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Local animal sanctuary asks for help to save exotic animals in Mexico

For 20 years, the animal sanctuary Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine has provided a haven for abused and abandoned big cats and bears. During that time, it has helped coordinate the rescue of more than 1,000 exotic animals and now it’s doing it again. KPBS reporter John Carroll has the story and we caution you, some of the images you’ll see are disturbing.

“It’s a matter of the animals not going from one bad situation to another bad situation,” said Bobbi Brink, founder and director of the animal sanctuary Lions, Tiger and Bears.

Brink said about 200 animals are in a bad situation at a place called Black Jaguar, White Tiger, an alleged global nonprofit sanctuary located at the southern edge of Mexico City.

“So many are undernourished. They need groceries and there’s open wounds. They’ve been fighting to the point of eating each other’s tails off," said Brink.

Last week, Mexican authorities raided Black Jaguar, White Tiger. Vets were brought in to help treat the animals, some of whom have been transferred to zoos. Brink set up a GoFundMe page and has already sent assistance.

MX police at place.jpeg
Government of Mexico
Mexican police stand guard over an animal enclosure after raiding a facility called Black Jaguar, White Tiger outside Mexico City on July 7, 2022.

“We’ve already sent down there thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies, which the vets we’re communicating with have received," Brink said.

She said they've sent, more than $5,000 so far. But for these lions, tigers, pumas and even a few primates, the long-term picture requires more than just decent medical care.

“It’s our goal to get them to a proper home so this doesn’t happen again. So, a true sanctuary that’s already built with history behind it," Brink said.

Sick Lion.jpeg
Government of Mexico
A sick lion is shown at the Black Jaguar, White Tiger facility near Mexico City on July 7, 2022.

In other words, a place like Lions, Tigers and Bears — a place with proper accreditation. Brink said her organization and others are ready to lend a helping hand.

“We’re willing to do all the groundwork to help make that happen," she said.

Brink told KPBS she's already got more than 20 other accredited sanctuaries throughout the U.S. ready and willing to take in these animals.

But the larger point — one she stresses to anyone who will listen, every day of her life — is to force places like Black Jaguar, White Tiger out of business. That falls to all of us.

LTB sign.jpg
Mike Damron
A sign at Lions, Tigers and Bears in Alpine is shown in this undated photo.

“As long as they’re allowed to do the cub petting and the photo opportunities, and as long as people are paying and supporting them, we’re gonna have this problem. So please, please, please don’t have your picture taken with a baby lion or tiger. Any place you’re getting photos taken, you know you’re not supporting conservation or the animals themselves," said Brink.

Lions, Tigers and Bears, and sanctuaries like them, survive on donations. The public can help by go to their website - lionstigersandbears.org. There’s also a link on their GoFundMe page specific to the effort in Mexico.

In the meantime Brink, along with her staff and volunteers will keep plugging away from the confines of their beautiful sanctuary in Alpine — one day at a time, or as she said:

“One animal at a time, because it means the world to that animal.”