Sandro the tiger – two years on

14 April 2023


Two years ago today, thanks to your generous donations, we gave Sandro the tiger – rescued from a rundown Spanish zoo – a new home at a sanctuary in Italy.
Sandro strolling around Animanatura Sanctuary and catches the camera.

Somehow, it has already been two years since Sandro the tiger arrived at Animanatura, a wonderful wildlife sanctuary in Italy, and his carers say the time has simply flown by!

Sandro was originally rescued from a barren cage in a shoddy zoo in Spain, which closed in 2019 after Born Free’s 16-year campaign. He was temporarily cared for by our colleagues at Natuurhulpcentrum, a wildlife rescue centre in Belgium, before Born Free gave him a lifetime home with our friends at Animanatura.

Sandro will be seventeen years old in October, and seems to be doing very well. Last summer, thanks to your donations, he moved into a spacious new enclosure at this tranquil sanctuary. He spends a lot of his time lounging by his pool, soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh Tuscan air. He enjoys a good quality, meat-based diet, six days a week, with extra food hidden or put hard to reach as enrichment, provided in ways to keep him active.

Sandro rises early and is up each day at about 5am. As darkness still envelops his enclosure, he likes to patrol his territory. As the sun rises, Sandro has a nice big stretch and finds a place to sit and watch the goings-on around him as the nearby birds loudly sing their dawn chorus. Sandro takes a lot of time for naps during the day.

Tigers, like other cat species, can sleep for up to twenty hours a day! He also grooms himself to keep his coat in tip-top shape, and bathes in his very own plunge pool. When he is feeling more energetic, Sandro jumps up onto the huge tree trunk that sits near the shelter that he can choose to sleep in at night. Sometimes, his carers report, he still plays like a tiger cub!

Sandro receives a variety of enrichment, some of his favourites including melons or pumpkins stuffed with various smelly and tasty items for him to play with and enjoy. He takes these into his pool sometimes, even picking pumpkins up with his claws, before managing to open them up and discovering what is hidden inside. Some items are purely for olfactory enrichment, and others are tasty food treats.

A few months ago, Sandro had a minor operation to remove an ingrown claw. It went well and has been right as rain since. He seems very relaxed in his environment and not at all fearful of the things he hears and sees around him. He is looked after by a team of loving animal carers. Thank you for providing the loving, expert care this wonderful tiger deserves.

Image © Animanatura