ALBION, Ind. (WANE) - The last two of four tigers that were rescued from Ohio last Fall were moved into their permanent habitats at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary Sunday afternoon.
Denise and José Flores owned four tigers, Sammie, Delilah, Taz and Ticha that were moved from their home in Ashland, Ohio last October after the state cracked down on its exotic animal laws. The crackdown came after a man from Zanesville, Ohio set free 56 animals in October of 2011 before killing himself.
"It was really a hard transition for us," Flores said. "It was really emotional."
Flores arranged for her tigers to go stay at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion. For the past 10 months, the four tigers have been in the temporary housing at the sanctuary while staff began fundraising to build them a permanent home.
Sunday was the final big move. The last two tigers, Taz and Ticha, were given their vaccinations, weighed, and transported to their new habitat.
"This is a lot more for them," Flores said. "There's more enrichment, and they're going to love it."
Volunteer workers and contractors contributed hundreds of hours of labor to the project costing around $55,000. Staff at Black Pine was able to fundraise for most of it. The money went to building the new space which includes a holding barn where staff can feed and tend to the tigers.
"It's a very, very natural habitat," said Lori Gagen, the Executive Director at Black Pine. "Everything that you see back here except for the concrete pool and the stone work was here, so we were very careful in the site selection."
Although the project was a long time in the making, it marked another special significance for the staff who has been at the Albion location since 2006.
"More animals came in that needed a place, so that has been constantly in use, and today just marks, probably a brief period of time, where there is no animal living in temporary housing at Black Pine," Gagen said.
Last weekend, one of the four tigers, Sammie, moved into the old habitat of the lioness who died at the sanctuary earlier this summer. The other tiger, Delilah, moved into her new home Saturday.
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