On August 16th, 2017 CARE staff headed out to take a trip several states away to pick up a special package. Early in the morning on the 17th, they arrived at CARE with a little bundle of stripes and snuffles - a 3-4 month old female tiger.
An individual had contacted us weeks before asking if we could take in, and permanently care for, this young tiger with an uncertain future. She is a bit small for her age, but is in mostly good condition and is both sweet and spunky - per usual tiger fashion. We held a little contest that involved both CARE staff & volunteers and CARE supporters to find this little girl a new name and we ended up with Zara - a name just as pretty as her sweet face.
Right now Zara is still getting a bottle and getting a little extra love and attention after being moved around quite a bit. But, she seems happy and content in her new home and we know she will be safe and secure as she grows up. We look forward to sharing how she grows up with all of you. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming our newest addition to the family!
**In response to several requests to reveal where Zara came from, we have this message to our supporters:
We believe very strongly in being true to our mission - which is to provide a home to animals that need one and give them the best care for the rest of their lives. The definition of rescue is to save something from harm and the definition of a sanctuary is to offer a place of safety. That is our primary purpose for existing. We do not always share all details of a rescue for several reasons, many times out of respect for people who try and assist the animals that we take in.
This little girl desperately needed a home. Not all animals that need a home are old, and the youngest ones are some of those that are at the most risk for being sold as pets or playthings to people who will use them for their own gain and discard them once again when they get tired of them. Who knows where this little girl would have wound up had we not agreed to take her.
Also, we do not always get the full story when we are approached to take in animals. We have been told all sorts of things over the years about an animal's origins, and we know that some of those stories were not true. It is not uncommon that people will lie because they do not want to get into trouble or fear judgement. Our job is not to investigate or regulate, it is to rescue. While we have a policy of never naming names of the people that surrender animals to us, and even sometimes are unable to do so because of ongoing legal investigations, we can say with certainty that this little girl is safe and will have a future where she will never be exploited, used, or abused - and never thrown away.Read more
On March 12th, 2017 the Nat Geo Wild channel brought two veterinary specialists out to CARE to film a mass removal from white tiger, Flash, for the show Animal ER.
Flash had already had one growth on his eyelid removed years ago. CARE staff noticed that another mass had appeared on the other eye. Animal ER volunteered to bring in Ophthalmologist, Dr. Julie Hempstead from Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, to look at his eye.
During the transport from CARE to Bridgeport Animal Hospital, Dr. Bill and CARE Executive Director, Heidi Krahn, discovered another mass in Flash’s ear that was identified as melanoma. During surgery, Dr. Hempstead was able to remove the mass from Flash’s eye successfully without having to damage his eyeball. During the procedure, Heidi and Dr. Bill made the decision to remove Flash’s ear as well in order to keep the cancer from spreading.
While both surgeries went without incident, an ear removal is an incredibly painful procedure. We knew recovery would be difficult. Flash had more difficulty though after the surgery than was expected. Blood tests revealed kidney issues. After 43 days of anti-inflammatories, pain medication, appetite stimulators, antibiotics, aromatherapy, oxygen treatments, hydration, music therapy, and multiple check-ups with Dr. Bill, Flash was still not recovering and was continuing to refuse to eat. We made the decision to end his suffering. Likely, 15 year old Flash had renal issues already and the sedation and difficult surgery was too much for his body to handle. You can read more about Flash here.
Despite Flash’s death, the show (Season 2, Episode 1: Fire Drill) aired on the Nat Geo Wild Channel on August 19th, 2017 and can be viewed on their website here.
We also captured behind the scenes footage throughout the day that you can view on our YouTube channel. We recommend watching the episode before watching the behind the scenes video.
**WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – Flash’s surgery is shown in graphic detail, and may be difficult for some to watch.Read more
If you have been following along, you know that on July 17th, we were brought a two month old baby lemur. She had not eaten in two days, and we made the decision to see if we could save her...knowing the odds were against her. When Momo arrived, she weighed 97 grams, one-third the weight of a healthy two month old. It has been a constant battle to get her to eat, but after 2 weeks, she is up to 150 grams! While the first few days were spent just seeing if she would live, we knew we would have to introduced her to other lemurs soon if she would have any chance of a normal life. Lemurs are incredibly social animals, being hand-raised leads to severe psychological issues and aggression and living a life alone is a horrible fate for these primates.
So, about a week after she got here, we started walking her down to see our two troops of adult lemurs. Hearing, seeing, and smelling each other would be the first step to an introduction. Every day, she would go on several small visits. We chose the smaller troop of three, with Mort, Miss Stewart, and our gentlest female, Rita, to be the best family group for her.
After two long weeks, we were all set for a full introduction in a secure environment so we brought Rita up to the sun-room (which has served as a recovery room for her before) to meet Momo. It was a very tense and scary situation - a bite from Rita could end Momo's life in a split second. But, Rita proved to be the gentle, patient, loving lemur that we knew she was! The introduction went far better than we every expected.
Now that the two are together, we are giving them the space they need to bond. We also need Momo to get strong enough to cling on to Rita while she jumps around. During this time, Momo will still be fed her formula to make sure that she continues to grow. But, just in the short time she has been around Rita, she is already trying to eat on her own a bit!
We will keep an eye on things for the next few days - then start the introduction process again with Mort and Miss Stewart. The scary stuff is not over, but what has occurred with Momo and Rita is not only a good place to start, it is more than we could have hoped for!
Make sure to follow CARE on Facebook and Instagram for Rita and Momo updates!
We've just posted a video of Momo's introduction to Miss Stewart and Mort yesterday - including info about next steps - on our YouTube at CARE Rescue Texas.
We wanted to take a second though to really explain how amazing this all is. Just the fact that Momo survived her first few days with us, given the shape she was in, is a miracle. That she continues to thrive is spectacular.
When Momo first arrived, we reached out to several facilities that specialize in lemurs to get some advice on what we knew to be an uphill battle. Maybe there were others who had attempted the same thing - we could learn from their successes and their failures. What we ran into, no matter who we talked to, was the same message. You can try, but don't get your hopes up - every story, piece of data, and husbandry handbook said that this cannot be done successfully. However, a few people were willing to brainstorm ideas despite their grim prognosis - and we deeply appreciate their ideas and encouragement!
We thought the best - the absolute best - we could hope for was for Momo to be accepted into the group enough that she would have company and that they wouldn't kill her. To have Rita literally take her as her own is beyond our expectations. Rarely - if ever - does a female adopt a strange, unrelated baby and take care of it the way Rita has. The fact that Mort and Miss Stewart not only accept, but seem to want to look after her too, yet allow Rita her motherhood, is icing on the cake.
We want to make it clear that Momo is the exception, not the rule. We still have to turn down multiple requests a month to take in adult lemurs who were pets - and now the owners can't or won't care for them anymore. Nine times out of 10, the lemurs are alone and aggressive. It breaks our heart every time we have to say no, but we simply do not have the resources right now to accommodate situations like these. We do the best we can, with what we have, when we can. We wish we could help them all, but right now we are so happy we have been able to help just one!Read more