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Confiscated Tiger Cub with Severe Bone Disease

Finds Home at PAWS Sanctuary

San Andreas, CA (April 9, 2024) – Yesterday, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) received a nine-month-old tiger cub with a serious bone condition, confiscated in February by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Prior to the tiger’s transfer to PAWS, she received medical treatment at the Oakland Zoo. PAWS operates a 2,300-acre captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif., that provides a permanent home for rescued and retired tigers, elephants, bears, and other wild animals.


“We are very grateful to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for taking swift action to save the life of this ailing tiger,” stated CEO Chris Draper, PhD. “We also thank the Oakland Zoo for their care and treatment of this special tiger, who we enthusiastically welcome to her permanent home at our sanctuary. She will have everything she needs to be comfortable and well cared for as she begins a new life at PAWS.”


As a result of inadequate nutrition, the tiger cub has a severe and painful condition known as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) that causes the bones to dangerously weaken, break, and even shatter. She was found to have ten bone fractures, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking. Due to the severity of her condition, the tiger will always bear the effects of the disease.


“While the tiger will never be completely normal, her overall condition has greatly improved under the care of Oakland Zoo, and we are cautiously optimistic that she will continue to improve in our care at PAWS,” said Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai. “Many animals come to the sanctuary with a host of problems caused by the conditions of their captivity, and our staff have expertise in addressing their special medical and nutritional needs.”


At the sanctuary, the tiger will be provided with the specialized support she requires for the rest of her life, while living in a more natural environment. Her enclosure and care are designed to address any physical limitations.


“Lack of proper nutrition and care for captive wild cats is a form of abuse,” explained Director of Science, Research and Public Policy Catherine Doyle. “Metabolic Bone Disease causes terrible and unnecessary suffering, yet it is frequently seen in captive wild cats when rescued from private owners, breeders, and roadside zoos. Situations like this only reinforce our commitment to ending the exploitation and mistreatment of captive wild animals.”


Under the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act, passed in 2022 and championed by PAWS, it is now illegal for private individuals to own, breed and sell tigers and other captive big cats and exhibitors can no longer allow public contact with these animals.


Due to an ongoing legal case, PAWS is unable to provide specifics on the tiger’s origin or circumstances involving her confiscation.


For information about PAWS, visit

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About the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Founded in 1984, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) provides lifetime care for captive wild animals rescued or retired from circuses, zoos, and the exotic “pet” trade. PAWS’ 2,300-acre sanctuary located in San Andreas, California, provides a permanent home for elephants, bears, big cats, monkeys, and other wild animals.

PAWS is a true sanctuary, meaning that it does not buy, sell, trade, or breed animals, take them offsite for exhibition, or allow public contact with them.


PAWS is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and a founding member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance.

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