Confiscated Tiger Cub Brought to Oakland Zoo for Long-Term Rehabilitation and Care

Oakland Zoo
February 22, 2024
Rescued female tiger receiving extended care at the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

Oakland, CA – February 22, 2024… On Tuesday afternoon, Oakland Zoo, acting as agents for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, assisted with rescuing an eight-month-old female tiger from a privately owned facility in the western U.S. The female tiger was found to be suffering from numerous improperly healed fractures in her bones.

Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital staff performed a thorough physical exam, CT scan, and bloodwork. It was determined that the patient had ten pathological fractures, leading to pain and a lack of mobility. This led to a 50% muscle atrophy in her legs. She was supplemented with nutrients and given the necessary pain medication.

Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital staff performing a thorough examination of the rescued tiger; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

“I’ve treated over 100 cases of rescued big cats, and unfortunately, these injuries can lead to lifelong medical issues”, says Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo

The Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital team is working to build her calcium and muscle growth, which can take several weeks to months. Once her bones have built enough calcium, the Zoo’s Veterinarians will work with surgeons to determine the next steps in her healing journey. Oakland Zoo veterinarians are cautiously optimistic, though it will take some time, that she will make a full recovery.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services, and Dr. Ryan Sadler, Senior Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo, examining a CT scan of the rescued tiger;
Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

“Seeing this young tiger enduring such obvious suffering is extremely difficult…no animal should experience life in this way. We are grateful to serve in a role that gives her hope for brighter days ahead”, says Nik Dehejia, CEO of Oakland Zoo

The female tiger’s medical issues prevent her from performing natural behaviors like running and climbing. The Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital Keepers are working steadily to strengthen her through specialized enrichment that caters to the uniqueness of her case.

Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services at Oakland Zoo, during an examination of the rescued tiger; Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

Due to the ongoing legal case, the Zoo cannot provide specifics on her history before entering their care. When she fully heals and is cleared, she will move to a permanent home at a licensed facility specializing in big cat care.

Oakland Zoo supported the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA). This legislature's passing in December 2022 banned private ownership and public contact with big cats and imposed new restrictions on their commerce, breeding, possession, and use. BCPSA helps put an end to businesses that practice ‘cub petting’ for profit, as exemplified on the popular show “Tiger King.” Big cats don't receive appropriate care for their wellbeing in unaccredited facilities.  Oakland Zoo underwent a thorough review by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to obtain accreditation. The Zoo has been an accredited AZA member since 1988 and continues to meet ever-increasing animal care and welfare standards, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety.  With their expertise, knowledge, and exemplary standards of care, Oakland Zoo is equipped to execute the rehabilitation this rescued female tiger needs to begin her long journey to recovery.

Oakland Zoo is Taking Action to promote responsible pet ownership and to rescue and re-home improperly owned animals. To learn more about their efforts, go to To support Oakland Zoo’s efforts to rescue and rehabilitate animals in need, please donate at


Isabella Linares

Oakland Zoo

Erin Dogan

Oakland Zoo



Oakland Zoo, home to more than 850 native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society of California (CSC); a non-profit organization leading an informed and inspired community in Taking Action for Wildlife locally and globally. With over 25 conservation partners and projects worldwide, the CSC is committed to conservation-based education and saving species and their habitats in the wild. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.