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Big Cat Introductions

Luna And Remington Reunited At Last

July 1, 2020

In January, Turpentine Creek rescued Luna and Remington, two white tigers who were part of a long court battle. These two tigers, along with many others, had been used in a pay-to-play “swim with tigers” scheme in Florida. While a court battle raged, Remington, Luna, and 2 other tigers were smuggled to another facility where they lived until the 2 other tigers escaped and were killed. This finally prompted the court to give Remington and Luna to a new home, with us. 

We were told upon rescue that Luna and Remington had once lived together, because of this we decided the two could potentially be reunited, but only after Remington was neutered since we are a non-breeding facility. After rescue we carefully observed the pair, who were sharing a habitat on a daily rotation schedule. We watched them interact through a fence, which went very well, and were quickly reassured that they had the potential for introduction.

Remington enjoying a cat bath
Remington enjoying a cat bath.

Usually, we only introduce animals who have lived together in the past and were rescued together. It is very rare that two full grown tigers from separate rescues can be introduced. In the wild, these animals are very territorial. They are solitary animals and only interact when breeding or during territorial fights. In captivity, they can live in small groups since they are not competing for resources (food, water, breeding rights), but usually this is only with animals they are familiar with. Even animals that are already living in groups don’t always stay together, many times we’ve had to separate groups like Poncho and Montana or Chuff, Abigail, and Athena. Although they spent years living together they became more territorial as they grew older. 

Luna in her pool
Luna staying cool in her pool.

After Remington was neutered and completely healed, we decided to start the introduction process. At first, we allowed the pair to meet in their night house area, a smaller space where we could closely observe them and quickly separate them if necessary. During introductions we always have a few team members watching with hoses, ‘no’ bottles (vinegar/water mix), and other items that we can use to quickly distract the animals if they begin to fight. These items won’t cause harm to the animals, just startle them and redirect their attention. 

The night house introduction went well, and we soon allowed them to go into the habitat together, still observing them with team members at the ready. Remington is very interested in Luna; he approaches her often with happy chuffs. Luna is a bit more cautious, sometimes getting startled and hissing at Remington. They will sometimes slap at each other but it is nothing more than a warning for the other to back off, claws are not out and after a slap the other backs off quickly.

After only a few days we have already seen Remington and Luna taking naps together on the bench and sunning themselves close together. We will continue to observe the pair to watch for issues and feed them separate but we are very hopeful that soon we can just let the pair enjoy their habitat together in peace. 

It is thanks to your support and donations that we can rescue animals like Luna and Remington, survivors of the cub-petting industry. Your monthly recurring donation allows us to plan for the future and when rescue calls come in know that we can answer yes to saving those animals’ lives. Please set up your monthly recurring donation today, even $5 a month can save the life of a survivor of the big cat trade! 

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