Tarzan came to Carolina Tiger Rescue in 2010 when a facility in Texas closed its doors. Though a vital member of his pride, he has always been a little bit of the underdog. He started his life in a 3x6x3 foot enclosure. His legs showed the impact of living in such a small space with poor nutrition. Though he was never able to run with the ease of the rest of his pride, he never let it slow him down. He would chase Sebastian, who was almost twice his size, and jump on his back. He would swipe at Sheba’s legs just to get a reaction from her. Though he was at the back of the pack, they always made room for him. The lion piles were sometimes epic (how do you fit three lions into one den box?) and other times hilarious (not sure Sheba appreciates you sitting on her head!). Watching the way the pride worked together to keep each other safe and fed had always been remarkable.
February 17, 2017
We have sad news to share about Tarzan Lion. We just recently anesthetized him to cut back a nail that was being problematic and ran blood work. The blood work looked good for a lion of his age and, otherwise, his physical was unremarkable. But, recently, Tarzan had become more lethargic and not as eager to eat. We made the decision to anesthetize him again to run new blood work and complete a general physical. Some blood work values, like kidney function, can change quickly. Unfortunately, the blood work came back with terrible results. His red blood cell count was down to 4%. Normal red blood cell counts are between 30% and 45%; blood transfusions are recommended below 20%. Sadly, things started to add up to cancer. In addition to the low red blood cell count, he was running a fever. Dr. Lassiter felt that he was also suffering from paraneoplastic syndrome. This syndrome triggers the immune system to respond to cancer. Given the severity of the condition, we made the decision to euthanize.
Tarzan’s story will not end today. His story will continue on as we educate people about issues facing wild animals in captivity. He never should have been used for pay-to-play activities. He never should have known a life inside an 18 square foot cage. He deserved to be treated with love and respect. We feel blessed to have been able to give him his final home with his pride with space to run and a sunny hilltop perfect for three lions to pile together for a nap.
Thank you for being a part of giving him a wonderful place to call home for the last six years.