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#TrainTigers in the train wagon in Argentina

Mar 2022


Rescue Tigers Mafalda, Sandro, Gustavo and Messi

#TrainTigers from Argentina no longer have to live in a train


A female and male Bengal tiger belonged to a travelling circus, when they were abandoned. A local farmer in the San Louis province in Argentina agreed to take them in, as he thought it would only be for a short time – not knowing that no one would return.

75 m² of concrete floor

In the beginning, it was only two of them. Then two cubs were born – Gustavo and Messi – who are 10 years old today. From then on, the four tigers had 75 m2 to pace back and forth, while metal bars separated them with no possibilities to move, run and play. It would take 10 more years in the dirty train wagon, surrounded by nothing else than concrete, excrements and leftover meat before their life was about to change.

Since the private keeping of wild animals is illegal in the South American Country, the Authorities in Argentina turned to FOUR PAWS. The FOUR PAWS Rapid Response Rescue team travelled to the province San Louis to assess the tigers and prepare the rescue to finally offer them the species-appropriate life they so urgently require. It was the first ever mission for FOUR PAWS in South America.

From Argentina to South Africa

FOUR PAWS had the opportunity to transfer these four tigers and took on the challenge no matter how difficult it seemed. From Argentina, the rescued tigers had to travel across 3 continents to arrive at their new forever home at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.

At LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary, they finally have the chance to experience the life they deserve – to feel grass between their paws and take a bath for the first time ever.

One year on and looking strong!

It has already been one year since the #TrainTigers made their epic journey from South America to South Africa. On 12 March 2022, after over 70 hours of travel between multiple continents, they arrived safely at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary. Despite the hardships they had endured – having spent some 15 years trapped in a filthy train carriage – the tigers have shown incredible resiliency and strength. At LIONSROCK, they received special care and rehabilitation, and have adapted well to their new environment. According to the team at LIONSROCK, they are growing into their personalities more each day. Read about this incredible year of transformation for Mafalda, Gustavo, Messi and Sandro.  

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#TrainTigers arriving at LIONSROCK
#TrainTigers Messi and Sandro at LIONSROCK
#TrainTiger Mafalda at LIONSROCK

Fast forward two years

Two years later, and the transformation is awe-inspiring. The tigers have settled into their new home, each revealing their unique personalities. Tiger Messi enjoys the freedom of being in his on enclose. Close by is Gustavo and Mafalda who share an enclosure, spending their days basking under the sun, playing together and indulging in their weekly enrichment activities.

Sandro, who turns 20 this year has been moved to the Special Care Unit due to a health complications stemming from the years spent in a train carriage. The SCU enclosure offers a smaller space for Sandro to move about without walking a long distance to feed, drink water or to settle in his shelter.

These brave tigers have endured many hardships but now flourish in their forever home here at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary. Here’s to many more years of care-free living.

Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.

Find out more about the #TrainTigers

#TrainTiger is settling in at LIONSROCK

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