kidney failure, he was surrounded by flies yesterday, so we brought him in to the Recovery Hospital to alleviate that aggravation. We were now forced to face the agonizing reality that we could no longer provide the life of dignity and comfort that he deserved. After comprehensive consultation with our veterinary team, we made the difficult decision to euthanize him.Please know that this decision, though heartrending, was driven by our unwavering commitment to Dez’s welfare and our unwillingness to let him suffer. We chose peace for Dez, a choice that was no less than an act of profound love. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you – our committed staff, selfless volunteers, and generous supporters. Your compassion for Dez, the time you spent caring for him, and your relentless support throughout his journey has been a lifeline for him and a testament to the kindness of humanity. Your dedication is invaluable, and I am eternally grateful. As we mourn the loss of Dez, I encourage you to remember him as the symbol of resilience he was. Let his memory fuel our collective efforts to protect, care for, and respect all the other animals we have the honor of sharing our lives with. While Dez’s footprints may no longer mark our paths, his memory will remain etched in our hearts. As we grieve, let’s find solace in the fact that Dez is now free from pain and that his life was filled with love and respect, thanks to you. Thank you for being with us during these trying times and for demonstrating the power of empathy and compassion. As we celebrate Dez’s life and legacy, may his memory empower us to continue our crucial work with renewed passion. With heartfelt gratitude and sympathy, to all the Big Cat Rescue crew.

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  1. Our condolences on the loss of Des. Thank you all for taking care of him for so many years.

  2. What a gorgeous furbaby!! Desiree is a fitting name for her, too!! Thank you, to whomever found and saved her. Please continue!!! I hope she recovers and thrives – poor baby girl deserves it, I would think. Go get those stupid jerks who hurt her!!!

  3. Thank you for helping her and taking her in. I think it should if it isn't already against the law for people to bring these animals into the U.S. to use for what ever. These people that did this to her need to be jailed for years.

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