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Rescued tigers get new start at Oakland Zoo

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 13:55:03-04

OAKLAND, Calif. (KERO) — Two neglected tigers rescued from a roadside tourist attraction in Oklahoma are beginning new lives at California's Oakland Zoo.

Lola and Mia, were rescued in June from an Oklahoma attraction that was closed in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for multiple animal safety and welfare violations.

The two tigers received some much-needed medical treatment.

Lola had a facial deformity caused by an untreated infected tooth and underwent dental surgery on Thursday at the Oakland Zoo. Mia had been declawed as a cub, a painful process that removes part of the animal’s paws and it is believed the big cat was used for taking pictures with tourists.

A concerned citizen alerted the Oakland Zoo that there were underfed big cats still living in small cages at the Oklahoma drive-thru zoo that were not receiving proper care. The Oakland Zoo did not disclose the name of the roadside attraction business because it said doing so could reveal the name of the tipster.

The tigers were kept in enclosures that were probably about 10 feet (3 meters) by about 15 feet (4.5 meters) and lived among piles of feces and dirty water dishes, said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Research, at the Oakland Zoo.

Lola and Mia are now living at the zoo's newly remodeled tiger exhibit which had been empty since its previous rescued tiger passed away last year.

The Oakland Zoo says the treatment the tigers need points to the need to pass the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would regulate the possession, exhibition, or breeding of the animals and restrict direct contact between the public and the big cats.

The bill has stalled since being introduced in the House last year. Currently, the ownership and breeding of exotic animals is controlled by state laws.

The Associated Press Contributed to This Story