Tsezar seemed doomed to die. Without food or water, he and five other tigers were abandoned at a private club in Kiev, Ukraine. Their owner, a well-known businessman in the area, packed up and disappeared in 2019, leaving the six tigers without any way to survive on their own.
Fortunately, they were found just in time by local animal activists. However, the condition of the tigers at the time was appalling. The animals were dehydrated, malnourished, and lying in their own excrement. Tsezar's small cage with his companion tigress Kleopatra was at an awkward angle, and as soon as the water rose from the nearby river, their enclosure was flooded. At the time of their rescue in January, the ice was thawing, and the bottom of the cage was under water.
This is not the only suffering Tsezar and Kleopatra had to endure. They were also used for intensive breeding; despite the fact they are likely brother and sister, they are also probably the parents of, at least, the four other tigers at the private club.
Quick Action Needed
The animal activists intervened as quickly as possible and a permanent home was found for four of the tigers. But for Tsezar and Kleopatra, only a temporary space was available, and a local rescue center agreed to take them in while a permanent solution was found.
FOUR PAWS rushed to find a solution for the tigers. Unfortunately, the paperwork needed to export a tiger from Ukraine took many months to prepare, as CITES is very strict for certain animals in Ukraine. This combined with COVID-19 travel restrictions meant it was impossible to transfer the tigers quickly. Tragically, the female Kleopatra was diagnosed with severe lung cancer and sadly died at the rescue center.
A transfer to a new life
Tsezar remained alone, until we could bring him to FELIDA. He arrived on October 22, 2021. It was an exhausting journey, so the whole team was extremely proud of how well Tsezar coped with the long transport to the Netherlands. FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary is especially suited for the specialized care of traumatized big cats, making it the ideal place for a tiger like Tsezar. In the company of other big cats, like tigress Dehli, he has a second chance at life; one with suitable living conditions and all the care and attention he deserves.
Already feeling at home at FELIDA
It's amazing how resilient animals can be. The first few days at our FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary were stressful for Tsezar, but within just a week, he became very comfortable in his new home. He explores everything calmly, eats well, is curious about Tigress Dehli, friendly to his caretakers, and above all loves his hammock!
Update December 2021
Having just been at FELIDA for a brief time, tiger Tsezar is doing well. He is currently in an enclosure of 150 square metres. But eventually, we will extend the enclosure, as like many of the animals who arrive at the sanctuary, the caretakers don't want to overwhelm him at first.
His enclosure is filled with numerous exciting enrichments for him, such as climbing structures with a ramp so that he doesn't feel the need to immediately jump, but take his time to walk up to such heights. He also already loves his little pool and the greenery around the enclosure – something he has never experienced before!
In general, Tsezar's health is okay. Nevertheless, his caretakers have noticed that he consumes a lot of water, which is a common symptom of kidney issues in big cats. According to the blood results, his kidneys are not at their best, so the onsite team will keep a close eye on them and monitor him carefully.
Tigress Dehli is his neighbour, and he is starting to connect with her already by making contacts while chuffing with each other, rubbing through the fence but of course not all the time, also it's not in tiger's behaviour to socialise a lot as they are solitary animals. But the onsite team believes that he likes her and that they are already companions.
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