Rescued tiger going to NC facility, gets landmark restaurant leftovers

Nine months after the closing of the Triangle Metro Zoo, Rajah will find refuge at a wildlife sanctuary in Pittsboro while still receiving meat from the landmark Raleigh restaurant

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (Nov. 13, 2006) — Few animals, or people for that matter, eat as well as Rajah, a 500-pound Bengal tiger. For the past several years, Rajah, formerly a resident of the recently closed Triangle Metro Zoo in Wake Forest, has enjoyed the luxury of feeding on Angus beef leftovers from the nationally-acclaimed Angus Barn restaurant in Raleigh.

The beloved tiger will find his new home at the Carnivore Preservation Trust (CPT), a sanctuary for big cats and other exotic animals in Pittsboro. Van Eure, an avid supporter of the former Triangle Metro Zoo and owner of the Angus Barn, is adamant about not letting her old friend go hungry.

“We are so thankful that Rajah will be right down the road,” Eure said. “And, of course we will continue to bring him our leftover meat. I would not have it any other way.”

Eure played an integral role in finding a new home for Rajah, according to former Triangle Metro Zoo Owner Larry Seibel. With pen, paper and cell phone in hand, Eure jumped right in with her enthusiasm and community connections determined to find a home for Rajah, the only animal left at the Triangle Metro Zoo.

This was no easy task.

“There aren’t a lot of places for big cats like Rajah to go,” Seibel explained.

Behind the Scenes

Rajah’s story – one of abuse and neglect – did not begin as happily as it has ended. “Rajah was a shadow of himself when I rescued him,” Seibel, an expert in exotic animal care, said. “He did not have his stripes because he was so weak and emaciated.”

Seibel and his staff saved Rajah from his neglectful owners, and nursed him back to health to the handsome creature he is today. He is part of a growing number of more than 15,000 big cats that are being kept as pets in the United States, according to the Humane Society.

“Private residents are buying tigers for pets, but they end up with much more than they bargained for,” Seibel explained. “It’s the cats that often pay the price.”

Home for Good

After encountering numerous challenges involving money, location and time constraints, Eure and Seibel finally found Rajah a home at an animal sanctuary in their own backyard – CPT.

“We will miss Rajah, but we’re more excited that he’s going to have a home for the rest of his life,” Seibel said.

In addition, the North Carolina Zoo is making the costly transition a little easier by providing a quarantine facility for Rajah for the next 30 to 60 days. Quarantine is a standard procedure all animals must go through to prevent the spread of disease in the facility.

“We are so excited about Rajah coming to live with us,” said Pam Fulk, executive director of CPT. “And, since we are in the process of saving money for a quarantine facility of our own, we are so grateful to the North Carolina Zoo for taking Rajah in the meantime.”

Bucks and Bread

CPT still needs about $50,000 to make their quarantine facility a reality, according to Fulk. To make donations, visit the CPT Web site at www.cptigers.org and click on “Rescuing Rajah.”

“This new quarantine facility is so important for CPT,” Eure said. “Without donations, they can’t afford to build the structure and rescue any more animals like Rajah.”

Eure will coordinate in-kind food donations from area restaurants willing to donate their leftovers to the animals at CPT. “It’s a creative way to recycle food that would have been thrown out anyway,” Eure said. “We can all do our part to help these wonderful animals.”

To learn more about Rajah, the Angus Barn or donating leftover food to animals like Rajah, please contact Jamie L. Martin at (919) 420-6072 or via e-mail at jmartin@marketsmart.net.

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