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The animals showed signs of serious neglect: how Four Paws saved two tigers from deplorable conditions

Plagued by stress and anxiety, I barely slept. That night, we met with both the Environmental Control Brigade and the Federal Police. The latter played a crucial role in ensuring our security throughout the mission. The next morning, upon arriving at the location, I felt gripped by tension and fear. A bone-chilling coldness coursed through my entire body.

  • 12 months ago
  • July 14, 2023
4 min read
INTERVIEW SUBJECT
Luciana D´A bramo is the chief development officer at FOUR PAWS, a company dedicated to helping animals around the world. She works with the national and regional offices to ensure synergies and global coordination during rescue missions. Her love for animals and the world led her on many rescue missions around the globe. She has over 15 years of cumulated experience working in large corporations and non-profit sectors.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In Argentina, the possession of exotic and non-native animals by individuals is strictly prohibited by law. The regulations stipulate that all big cats should reside in designated nature reserves. However, the enforcement of these laws remains infrequent. According to Four Paws’ estimations, there are approximately 200 big cats held in captivity in Argentina, enduring suboptimal living conditions and in need of assistance.

BALCARCE, Argentina — We strolled through the remains of animals scattered on the damp ground, witnessing the aftermath of a once-thriving space. The animals laid in deplorable conditions, their emaciated bodies telling a tale of neglect. The facilities themselves looked unsafe, on the edge of collapse. The cages, cramped and confined, were nothing more than flimsy enclosures of sheets and wires. They barely contained their occupants.

The sight of these poor, malnourished creatures broke my heart. At that moment, an overwhelming surge of emotions engulfed me, rendering me speechless. We decided right then and there to undertake the task of rescuing the tigers, held captive within an illegal private hatchery. 

Read more animal rescue stories at Orato World Media 

The start of our rescue mission proved much more difficult than anticipated 

One day, in 2021, we received a request from a woman alerting us of a unique case involving two tigers, previously part of a large-scale confiscation. Upon hearing the urgency in her voice, I promptly contacted the Ministry of the Environment and the Environmental Control Brigade to help solve the issue. The process became an arduous one, stretching over a considerable period of time. The true condition of the tigers remained unknown to us, leaving us in the dark regarding the extent of their deterioration.

We devised a plan to safely secure the animals, administer sedatives, and provide necessary treatment with the assistance of our skilled team of veterinarians. Working against the clock, we knew the scenario would be distressing. Finding a suitable housing arrangement for the tigers posed another crucial challenge, as it required specific conditions that not all of Four Paws’ 13 sanctuaries worldwide could accommodate.

This task entailed careful planning and meticulous preparation. We needed to ensure that the selected location wouldn’t turn the tigers into mere zoo exhibits, but rather provide them with a sanctuary.

After considerable effort, the tigers would be transported to Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife in Jordan, approximately 40 minutes away from the capital city of Amman. The team arrived a couple of days before the operation to thoroughly assess the entire route. The night before we conducted the operation felt interminable.

Plagued by stress and anxiety, I barely slept. That night, we met with both the Environmental Control Brigade and the Federal Police. The latter played a crucial role in ensuring our security throughout the mission. The next morning, upon arriving at the location, I felt gripped by tension and fear. A bone-chilling coldness coursed through my entire body.

As we stepped inside, the sight that unfolded before our eyes was haunting

Carcasses varying in colors and species lay scattered in disarray. We found ourselves treading among a multitude of lifeless bodies. Some objects looked unidentifiable, while others, such as elk horns and lamb pieces, could be identified. The entire environment lay permeated with filth, including a floor that was more mud than grass.

The enclosures holding the animals were constructed with rudimentary elements, rendering the creatures even more vulnerable. The containments consisted of a few sheets fastened together with wire. Additionally, a rail stretched across the property, where the owner had once tied a dog using a chain and a ring. 

We speculated that the equipment was likely employed for the transportation of the tigers. The cruelty of it all felt simply overwhelming. The two tigers we encountered displayed severe physical deterioration, indicative of long-term neglect. They required immediate medical attention. According to the hatchery owner, he obtained the adult tiger from a circus, while a trucker brought him the younger one. 

Our team administered anesthesia to the tigers. Once securely in their respective enclosures, we reversed the sedation to ensure they would remain awake throughout the journey.  At the Buenos Aires airport, we sent the animals on a flight to Jordan.

Today, both tigers show signs of successful recovery, albeit within limitations. Knowing we managed to save them fills my heart with joy. When I think of the number of animals living in poor conditions that still need to be rescued, I can’t help but feel a sense of duty. Throughout these missions, I strive to transform their lives forever, liberating them from the horrors they have endured.

All photos are courtesy of FOUR PAWS and Hristo Vladev.

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Translations provided by Orato World Media are intended to result in the end translated document being understandable in the end language. Although every effort is made to ensure our translations are accurate we cannot guarantee the translation will be without errors.

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