It is with a heavy heart we announce that our beloved male tiger Girona passed away today.

We know how much he meant to a great many of our visitors from the Island and around the world.

Girona’s health had deteriorated in recent weeks to the point where the Sanctuary, along with their expert veterinary team, decided it was the kindest decision to bid him a fond final goodbye.

While you will share our deep sadness, we ask you to join us in celebrating the life of a truly majestic tiger who enjoyed three very special years with us here at The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary after suffering appalling treatment in his previous life.

We are proud that Girona was able to call our sanctuary his forever home and that we were able to give him a safe, secure and enriching life in his later years.

Girona arrived here in 2018 from the Animal Advocacy and Protection (AAP) in Holland with his close counterpart Mondo, who also passed away earlier this year. They were donated to AAP from a circus in Spain.

Girona had several very serious pre-existing health issues including missing claws which caused a deformity to his foot. Unthinkably and despicably, Girona’s claws had been purposefully removed – a painful, debilitating process that is illegal in many countries in Europe as it involves amputation of the last digit.

We urgently needed to give Girona care and begin restoring the quality of life he deserved and he was immediately responsive to our animal care team, winning their hearts and becoming popular with all our visitors. He really was a gentleman of tigers.

Girona was older, smaller, and less dominant than Mondo, and occasionally competition over food would cause minor disagreements, which Mondo would always win. Essentially they enjoyed a wonderful friendship and were very close, often choosing to sit and lay together. It is a great comfort to us knowing that we gave them both a quality and dignified last few years of their lives.

We will always remember Girona sitting up on the platform out in the enclosure or in the outdoor hide, unless it was particularly cold or wet, in which case he needed no encouragement to stay indoors.

Unfortunately, his deterioration had been quite noticeable since January this year, becoming less responsive to training and enrichment, which has negatively impacted on the quality of his life.

Girona was 18-years-old which is a grand old age for a tiger and we are proud that in the three years he was with us we gave him the peaceful, dignified and natural life he deserved.

At the very core of our ethos is the fierce desire to provide forever homes for rescued animals, a significant number who come to us in their later years so we know that our time with them will sometimes be shorter than we would like.

However, we will now be able to offer the habitat to more big cats who are in need of a sanctuary and help them find their forever home. Our fight continues to rescue more animals from a life of distress and to allow them to flourish in our sanctuary by the sea.

We know so many of you loved Girona and we would love it if you could share your memories and pictures of him on social media using the hashtag #RememberingGirona or emailing enquiries@wildheartanimalsanctuary.org

Farewell Girona, thank you for a magnificent three years in which you blessed all our lives every single day. We hope we did you proud.