Fenimore Tiger was rescued along with three other tigers (Emerson, Mona, and Moki) from the Wesa-a-Geh-Ya facility in Warrenton, Missouri, in September, 2008. Wesa-a-Geh-Ya closed following an attack on a volunteer by a tiger named Hercules. Hercules was shot and killed by his owner to stop the attack and his body was initially hidden from local authorities. The law enforcement officer that responded to the scene was told that the volunteer was injured by a pit bull, but the owner of Wesa later corrected this statement. Wesa-a-Geh-Ya had surrendered its USDA license in 2003 (a USDA license allows a facility to exhibit animals to the public) and had been under pressure from PETA. At the time Wesa announced its plans to close, there were approximately 22 tigers, 8 lions, a cougar, and several other exotic animals on a small portion of the 17-acre property. The other animals were placed in different sanctuaries and animal parks in Oklahoma and Colorado. Even after its closure, Wesa-a-Geh-Ya continued to be investigated by the Warrenton sheriff’s department and the USDA based on accusations that they bred and sold exotic animals and pelts for profit. Warren County did eventually establish an ordinance banning the ownership of exotic animals.
June 19th, 2015
We have had a sad loss this week. For a number of weeks we have been talking about Fenimore Tiger daily. Watching him for signs of digestive upset or other signs that he was uncomfortable. As symptoms appeared, we changed his medication protocol to try and keep him comfortable. Unfortunately, this week we ran out of options and had to make the decision to let him go.
There are people that visit Carolina Tiger rescue but may not make their way off the tour path. Fenimore and his enclosure mate, Emerson, are two of our residents that preferred the quiet life and lived near the back of the sanctuary. In both Fenimore and Emerson, you can see some of the effects of poor breeding practices and neglect as young tigers. Their shoulders are rounded and their joints are ill-formed. But poor conformation didn’t make it any less easy to care for them.
For many, Fenimore reminded them of a worn teddy bear. His face was big and round and had a rubbed spot on the end of his nose. His fur always looked a little mussed, like that of a well-loved stuffed animal. Now that could have been due to his propensity for playing in the mud. And if mud wasn’t available, don’t worry! He always found a way. No matter how hard we tried to keep the water draining smoothly from his enclosure, he made sure to create his very own mud puddle (this was also his favorite place to get a drink of water, never mind the newly-cleaned and refilled water dish!) Fenimore’s habits never failed to make people smile. I know that many of us will miss the sound of Feni licking his beloved keg, that he had probably just drug down to his favorite mud puddle. Like Linus with his blanket, Feni was never without his keg.
His loss will be felt by many. His silly antics and mussed up fur are reminders that not all of our animals are great representatives of their wild cousins, but that makes them no less deserving of our time and care. We are always ready to do whatever is needed from our most majestic tigers to the silliest, from our most reserved cougar to our most outgoing kinkajous, they can always find a home at Carolina Tiger Rescue.