Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of Lions Tigers & Bears rescued Crystal and Hank from prison-like conditions at an Ohio breeding facility, that was shut down in 2014 shortly after the state enacted SB 310 – the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animals Act. While the San Diego sanctuary has been caring for these tigers over the past several years, the court case was just settled and Lions Tigers & Bears was granted legal custody of the tigers, allowing the sanctuary to move forward with spay and neuter surgeries for both animals.
Crystal’s surgery is one of two major medical procedures at the sanctuary this week alone, and Lions Tigers & Bears is seeking donations to help purchase an ISTAT blood monitor for its surgery suite. This equipment will help monitor each animal’s blood levels while they are under sedation.
“Hank and Crystal are the lucky ones,” says Brink. “They are survivors of the devastating exotic animal trade, which exploits animals for profit, subjecting them to massive animal welfare abuses, and puts all tiger populations in jeopardy.”
While many people believe white tigers are their own species, these tigers are inbred Bengal tigers (and/or inbred Bengal tigers crossed with Siberian tigers), who have become a lucrative product of the exotic animal trade. These hybrid tigers have no conservation value. They exist solely as a product to be sold – often suffering through lifelong exploitation, mistreatment and neglect.
In order to get a white tiger, fathers are bred to daughters and granddaughters. This inbreeding comes with high rates of congenital health problems, and many cubs are born with chronic health issues including: hip dysplasia, scColiosis, mental impairments and facial malformations. Many “surplus” tigers are produced through the quest to breed white tiger cubs, and the entire industry leads to massive animal welfare abuses.