Melanie and her partner Punkin lived at a private facility in Ohio that bred tiger cubs and other exotic animals. It is likely Melanie and Punkin were used as a breeding pair to produce cubs for the exotic animal trade. The facility was shut down when the state enacted SB 310 - the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 2014. Melanie was rescued in 2015, along with Punkin, and they were relocated to Lions Tigers & Bears while the Ohio Department of Agriculture conducted an investigation on the facility they were seized from. They remained under Lions Tigers & Bears' care and in spring of 2018 we were granted full legal custody of the cougar pair, as well as two white tigers, Hank and Crystal, who were also rescued from the same facility.
On the morning of October 31, 2020 Melanie was her usual self when she went into her bedroom, collapsed, and calmly passed away. She was estimated to be between 15-17 years old. Our necropsy showed Melanie was a healthy animal who had an unavoidable cardiac event - as common in wild mountain lions as it is in humans. Nothing shows we could have prevented it in any way. We miss our sweet Melanie dearly. She was beloved by our staff and many devoted volunteers. Rest easy sweet girl.