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BIG CAT CENTEr Tierart

An animal-friendly sanctuary of all shapes and sizes!

TIERART is situated in the Rhineland-Palatinate state in western Germany. The name Tierart is short for "TIER- und ARTenschutz," German for, "animals and species protection and conservation." The sanctuary encompasses a total area of approximately 35 acres.

This sanctuary project is the result of a cooperation between FOUR PAWS and the association TIERART e.V., established in 1999. In 2000 the association bought a former US Army barrack to rehome exotic and native wild animals. The property was developed due to the lack of such facilities in Germany.

In 2013 the cooperation started with the intention to set up species appropriate facilities for big cats.

FOUR PAWS financially supported the construction of these facilities and provided experience and expertise to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare were met. In July 2015 the first enclosures for big cats were completed.

Currently, TIERART is home to four tigers: Bela, Sharukh, Cara, and Varvara.

But big cats aren't the only inhabitants of TIERART...

To date, the sanctuary has provided a rehabilitation program for wildcats, lynx, deer, foxes, martens, hedgehogs, squirrels, and badgers. The sanctuary is currently home to 34 raccoons, 30 sheep, three goats, two foxes, two pastelfoxes (the famous Frodo and Zoe) and two deer.

Native wildlife (not including big cats) are brought to TIERART with the hopes of being rehabilitated and re- introduced to the wild. Every year more than 80 animals are released into the wild thanks to TIERART wildlife experts!

For those that cannot be re- introduced, they are provided with lifelong species- appropriate homes. 

Future plans for the sanctuary and wildlife rehabilitation center include:

  • Construction of more big cat enclosures (4 new enclosures are planned)
  • Collaboration for a wolf project
  • Collaboration with EU LIFE project that aims to reintroduce injured and orphaned lynx back into the wild after rehabilitation

TIERART is open to the public on weekends and holidays between April and the end of November. The sanctuary offers guided tours and educational activities for all guests. You can find more information here.

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Home for Tigers with Special Needs

The four tigers that reside at TIERART will stay in the sanctuary long- term, as they are too old and in poor health to be transferred elsewhere. These four tigers need intensive medical care, which the TIERART team is able to provide. 

Frodo and Zoe: A Lovestory!

For two foxes at TIERART named Zoe and Frodo, it was love at first sight

Zoe is a Pastel Fox, a cross- breed between a Platinum fox and a White- Faced fox. Zoe's unusual, yet beautiful white- grey coloring is desired by the fur industry for many reasons, and is not one that would be found naturally in the wild.

Luckily, Zoe was rescued from a fur farm in the Netherlands, what ultimately would have been an unspeakable life in the fur- industry resulting in death.

Instead, in 2012, she was brought to TIERART.

For four years, Zoe enjoyed a peaceful, happy life in her enclosure, filled with enrichment and veterinary care by the TIERART team. Then in August of 2016, Zoe received an unexpected surprise.

Another Pastel Fox was rescued and brought to TIERART!

Frodo had suddenly appeared in a German housing estate. Local residents asked the police and a local hunter for advice, as they had not seen a fox of this coloring before and were unsure if it was a fox or a dog. Frodo was then trapped and brought to TIERART. 

As foxes are territorial animals, the staff at TIERART hoped to slowly introduce the two foxes. 

Frodo was placed in a neighboring species- appropriate enclosure that shared a fence with Zoe’s. The plan was to allow Zoe and Frodo to grow acquainted with one another from a distance then, staff would monitor them as they were introduced directly. 

Frodo and Zoe had their own plan.

The next morning when staff went to check on the two foxes, they were surprised to find Zoe and Frodo comfortably cuddled up to one another through the fence! After a few days, staff moved Zoe and Frodo into an enclosure together – the perfect ending to this FOUR PAWS love story.

Today, the two foxes enjoy playing with one another and sun bathing on their log enrichment compounds. They have been seen together on multiple occasions rubbing noses, almost as if they are kissing.

Zoe and Frodo also recently moved into a new, permanent closure at Tierart in July 2018. They love exploring every inch of their new home, especially hiding in the rock bed, and playing in their small pond! 

Medical checks

Animals at TIERART are thoroughly examined annually. They've given dental checks, x-rays, vaccinations, and have blood samples taken.