Nala was India’s sister, is perhaps the perfect tiger. She is beautifully proportioned and, though petite, she is everything you would expect a tiger to be. On November 29, 2004, she was officially retired from her years of performing as a traveling circus tiger. She arrived, along with three others, and was the last one unloaded late in the day as darkness descended. By the next day, she was lounging in the long grass as if she hadn’t a care in the world. At only nine years old, Nala was the youngest in the group of retirees.
After a few days of settling in, the circus veterinarian came to check out the tigers. She reported that they had all really warmed up since retiring. These cats were known as the benchwarmers, the second string, and had not had as much interaction or enrichment in their lives as the cats who were the most reliable performers. Perhaps, because of that, their keepers thought that these cats were not as sociable as others in the show. How wrong they were!
The circus keepers missed these cats and came back on their vacation for a visit. They were amazed to see how happy and content and people friendly these tigers had become. The night they came to Big Cat Rescue, the trainer who had worked with these cats for the last 14 years had tears in his eyes because he was so happy that they now had pools and would be living like kings. Nala now shares her days in a cat-a-tat on the lake next to her sister India. While we know that even life at Big Cat Rescue is not what these majestic creatures truly deserve, we are happy that we are able to provide them with an enriching environment.
3/27/09 Just 20 days after her sister India passed away, Nala the tigress was found dead this morning. She was fine last night at dinner time and had been seen just shortly before her death by cleaners and appeared normal. Her death appeared to be very sudden, with no sign of struggle (such as one would see with a seizure or poisoning), so we will not know the cause of death until the vet does her necropsy. All we do know for sure is that she didn’t suffer and that you made her last years her best years. Thank you all for loving and caring for each of these magnificent cats.
TRIBUTES FOR NALA
Goodbye sweet Nala! I am glad Agie and I got to spend time with you yesterday! I guess the breeze and all your friends, brothers and sisters needed you up there? Have a safe trip Nala and tell everyone in Heaven that we will never forget you and we will always love you all!!! Marie, Volunteer Senior Keeper
oh my god… I had just seen her thursday when I was doing lock outs. I told her how beautiful she was and we chuffed back and forth. When losing a cat here we most always expect it… but this.. It took my breath away to see this post.
Nala, you were greatly loved by everyone… and to lose you so suddenly is heartbreaking. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to care and love you.Shiloh, Volunteer Senior Keeper
Nala was the most beautiful tiger in the world. Such a shock to lose her. Willow, Volunteer Keeper
When I saw you Friday, you were sleeping peacefully. I dare not call you and disturb you. Was India lonely without you? Is that why you left us so suddenly? You both were so beautiful…Rosie, Volunteer Senior Keeper
My heart hurts once again at this unexpected loss. You sort of prepare for the aged ones, but the unexpected ones are a huge shock. Nala was a sweet girl and was happy to see most people. She always had a chuff for me….what a huge loss to us…and way too soon…Regina, Volunteer Senior Keeper