Earlier this year, thanks to your donations, Born Free gave a 15-year-old tiger a loving home with our friends at Animanatura Wild Sanctuary in Tuscany, Italy. Rescued from a shoddy zoo in Spain, Sandro had endured years in a shockingly barren enclosure. Thankfully, after years of Born Free campaigning along with other animal welfare organisations in Spain, Ayamonte Zoo closed in 2019.
But, this is just the beginning of Born Free’s relationship with Sandro and we are now raising funds to give him the expert care he deserves for the rest of his life. Your donations will help provide nutritious food, daily enrichment, plus any medical treatment needed. He currently lives in a temporary enclosure – albeit filled with grass, trees and a small pond for dipping. But, with your help, we want to give him a spectacular, spacious natural habitat enclosure – light years from his confined and deprived life at the Spanish zoo.
£5 could buy health-enhancing vitamins
£14 could buy two day’s nutritious food
£195 could buy one week’s loving and expert care
£3,500 could build a climbing platform (tigers love a good view of their surroundings)
£10,130 could look after Sandro for one year including food and care
£21,000 would help develop a spacious new enclosure
TIGERS IN CRISIS
Sandro at his sanctuary home © AWS
Interestingly, Born Free’s very first animal rescue project in 1987 was six Bengal tigers kept in a squalid ‘beast wagon’ at Cross Brothers Circus in Kent, UK. Thanks to overwhelming public support, funds were raised to take them to a 15-acre forest sanctuary in their spiritual home of India. Since then, Born Free has rescued many tigers from appalling conditions in zoos, circuses and the pet trade, taking the majority to our tiger sanctuary in Bannerghatta National Park in southern India.
“The sanctuary provides rescued tigers with space, peace and privacy in an area of the park closed to visitors,” explains Maggie Balaskas, Born Free’s Head of Rescue & Care. “We began managing the expansive, natural habitat sanctuary nearly 20 years ago, working closely with our partner in India, Wildlife SOS. With your help, Born Free has transformed the lives of many tigers – rescued from appalling conditions where they have been confined, exploited, abused or persecuted by people.
Bannerghatta also provides a home to wild-born individuals who have been casualties of ‘human-tiger’ conflict in India. Eleven-year-old Gopal is one such tiger, targeted when found to be preying on cattle and goats. He had been injured and was at risk of being killed by people when captured by the Indian authorities, who considered it too risky to release him back to the wild. So, in 2014 we gave this bold tiger a lifetime home at Bannerghatta, reinforcing his enclosure to make it safe. With expert veterinary treatment from our colleagues at Wildlife SOS, he recovered well from his wounds and today Gopal is flourishing.
He lives in an expansive enclosure or 'kraal', with indigenous forest habitat – trees to climb and dense vegetation to hide amongst. He loves to lie and relax in his fresh water pool and the care team provide environmental enrichment, such as scent trails and concealing food in trees and bushes. This allows Gopal to exercise natural behaviours such as scent-tracking and searching for meals. Of course, sadly, this is not the same as the freedom and challenges he would enjoy living on his wits in the wild. But, at Bannerghatta, he is given the respect and privacy he deserves, and as natural a life as possible.
Born Free will continue to work tirelessly to protect tigers in the wild, rescue individuals from appalling conditions, and campaign to end their captive exploitation – whether abused for ‘entertainment’, kept as pets or farmed for their body parts. And, with your generous support, we will ensure Sandro and Gopal can enjoy enriched lives worth living.