Rescued tigers at our animal sanctuary meet their first pumpkins

By on October 22, 2021 with 0 Comments

One of the most remarkable things about saving animals is what happens after the drama of their rescues is over: They begin to experience the daily pleasures they deserve, like having fields of fresh grass to lie on, rather than cement or metal bars. There was nothing quite like the unbridled joy that occurred when two of the most recent rescues to arrive at Black Beauty Ranch, our 1,400-acre animal sanctuary in Murchison, Texas, met their first pumpkins earlier this month.

India, a tiger rescued from being a “pet” earlier this year, has come such a long way since May, when his appearance in a suburban Houston neighborhood made headlines. Thankfully, local authorities and the staff at Black Beauty Ranch worked in collaboration to bring India to the sanctuary where his studded dog collar could be removed, and he could live in a natural habitat.

Another tiger, Elsa, also a victim of the exotic pet trade, had been taken in by the sanctuary just a few months before India. Elsa was just 6 months old when she was discovered wearing a dog harness and crying in San Antonio during the Texas freeze in February. Both tigers bore the signs of living in completely unnatural conditions. As they enjoy their first autumn at Black Beauty, it’s remarkable to see how far they’ve come.

India discovers that pumpkins are just as much fun in water as they are on land—if not more so. Maura Flaherty/The HSUS

Black Beauty Ranch has since received full custody of these tigers, which means the sanctuary has committed to providing everything they need for the rest of their lives.

Noelle Almrud, senior director of Black Beauty Ranch, recently discussed the process of taking in such a complex rescue animal in our Humane Voices podcast. A big consideration is whether Black Beauty Ranch can provide the right kinds of enrichment that mimic what the species might find in the wild. Tigers love water, so India has his own pool. Tigers also love downed tree limbs, too, and one of the first things India did when he arrived at his new home was scratch a tree limb to mark his territory.

Elsa, who was rescued and brought to Black Beauty Ranch in February, paws and plays with her first pumpkin. Maura Flaherty/The HSUS

And, as recent photos clearly show, the rescued tigers at Black Beauty Ranch clearly love pumpkins. Given their Halloween treats, India, Elsa and Loki decided to chase, pounce on and even swim in their pools with their pumpkins.

Loki, a tiger rescued by Black Beauty Ranch in 2019, carries around his pumpkin in his mouth. Maura Flaherty/The HSUS

The rescued tigers at Black Beauty Ranch aren’t the only ones enjoying the autumn’s return. Black Beauty caregivers help this autumnal celebration along by spreading the pumpkins around the habitats of all the animals who would benefit from playing or munching on the big gourds, like monkeys, bears, tortoises and pigs, among others.

Some of the animals didn’t waste any time before tearing the pumpkins open and munching away. Abu the marmoset particularly loved snacking on some tasty bits of pumpkin.

Unlike the tigers, who don’t eat pumpkins, Abu, the marmoset, sees the culinary attributes of the big orange gourd. Maura Flaherty/The HSUS

Two of Black Beauty’s bears, mother and son, Jackie and Russell, enjoyed playing with their pumpkins for a bit. Then they tore the pumpkins open and stuck their whole faces right inside. Eve, known as the former ‘bare bear,’ studied her pumpkin before deciding to proudly carry it around. Then she tore it open and ate it up.

Russell the bear discovers that his pumpkin was far more than a toy—and is actually rather tasty. Maura Flaherty/The HSUS

Pigs, including Jake, Peanut, Charlotte, Wilhelmina, Monet and Fred, in pig-like fashion, swiftly devoured the entire pumpkin, while, in tortoise-like fashion, Sulcata tortoises, Hans and Bugatti, took a bit more time to savor the sweet treat.

These images are—no doubt—delightful. But even deeper than that, these images are testimony to the truly remarkable place Black Beauty Ranch is, and the deeply necessary service it provides to nearly 800 resident animals, representing 40 species. Where they were once displaced, abused or unwanted, now every one of them has a place in the world to call home.

Hans, a Sulcata tortoise, takes his time savoring his autumnal treat. Maura Flaherty/The HSUS

I like to remember that every animal has a story. The stories of the animals at Black Beauty Ranch are ones that have fortunately resulted in resilience and joy. These are the heartening, happy endings that keep my colleagues and me going, fighting the worst injustices done to animals and working to make the world a more humane place.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.

Breaking: Rescuers arrive at house full of cats suffering from neglect

By on October 20, 2021 with 1 Comment
Breaking: Rescuers arrive at house full of cats suffering from neglect

This week, our Animal Rescue and Response team was dispatched to Indiana to help rescue dozens of cats from a house in Muncie. I had the honor of being with them, on the ground, seeing the first moments these cats got the love and care . . . 

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We’re suing the world’s largest pork producer for misleading the public about animal abuse

By on October 18, 2021 with 7 Comments
We’re suing the world’s largest pork producer for misleading the public about animal abuse

Today the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, for misleading consumers about animal abuse in its supply chain. A little background: It is common practice in big animal agriculture to use “gestation crates.” These . . . 

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Here’s why animal agriculture must be central at UN climate change summit

By on October 14, 2021 with 0 Comments
Here’s why animal agriculture must be central at UN climate change summit

The facts are clear: More than 88 billion land animals are bred, raised and slaughtered for food every year. The animal agriculture industry is responsible for at least 14.5% to 16.5% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions globally, on par with emissions from all the planes, . . . 

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American imports of giraffe trophies and body parts are driving the animals to extinction

By on October 12, 2021 with 4 Comments
American imports of giraffe trophies and body parts are driving the animals to extinction

Giraffes, with their iconic long necks and unmistakable, beautifully patterned coats, are facing extinction. There are currently fewer than 69,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild today. And the threats of habitat loss and illegal hunting for bushmeat are only exacerbated by demand for giraffe . . . 

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US government agency reportedly killed 8 wolf pups in their den

By on October 11, 2021 with 5 Comments
US government agency reportedly killed 8 wolf pups in their den

In the spring, wolf dens are usually full of young pups being raised by their parents and helper wolves, but when one den in Idaho was discovered vacant earlier this year, biologists worked on uncovering the reason. Today, the Washington Post reported that eight wolf . . . 

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Massive win for migratory birds as much-needed protection gets restored

By on October 8, 2021 with 1 Comment
Massive win for migratory birds as much-needed protection gets restored

North American bird populations have declined by three billion birds since 1970, which is just one of the reasons why the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has been such an important source of protection for birds for decades. So, it felt like a terrible threat when . . . 

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There’s still time to speak out against bear hunts that put mothers and newborn cubs in danger

By on October 6, 2021 with 12 Comments
There’s still time to speak out against bear hunts that put mothers and newborn cubs in danger

For all of us, fall is a time for winter preparation. For black bears, that means packing on the pounds to build a fat layer robust enough to withstand months of winter hibernation without eating, and even more so for female bears who will birth . . . 

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Saving Cecil’s descendants from trophy hunting

By on October 4, 2021 with 5 Comments
Saving Cecil’s descendants from trophy hunting

In August, reports began to surface that a lion in Zimbabwe, who was beloved by local communities, was likely lured out of Hwange National Park and allegedly killed by an American trophy hunter. His name was Mopane. For anyone who followed the story of Cecil . . . 

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The Humane Legislator of the Year Award goes to Rep. Paul Tonko

By on September 30, 2021 with 3 Comments
The Humane Legislator of the Year Award goes to Rep. Paul Tonko

While 2020 was no ordinary year, each and every one of us associated with the Humane Society family of organizations did our best to make it an extraordinary one for animals. Here in the U.S., our colleagues at the Humane Society Legislative Fund finished strong . . . 

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Spinner dolphins finally get the much-needed protection they deserve

By on September 29, 2021 with 1 Comment
Spinner dolphins finally get the much-needed protection they deserve

Hawaiian spinner dolphins, named for their acrobatic displays like leaping out of the water and spinning in the air, are nocturnal. To make it harder for sharks to detect them, they hunt for food and socialize at night. During the day, they rest in sheltered . . . 

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It’s National Voter Registration Day: Here’s why your vote matters for animals

By on September 28, 2021 with 1 Comment
It’s National Voter Registration Day: Here’s why your vote matters for animals

Our mission is to end suffering for all animals, and this so often centers around boosting the public policy work of the humane movement. That’s why we encourage supporters to advocate for animal protection legislation and related proposals by contacting their elected officials and becoming . . . 

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