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Habitat Improvements
One of our 2016 goals is to improve our big cat habitats by installing climbing platforms. The platforms offer a great form of habitat enrichment by creating a multi-dimensional landscape for the animals to utilize. The roof provides great shade in the summer, and they can go under the platform to get out of the rain. Thanks to your contributions, we have started construction of the platforms, and two have already been installed in habitats! It's great to see how much the animals are enjoying them right off the bat! We still have a dozen platforms left to build and install, and you can get involved by donating to our platform fundraiser.
Rest In Peace
I can't believe that I am again the bearer of sad news. With so many senior animals here at the sanctuary it is to be expected that our oldest animals may be nearing the end of their lives - but that certainly doesn't make it any easier. I'm regretful to share that Mariah and Janina have both passed away.
On the afternoon of June 9, 2016 Mariah appeared to be experiencing some discomfort in her abdomen. She was reluctant to move, but when she did rise to stand she moved very slowly and arched her back. We called our primary veterinarian right away to come out and anesthetize her for further evaluation. An ultrasound revealed fluid in her uterus suggesting an infection, known as pyometra. We quickly transported Mariah to the veterinary clinic for an emergency spay that would remove the infected uterus. Unfortunately, Mariah's uterus had already ruptured spreading the infection throughout her body. Mariah was septic, and we knew the most humane thing to do was to let her go. We cried and held Mariah's sleeping body as she faded away. I know we did the right thing for Mariah, but I can't help but wish we had even one more day with her. 

Mariah was rescued from some of the worst conditions we have ever seen. Her and her sister, Sierra, shared an 8' x 8' dog kennel and were abused for many years by their previous owner. Despite their terrible start to life, amazingly they grew to trust, love, and play during their 8 years at National Tiger Sanctuary. I feel so grateful that we were able to give that to Mariah and that we can continue to do so for Sierra. Mariah will be lovingly remembered for her beauty, playfulness, and affectionate personality. 
In late June, Janina began leaving food from her daily diet. It wasn't unusual for Janina to leave a pound of food here or there, so we monitored her closely for any other changes. She was going outside, swimming in her pool, enjoying her platform, and chuffing at us - her behavior seemed completely normal. Perhaps her appetite was low because she was in heat or due to the extremely high summer temps or humidity. We started leaving food down in a pan for Janina overnight in case she found it more appealing to eat during cooler hours of the evening.  At first it seemed like this helped Janina increase her consumption, but with time her eating began to fluctuate again. We decided that it was time to sedate Janina for further testing, and we discovered that Janina's liver was failing. Sadly, there is nothing that can be done for a tiger with liver failure, and we didn't want to watch Janina waste away as her body failed her. On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, we made the devastating decision to help her pass away. Our necropsy confirmed that Janina's liver and lymphnodes were ridden with cancer, and the cancer had started to spread to her lungs. Although the comfort seems fleeting in light of the pain, it was nice to know we had made the right decision. 

Janina was rescued from a private owner in the state of Missouri that was being heavily fined for neglecting his exotic animals. When we arrived to save Janina it was a depressing scene - the tigers had no clean water, no enrichment, sparse bedding and piles of feces surrounded the cage. Despite Janina's terrible start to life, she was friendly, loving, and trusting of us from the first day we met her. I think that she knew we were rescuing her, and I believe that she was grateful for that. Janina will be remembered for her chuffy personality and love of a good enrichment box. 
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."
- Unknown -
Tigers By Twilight - Saturday, July 23, 2016
Our next Tigers By Twilight Tour will take place on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 9:00 pm. This unique evening tour gives you a totally different perspective of big cats as they stalk by the light of the moon! For those of you that do not have tiger vision, don't forget to bring a low-light flashlight! Please call 417-587-3633 ex. 0 for reservations as availability is limited.
Adults $40  -  Seniors (55+) $35  -  Children (3-12) $20
Cat of the Month
Sierra came from a failing pseudo-sanctuary in 2008 after living her life in an 8' x 8' dog kennel. She has blossomed into a friendly, loving, and playful tiger! You can adopt Sierra online, over the phone, or in person. As a thank you, we will send you a t-shirt, window decal, certificate of adoption, and photo of Sierra!