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The Aspinall Foundation and Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary, partners with Second Chance Wildlife

The Aspinall Foundation and Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary, partners with Second Chance Wildlife to Rescue Baboo the Tiger

 A remarkable story of resilience unfolded today as a tiger rescued from the clutches of the exotic pet trade safely completed a journey to a new life in South Africa. Baboo, a Bengal tiger cub, has been under the dedicated care of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and Second Chance Wildlife (SCW)in Pakistan since his rescue on 7 December 2022 when he was found at a local Islamabad veterinarian’s office in a dire the tender age of four months. The cub was suffering from severe malnourishment and over 10 bone fractures in his body. IWMB, in consultation with experts from The Aspinall Foundation in South Africa, seized control of the tiger and commenced with providing intensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. This included a tailored diet along with daily physical therapy in a specially prepared cage with sunlight exposure.


After seven weeks of constant care, Baboo showed remarkable improvement, gaining the ability to stand and move around his specially designed hospital enclosure, eventually transitioning to a larger enclosure as his mobility advanced.

Specialist veterinarian Dr. Peter Caldwell from South Africa provided critical advice throughout the rehabilitation process, and this assisted significantly in the tiger’s improvement. In mid-2023, the Pakistani Federal Minister for Climate Change, recognizing the cub’s need for a more suitable long-term habitat, advised against using  Baboo as an exhibit and recommended relocation to a suitable sanctuary abroad. Subsequently, the IWMB and The Aspinall Foundation partnered with Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary in South Africa’s Free State Province, selecting it as Baboo’s ethical forever home.


Baboo, now 17 months old and weighing over 70 kg’s has safely completed his extensive journey to South Africa which included a road transfer to the Islamabad Airport, two International Flights and then a lengthy road transfer from OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa to Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary. Baboo will join another rescued female tiger at Isindile.


About the Organizations


Second Chance Wildlife, formed by committed individuals, focuses on rescuing, caring for, and rehabilitating injured, trafficked, and poached wild animals within the Islamabad Capital Territory. The group actively discourages illegal wildlife trade, educates the public, and resettles rescued or injured animals.

SCW has taken over the management and operations of the Margalla Rescue Center, located in Islamabad’s Old Zoo. This initiative, in cooperation with the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board    (IWMB) and the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment, marks an important step in   wildlife   conservation and rehabilitation in Pakistan.


The Aspinall Foundation, a key partner in this endeavor, brings extensive experience and resources to the table. The Aspinall Foundation is a renowned wildlife conservation charity dedicated to protecting endangered species and their habitats. With a focus on innovative and sustainable conservation methods, the Foundation actively engages in breeding, rehabilitation, and reintroduction programs for various species, including gorillas, rhinos, and cheetahs. Their work extends beyond traditional conservation, advocating for the transformation of conventional zoos into expansive, natural habitats for captive animals. Since their inception almost 4 decades ago, they have rescued or rewilded over 1,000 animals.


Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary is an ethical, registered non-profit big cat sanctuary which provides a forever home to big cats in need. As a newly established sanctuary, Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary has previously rescued 3 lions and 2 tigers from precarious circumstances. They pride themselves in having natural enclosures of a very high standard and ensuring that all animals in their care are treated with dignity and respect. Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary currently has a lone female tiger called Amber whose enclosure is located adjacent to Baboo’s new enclosure, so it is hoped that these two will eventually share a special bond.


Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary is located in the beautiful Witteberg mountains of the Eastern Free State Province of South Africa. Baboo will have a 1.0ha enclosure with specially built platforms and a splash pool. From his enclosure, he has a 360° view over the valley, Witteberg mountains and into Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains.


The Aspinall Foundation, Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary and SCW invite volunteers, donors, and the global community to support these efforts. Together, we can ensure that wild animals like Baboo can live out healthy and happy lives, no matter their past history. Every individual matters.

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