The Eye of the Tiger

Posted on Mon March 9, 2020.

TAJI our beautiful female white Bengal tiger will be under-going eye surgery this month. Taji was born at the Cango Wildlife Ranch and will be turning sweet sixteen on 9 May. Recently, we noticed that Taji was experiencing irritation on her left eye. Needless to say, we monitored her very closely but her eye showed no signs of improvement over the days that followed, leaving us all concerned. Due to the fact that eye specialists for large carnivores are beyond scarce in our area, we had to arrange that one visit us from Johannesburg.

The EYE of the Tiger

Simply put, the nictitating membrane (used to blink) is a transparent or translucent third eyelid, that can be drawn across the eye for protection and to moisten it while maintaining vision. Taji's membrane has a tiny growth/substance on it. Samples were extracted and were sent away to be analyzed and we received the results just a few days ago. There is concern that the cells indicate possible cancer growth and the recommendation is that Taji undergoes surgery. Her surgery will take place at a facility in Paarl, where they are equipped to cater to large animals. During her transit, she will be under the loving care of our Zoological team alongside our local vet.

Once there, Taji will be microscopically operated on to remove any affected areas. The big task ahead is to coordinate the movement of Taji to and from this facility taking all legal, safety and welfare aspects into consideration. This is no easy task. We are currently applying for permits and constructing special crates that are designed for unique trips like these. Needless to say, our hope is for a successful procedure and our goal is to ensure that Taji regains optimal quality, cancer-free.

Although we are a non-profit, we sometimes struggle to request assistance, however in this case, we have decided to launch an urgent appeal to our members and the public, to make (any) financial contribution towards Taji’s surgery. It is a large unexpected cost and we would be most grateful for any assistance given. We have high hopes that the surgery will be a great success and we are eager to see her back to her good old self! Thus far, we have calculated that the cost (including transport, surgery, and medication) will be no less than R 15 000-00.
You can help us by:
•Sharing this with your contact lists/friends and colleagues

A special thank you to Taji's adopters who have also donated towards these costs and her vet bill. We are so grateful.

Our conservation branch, The Cheetah Preservation Foundation, specializes in initiatives that promote the education and preservation of these endangered species and their natural habitats and Taji is a prime example of the lengths that we will go to, to ensure the well-being of all of our animals.

What do we learn from Taji:
Most animals prey on smaller animals than themselves. House cats prey on mice, big fish prey on small fish and even Lions would go for young antelopes and zebras rather than grown ones. Tigers, however, target bigger animals, Tigers will attack rhinos, bears, half-grown elephants and are even known to swim right into a river to attack a fully grown crocodile. It is often said that no man can be considered great until he has achieved something greater than himself. Feats like this are a testament to the tiger’s bravery and boldness. “Enter action with boldness”... the tiger tackles its objective when it has the advantage.

Taji’s name means crown and independent, truly personifying who she is. She is a Queen. Our queen. Beautiful and strong. She shows no fear yet she is beauty and grace. The world has lost 3 tiger species already - a tough pill to swallow. Sadly, we can't turn back time, but we can start with the change that will help the other species, right now.