UK

Circus Tigers Marked For Death In Germany Rescued At Last Minute By British Wildlife Park

04/04/2014 08:59 BST | Updated 04/04/2014 08:59 BST
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Ein junger Tiger am Dienstag (13.11.12) im Zoologischen Garten in Berlin in einem Freigehege. Insgesamt drei Tigerjungtiere wurden im vergangenen Jahr im Tierpark in Berlin geboren und vor kurzem als Ersatz fuer einen anderen Tiger in den Zoologischen Garten ueberfuehrt. Foto: Clemens Bilan/dapd

Two mistreated tigers from a German circus who were only hours away from being put down have been rescued by a wildlife park in England.

The pair were due to arrive at Woodside Wildlife and Falconry Park in Lincolnshire overnight, following a campaign by park director Neil Mumby and his team of keepers to save them.

They were seized from a German circus troupe last year and earmarked for destruction in Belgium.

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Two mistreated tigers from a German circus are now heading for Britain (file photo)

It has taken over six months and £250,000 to secure their future, but Mr Mumby said that it had been worth the cost.

"There are no other tigers in Lincolnshire on view to the public, it's great for the people of Lincolnshire to be able to come and learn about them," he said.

The park was contacted six months ago by animal charity Wildlife Re-homing services after it was alerted to the tigers' plight.

It had to grapple with cross-border bureaucratic wrangling, working with the animal import laws of three different countries.

Mumby said: "The paperwork has been a nightmare.

"It was delayed, these tigers were supposed to be coming a few days ago.

"We've got the Belgian government, the French government and the British Government all involved.

"Trying to get all of the government departments to talk to each other can sometimes cause hiccups."

The animals will be held in the indoor section of a new enclosure built for the big cats for a day, before being allowed into the open-air section.

Mumby said the cats' arrival had been delayed by industrial action by French staff at Calais.

Visitors to the park had previously told management that they wanted more big cats on display.

A family of lynx were introduced three weeks ago.

The park's keepers have recently been dispatched to partner zoos to learn how to care for the new arrivals.

Mumby said: "They're ecstatic, I don't think anybody got any sleep last night."