Our First Rescue - Raja & Natasha
Raja and Natasha were the founding tigers of Lions Tigers & Bears. The pair were rescued from Texas on September 5, 2002 by Bobbi Brink, Lions Tigers & Bears' Founder and Director. The tiger pair were kept in a Texas man's backyard in a 6' x 12' chain link cage with concrete floors, and no shade or shelter to protect them from the harsh Texas elements. They were originally purchased as a wedding present, and lived in these horrendous conditions for more than five years.
When Bobbi received a call from a friend, pleading for help and for someone to do something for these poor tigers, Bobbi knew she had to do something, and fast. The first order of business was locating a place to bring the tigers once they left Texas. Bobbi and her husband Mark already had a property in escrow in San Diego, but they were not allowed to build anything while the paperwork was going through. However, a friend of Bobbi knew of a woman, Elizabeth Nunnery, also known as Cis, with an incredible piece of property. Bobbi approached Cis about housing Natasha and Raja at her property temporarily and Cis agreed. So Bobbi and Mark began constructing a temporary habitat - and hope for Raja and Natasha's rescue started to unfold.
In less than one month, Bobbi applied for permits, arranged for transportation and fundraised to give these tigers a second chance. Then she drove to Texas with a commercial truck driver, and rescued Raja and Natasha from their tiny backyard cage. They were rescued on September 5, 2002.
The tigers were brought back to the property that is now the present day location of Lions Tigers & Bears. Bobbi would bring meat up daily in a cooler for them and supply water for them with a garden hose.
After many weeks, Cis knew Bobbi's dedication to the animals was unbreakable and she offered to sell the property to Bobbi and Mark to begin Lions Tigers & Bears. They seized the opportunity and haven't looked back since.
Raja and Natasha's rescue story is the groundwork for the Lions Tigers & Bears we know and love today. It all began with a modest 24' x 24' habitat - and a garden hose - and has transformed into a state of the art, tranquil sanctuary for dozens of rescued animals.