Sanctuary’s tiger makes it through critical surgery

Kallie made it through an unexpected surgery and the community came together to help defray some of the costs.

In 2022, the Lions, Tigers & Bears rescue team rescued nearly 20 animals, giving eight of them a lifetime home at the San Diego sanctuary, including a tiger named Kallie, who was rescued from a cage in an abandoned field in Oklahoma, a former roadside zoo.

Lions Tigers & Bears Founder Bobbi Brink sent out an urgent request last week for an unexpected surgery for Kallie that was held on May 6. Surgery costs were expected to be upwards of $15,000.

“She required a lot of care after years of abandonment and a long road trip to California. She suffers from arthritis in her feet because she was painfully declawed. She also recently fractured, or possibly re-fractured, a bone in her front leg,” she said. “It’s difficult to care for 65+ animals, but the fact that they’re rescued animals and have been formerly abandoned or abused adds another level of challenges, health issues and costly obstacles.”

Brink said the surgery took around 10 hours, and so far, is a success. She now has three plates in her forearm.

“Our incredible vets Dr. Ryan Sandler, Dr. Carla Bernal, and Surgeon Dr. Gregory Jackson are more than awesome. Not to mention the radiologists, our techs Chioke, and Ashley, the CT tech Lisa our Lead Keeper Cody. As well as many others who worked tirelessly yesterday,” Brink said updating the community on its Facebook page. “Kallie slept most the entire night and is awake this morning she even chuffed a little bit at me. She took her morning meds and had a nice breakfast. Now we will have lots of after care to hope that her body will heal, and the plates will work for her because you can’t put a cast on a tiger. This is what makes this situation so difficult. Kallie will still need one more surgery so keep her in your prayers…We sincerely appreciate all you do to give Kallie, and all of the animals in our care the life they deserve.”

Although Lions Tigers & Bears is holding its largest fundraiser of the year on May 20, Brink said the additional cost of this surgery is beyond the money it raises to keep the sanctuary’s day-to-day operations. Feeding a tiger for a year costs $10,000 to $15,000, a bear $10,000 to $20,000.

“As a nonprofit, San Diego’s Lions Tigers & Bears can care for these animals largely from donations and visits to the sanctuary,” said Brink. “The Wild in the Country Gala on Saturday, May 20 from 2-6 p.m. is the sanctuary’s largest event and one of its biggest opportunities to raise funds for the animals in its care and future rescue missions. All proceeds go to support the 65+ lions, tigers, bears and other rescued animals at the nonprofit sanctuary.”

People can donate to Kallie’s surgery costs at lionstigersandbears. org,


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