UK home for Costa tigers
Isle of Wight Zoo rehomes rescued circus tigers
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