UK home for Costa tigers

Isle of Wight Zoo re­homes res­cued cir­cus tigers

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Shel­ley Lid­dell In­for­ma­tion and pho­tos pro­vided by AAP An­i­mal Ad­vo­cacy and Pro­tec­tion

FIVE cir­cus tigers, taken in by a res­cue cen­tre in Vil­lena in Oc­to­ber 2017, are now en­joy­ing life at the Isle of Wight Zoo.

The three fe­male and two male tigers - Natasha, Zoppa, An­tonella, Girona and Mondo – had spent all their lives per­form­ing at the Wonderland Cir­cus, but thanks to grow­ing pub­lic re­pulse to­wards wild an­i­mals per­form­ing, Wonderland Cir­cus vol­un­tar­ily ended its pe­for­mances with wild an­i­mals.

Their tigers were taken in by Spain’s AAP Foun­da­tion which quar­an­tines and re­ha­bil­i­tates cir­cus an­i­mals but as space and re­sources are re­quired for on­go­ing res­cue ef­forts, the Isle of Wight Zoo stepped in to of­fer the tigers a for­ever home.

An­tonella ar­rived at the Vil­lena cen­tre in very bad con­di­tion, with weight prob­lems and a bro­ken leg. The AAP ve­teri­nary team per­formed a tibia op­er­a­tion and which sub­stan­tially im­proved her qual­ity of life.

The IOW zoo, which forms part of The Wild­heart trust pro­vides the ac­com­mo­da­tion and care el­e­ment of the char­ity’s work with big cats and ex­otic an­i­mals – sup­port­ing res­cue projects and rais­ing aware­ness of the plight of an­i­mals who be­come vic­tims of the cir­cus and pet trade.

Trust founder Char­lotte Cor­ney and her part­ner, wildlife TV pre­sen­ter Chris Pack­ham, vis­ited the tigers in Spain to plan their jour­ney.

Dur­ing that time, their team on the is­land con­structed new fa­cil­i­ties at the zoo to ac­com­mo­date the new tigers.

AAP’s CEO David van Gen­nep ex­plained “Mov­ing five big cats from Ali­cante to the Isle of Wight was a mas­sive lo­gis­ti­cal op­er­a­tion, and one that had to be done with the high­est an­i­mal wel­fare and se­cu­rity stan­dards. Our trucks crossed Spain and France, trans­fered to the Eurostar in Calais to pass the Euro­tun­nel, and then drove along the English South coast and, for the last leg of the trip, they took the ferry to Isle of Wight. Not some­thing for the faint of heart.”

The tigers left on June 20 and ar­rived safely on the Isle of Wight on June 22.

Char­lotte said, “We know that the tigers have been cared for in the mag­nif­i­cent fa­cil­i­ties of AAP af­ter a life of hard­ship at the cir­cus. Their long jour­ney has fi­nally come to an end: this is home.”

Wild­cat par­adise at the Isle of Wight Zoo

At the APP Foun­da­tion in Vil­lena

Cir­cus life

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