Kaari’s Story

Kaari came to Carolina Tiger Rescue in April of 2018.  Her name when she first arrived was Yakira.  Carolina Tiger Rescue decided to shorten it to Kaari to prevent confusion between her and the two girls she came with, who were named Yashira (now Shira) and Yanaba.  When Kaari first arrived, she was hesitant and apprehensive about her new surroundings but settled in beautifully.  Kaari enjoyed tearing into her enrichment boxes!

Kaari’s Passing

February 26, 2019

We suffered a tragic and very unexpected loss on Saturday. Kaari Tiger was given animal pelt as a form of enrichment. Many of the animals enjoy rubbing on or plucking pelt and Kaari was no different. In her excitement, Kaari swallowed her pelt whole and it became lodged in her throat. Once Kaari was clearly unable to clear her airway and was in crisis, the staff went in with her to remove the obstruction. At that time, she had no heartbeat and was not breathing on her own. They began CPR and she was given drugs to help stimulate her central nervous system in hopes of getting her heart and lungs to restart. Unfortunately, we were unable to revive her.

Many of you may not have had the chance yet to meet Kaari. She came to us as part of a four-tiger rescue last year. We placed her and two other females toward the back of the sanctuary to give them time to settle in. When Kaari arrived at Carolina Tiger, she was very nervous. She was hesitant to accept treats from the staff and took a bit before she settled in and let us get to know her. The trio of girls had some issues to work through, but in the end, Kaari and Yanaba worked out their differences and were able to share the enclosure with little fanfare. Kaari, though the quiet one at the start, found her voice and made sure everyone knew that it was time to let her eat!

It certainly is not unusual for one of the animals to eat something too quickly and need to cough it back up and try again. Big cats in general do not chew their food; they simply carve off smaller chunks and swallow them whole. In my entire time here at Carolina Tiger, nothing like this has happened, but in the back of your mind, you know it is always possible. This situation happens with people and animals alike, but was made more difficult due to the nature of working with large and dangerous animals.

This was an incredibly difficult situation for the staff and volunteers. This was absolutely one of the most time-sensitive emergency situations we will ever have. I can honestly say I have never been prouder of the staff and volunteers who jumped into action to try to save Kaari’s life. Performing CPR is a grueling exercise made only more difficult due to the cold, rain, and mud. They did everything they were instructed to do and never stopped trying. Though this was not the outcome we had hoped for, I want to share my appreciation for everyone that stepped up that day and went above and beyond what we could ever ask.

I know that it is going to be difficult for everyone to come to terms with Kaari’s death. Death is never easy, but sometimes you find solace in knowing that an animal is no longer suffering. You know that death was simply the last step in a long journey of illness or injury. This will not feel the same. It will take time to heal. What I have already been blessed to witness is how our family comes together in support of one another. Thank you for always supporting us, in every way possible.