After rescuing the sanctuary's very first animals, tigers Raja and Natasha, we discovered that Natasha was pregnant. Sitarra and her sister, Tabu, were born here at Lions Tigers & Bears on November 8, 2002. Sitarra (which means "Star of India") weighed just 2 lbs 12 oz at birth.
Sitarra loved playing with her sister and was fascinated by people. She was usually the first to greet anyone who approached their enclosure. She was more independent than Tabu, but still loved her sister. You could usually find them cuddled up together sleeping or romping and playing. Sitarra and Tabu spent hours watching the farm animals and our resident dog, Hobie. Sitarra was lighter in color, like her father Raja, and lazier than her sister.
On July 28, 2013, Sitarra was rushed to the emergency hospital, unable to move her back legs. Bobbi was near her enclosure when this became apparent, and no time was lost in getting her to the ER. An MRI showed a ruptured disc, and surgery was started immediately. It was discovered that her spinal cord had been severed by pieces of the ruptured disc and there was no choice but to let her go. Everything that could possibly be done was undertaken. This was a freak occurrence - very rare - and instantly paralyzed her. Sitarra would have felt no pain; just confusion because her legs didn't work. After consulting with the veterinarian team and surgeons, it would have been inhumane to leave her in this condition.
A memorial celebration was held August 3, 2013, where sanctuary members, staff and volunteers gathered to say goodbye to "our girl," Sitarra. It was a sad farewell to a beloved member of the Lions Tigers & Bears family. But, as Bobbi said, Sitarra now runs free; she is caged no more. We will miss Sitarra very much. May she rest in peace.