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Elsa the Neglected Pet Tiger Found in Texas Yard Celebrates 1st Birthday at New Sanctuary Home

·3-min read
tiger thriving
tiger thriving

Christ Gilbreth/The HSUS

Elsa the tiger has let her past go.

In February, authorities in San Antonio, Texas, found Elsa caged in a local backyard. The big cat was wearing a harness and being kept as a pet. Rescuers transported the neglected animal — kept outside in freezing temperatures by her former owner — from her old home to the Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

At the animal sanctuary, Elsa swapped her little outdoor cage for a massive enclosure complete with a pool, a waterfall, a large hammock, enrichment tools, and plenty of trees. Understandably, Elsa, who is named after the Frozen princess, has thrived in her new, much more suitable surroundings, gaining over 100 pounds as she continues to grow into a healthy adult.

Last week, the sanctuary threw the tiger a party to celebrate Elsa's significant strides and her recent first birthday. Elsa's celebration included extra enrichment activities, extra treats, a personal pinata, and presents. The tiger also moved into the larger enclosure described above from a smaller space more suitable for juvenile animals.

tiger thriving
tiger thriving

Christ Gilbreth/The HSUS

"At a year old, a good weight and increasingly appropriate natural wild behaviors, Elsa was ready for her big yard. At first, she was skeptical and kept going back to her attached smaller area for reassurance, but soon she started to explore and climbed to the top of her new platform — though she wasn't quite sure yet how to get down," Noelle Almrud, the senior director of Black Beauty, said in a statement to the HSUS.

"Once she figured it out, she seemed quite satisfied. She loves rolling around in the grass, swimming, and playing with her favorite enrichment ball in the pool. She has become more confident, and her sassy, observant and intelligent personality is shining through. Her life on a leash as someone's pet is far behind her now, and she will never have to worry about anything ever again," she added.

RELATED: Tiger King Zookeeper Erik Cowie's Cause of Death Revealed 1 Month After He Died

tiger thriving
tiger thriving

Christ Gilbreth/The HSUS

According to the HSUS, in some states, "exotic animals are readily available to anyone who wants to buy or own one, and there is no uniform regulation determining who can possess big cats or other dangerous wild animals in the U.S."

In response to this current reality, the HSUS asks animal lovers to protect big cats like Elsa from irresponsible ownership by supporting the Big Cat Public Safety Act. If enacted, the Big Cat Public Safety Act "would improve the welfare of captive big cats and protect public safety by prohibiting keeping big cats as pets and banning public contact with tigers, lions, and other dangerous cat species — for instance, in activities where people pay to pet, feed or take pictures with big cat cubs. The constant breeding necessary for these activities is a major driver of the huge surplus of big cats across the country."

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