RIP Royale

Dear Friends

Rescuing animals from terrible captive conditions is one of the most satisfying things to be involved in and, over the years, Born Free has rescued dozens of animals from zoos and circuses and the like, and given them sanctuary in our rescue centres in South Africa, India, Uganda and more.

And so it is always sad when the life of one of those animals comes to an end.

Royale, the magnificent tiger that, along with five others, we rescued from an Italian circus ten years ago, was humanely put to sleep today. Our Big Cat Consultant, Tony Wiles, was in attendance when this took place and, of course, it was done in the most humane and compassionate way possible.

Royale was about 17 years old and, in my mind, undoubtedly his years cooped up in a tiny beast wagon as part of a travelling entertainment, took their toll on him as, sadly, seems to be the case with so many of the animals we rescue. However, what we can be totally confident about is that, for the last ten years of his life, he enjoyed the highest quality of care and, in India, an extensive natural environment.

Rescuing animals like Royale is a lottery. Sometimes, as was the case with Grenwich, the tiger we rescued from a circus in the UK back in 1988, they go on for ages. Grenwich died in 2006 nearly 20 years after his rescue. Others, as was the case with Kimba in 1997, lasted less than a month (the autopsy revealed that she was riddled with cancer) but one thing is for sure, we do the very best we can for every animal in our care and it is a privilege to do so.

Signing off.


5 Responses to “RIP Royale”

  1. Ellen Mikula Says:

    I have only just recently (last few years) become more aware of the rescue operations of organizations such as the Born Free Foundation, via the internet.

    As an Animal Communicator Wanna-be, I envy you for the work that you do.

    My own pets, and my research (books and workshops) have undeniably convinced me that animals (and plants) are emotional and sentient beings that yearn to consciously communicate with us, if only we could and would learn to listen.

    Of the wild creatures of the world, I’m especially fond of the big cats, elephants and dolphins/whales.

    I just discovered your blog! Thank you and I’ll be a steady reader.

    Ellen Mikula
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

  2. Mike Dooley Says:

    I was deeply saddened to learn today of Royale’s passing. I will always cherish the memories of meeting him for the first time at the sanctuary in Kent, and then my subsequent visits there to photograph Royale,Ginny and the other BFF cats.He was a magnificent tiger, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.


    I remember visiting Kent for an open day many years ago and met ROQUE and ROYALE and many more including the lions.
    It was that visit that prompted me to join Born Free which I feel is an honour.

  4. Jan Wright BVSc MRCVS Says:

    I am saddened to read the news about Royale. I had the privilege of being part of the rescue of the 5 tigers, (Royale, Taras, King, Harak and Zeudy), a few days in my life I will never forget. Royale certainly was magnificent, and it wasn’t until I returned to the sanctuary in Kent after the rescue that I truly appreciated how huge he was compared to the others. Thank you BFF for your great work in giving these beautiful creatures a second chance.

  5. Phil Davis Says:

    Sorry to hear that Royale has passed away.I had the great opportunity to work with Tony and your keepers down in Kent before the Tigers went to Banerghatti,at the time I was working with Tigercare.Keep up the good work.

    Best Regards
    Phil Davis