5 June 2023 – Two weeks ago, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS returned to Argentina after last year’s rescue of four tigers from a train carriage. During its second South American rescue mission, the team of vets and wildlife experts rescued two tigers from mistreatment at an illegal breeding farm in Balcarce in Buenos Aires province. On 21 May, 18-year-old Fangio and five-year-old Charly arrived safely at their new home, Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife, which FOUR PAWS runs together with the Princess Alia Foundation.
Following an adjustment period after the 60-hour journey from Argentina to Jordan, both tigers have now received a veterinary examination. Based on the results their future care is tailored to their specific needs after they have been neglected all their lives.
On 31 May, Fangio and Charly, named after Argentinian race driver Juan Manuel Fangio and musician Charly Garcia respectively, were examined and Charly was castrated. While former circus tiger Fangio was released into an outdoor adaption enclosure and started to curiously explore the natural surroundings, Charly still needs monitoring after the surgery before both tigers will be released into their spacious outdoor enclosure.
The FOUR PAWS team was unable to perform a veterinary check of the tigers prior to and during the rescue due to its urgency. Therefore, and because tigers are very sensitive animals and their medical history was unknown to the team, a timely medical check was important to ensure they receive the tailored care they need. FOUR PAWS vets Dr Amir Khalil and Dr Marina Ivanova, who led the rescue team, performed the vet check together with Dr Frank Göritz and Dr Julia Bohner from the Leibnitz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW).
“Charly will need further treatment and an adjusted diet for abnormalities on his kidneys and liver. We assume this is due to the fact that he was taken from his mother at a very young age and inappropriately cared for and fed since. We castrated him to reduce his testosterone level and relieve some of the stress and he is recovering well after the surgery. Overall, we are happy to see his condition has improved already since his arrival at Al Ma’wa. Fangio has mutilations on his tail, ears, claws, and teeth that likely come from his time at the circus. He is very skinny and dehydrated, so we need to get him into better shape fast. We have laid the foundation for a better life for Fangio and Charly, now we can watch them grow into it and finally live out behaviours natural for tigers,”
Dr Amir Khalil, FOUR PAWS vet
Sustainable solutions and legal change are key to improve animal welfare in Argentina
“There is much more to be done for captive big cats in Argentina, and Fangio and Charly are symbols of hope. FOUR PAWS is willing to support the authorities in Argentina in finding local and sustainable long-term solutions to make sure we can improve the lives of as many captive big cats in need as possible. The success of our 13 wild animal sanctuaries and cooperation projects worldwide shows what a huge difference we can make for mistreated animals once they live in species-appropriate surroundings. We not only rescue animals from harmful keeping conditions, we also protect them and care for them in an environment as close to their natural living conditions as possible. Above all, we advocate for legal frameworks in favour of animal welfare to achieve long-lasting change for captive animals, not only in Argentina but globally. With these efforts, we were able to help end cruel forms of bear keeping in multiple European countries, among other impactful successes,” says Luciana D’Abramo, Chief Development Officer at FOUR PAWS.
It is estimated by FOUR PAWS that there are at least 200 big cats living in suboptimal conditions and in need of help in the country. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is currently working on adjustments to the animal welfare law. FOUR PAWS has offered its expertise and support to the authorities to work together on improving animal welfare for big cats and other animals in Argentina and advises the implementation of measures to stop the illegal breeding and trade with wild animals.
Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife: A home for rescued wild animals in Jordan
Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife was established in 2011 as a partnership between FOUR PAWS and the Princess Alia Foundation. It provides a regional solution for rescued wild animals and offers emergency relief to animals from crisis areas in the Middle East. The sanctuary functions as a lifelong home for rescued big cats, bears, wolves and hyenas, as well as for a number of primates, birds and reptiles that were kept in inadequate conditions in zoos, circuses or private captivity. The environment created for the animals offers highest standards with regards to species-appropriate and spacious living conditions, veterinary care and security.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.
Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au