Rescued Tigers arriving at the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary in February 2023

We are excited to announce that we have two rescue tigers coming to their forever home at the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary in early 2023.

Softi and Toph, two female tigers, have had incredibly tragic lives thus far. Bred in captivity in Italy, and then in October 2019 they were found in small crates in the back of a horse box starving, dehydrated, and covered in excrement bound for Russia to fates unknown. They were confiscated at the Belarussian border and have been cared for since at a Sanctuary in Spain, run by AAP.

We will be welcoming these two amazing animals, who have endured so much, into our home and into our hearts, to continue their rehabilitation and to live out their lives in peace.

Softi and Toph’s Story with Megan McCubbin

Warning: This video contains confronting images that some viewers may find difficult to view

Tigers at the border – A tragic
story of human greed

The Rescue Story

In late October 2019, a horse box loaded with ten tigers left a suspected circus HQ just outside Rome, in Italy destined for a ‘zoo’ in Dagestan in Russia.  After a gruelling 46 hour journey, an issue with the paperwork made border officials at the Polish/Belarussian border suspicious, and as a result the transporter was initially intercepted and ultimately seized. The Tigers were discovered in tiny cages where they could hardly stand up, and in appalling conditions. All of the tigers were in a desperate state, starving, dehydrated, injured, and covered in their own excrement, and one of the tigers had sadly succumbed to the treacherous conditions and was discovered dead in her cage. 

It is unclear as to what the final destination was for these tigers. The paperwork stated a ‘zoo’ in Derbent, Dagestan, Russia. What seemed unthinkable is what zoo would want that many tigers and those that were clearly in such a terrible state? It was then subsequently discovered that this zoo, had closed down in 2017. We are therefore left wondering what the likely fate of these animals would have been? Were they destined to become part of the illegal trafficking of animals and their body parts, destined for countries beyond Russia where such commodities can be traded for large profits?




Tigers were confiscated across 50 countries – with the trend increasing


of tigers seized were in the 13 TRCs across 1,688 incidents


People (at least) were arrested for involvement in tiger trafficking, 95% within TRCs



Tigers seized were confirmed from captive or suspected captive sources

Incidents recording whole tigers from captive sources increased from 9% in 2015 to 50% in 2018/19

TRC-Tiger range countries-13 countries where you might find wild tigers

Credit and Source: – traffic.org – Skin and Bones: Tiger Trafficking Analysis from January 2000-June 2022,

When you consider, they estimate that there are only 6,000 tigers left in the wild, and 5,000 in captivity, you can appreciate why these figures are so staggering.

Facts about the Tiger Bone Trade

Credit and Source: Traffic.org – Skin & Bones Report – Ramacandra Wong & Kanitha Krishnasamy 2022

Overall, whole tigers, dead and live, as well as a variety of tiger parts equal to a conservative estimate of 3,377 tigers were confiscated between January 2000 and June 2022 across 50 countries and territories, with data showing an increasing trend.  

According to Skin and Bones: Tiger Trafficking Analysis from January 2000–June 2022, the tigers and their parts were seized in 2,205 incidents, mostly in the 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRCs). 

The future for Toph and Softi

The future for both tigers is looking a lot brighter as we look forward to their arrival at the Sanctuary. The abuse that these tigers have endured was so severe that their road to recovery is going to be a long and ongoing process. This has been successfully started at AAP and will continue at our Sanctuary, under the expert guidance of our animal care team.

The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary has a long and successful track record of working with rescued big cats, and will provide an individual care plan that is tailored for the needs of each tiger.

Both tigers are now around 6 years old, and in their prime. The team are very busy preparing for their arrival, and are looking forward to providing the care and attention these magnificent animals so richly deserve.

Funding urgently needed to provide for Softi and Toph

Habitat Setup Costs

To set up the habitat for tigers to include shelters, bedding, platforms, heaters, cleaning tools, enrichment toys and more.


Ongoing Costs

Costs to cover the ongoing rehabilitation of each of the tigers. This cost is per tiger per month.

£1,000 per month

Daily Feeding Costs

To feed each tiger per week including red meat and supplements.

£45 per week

How you can help

Donate a Feed

Adopt Softi or Toph

Monthly Donation

Our Roarsome Supporters…..

Julia Pilkington

March 21, 2023

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Sean milford

March 12, 2023

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Kerri leanne Higman

March 6, 2023

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Tracy Bellgard

March 4, 2023

Hope they arrive soon and settle into their forever home ❤️

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Samuel Perry

February 25, 2023

Good luck in your new home – from Harrison

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February 22, 2023

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February 19, 2023

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Debbie Thornton

February 16, 2023

In honour of my beautiful daughter and son in law amd their love of tigers on their Wedding Anniversary. Be … Read more

In honour of my beautiful daughter and son in law amd their love of tigers on their Wedding Anniversary. Be forever happy in your new home happy Softi and Toph ❤❤.

Amount Donated

Deborah Vivian

February 15, 2023

Hope this small gift helps. Appalling what humans do to do animals.

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Nigel Smith

February 15, 2023

So proud of your work. Congratulations

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Nora Aridi

February 15, 2023

This donation is on behalf Alba and her friends; Polly, Poppy, Ylva, Senna, Litha, Beau, and … Read more

This donation is on behalf Alba and her friends; Polly, Poppy, Ylva, Senna, Litha, Beau, and Norah.

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February 14, 2023

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