Animal charity rescues Bulgaria's last circus tiger

Female tiger walks on grass for first time in 12 years

Animal Charity Rescues Bulgaria's Last Remaining Circus Tiger
International animal charity Four Paws has released a video showing them rescuing Bulgaria's last remaining circus tiger and bringing her to her new home.

The video shows the female tiger, named Varvara, walking on grass for the first time in 12 years.

The charity intervened after the Bulgarian government passed a law that took effect in January, making it illegal for circuses to keep wild animals.

Volunteers tranquilised and examined Varvara before transporting her from her small cage to the larger confines of the Four Paws Big Cat Centre in Tierart, Germany.

New home

She was first released into an indoor enclosure to get used to her new surrounds and two days later she was brave enough to walk outside on the grass.

She looked tentative at first, but gradually got used to her new spacious surroundings.

"After twelve years of living in a tiny cage, the former circus tiger finally has a natural environment in which to start living the life of a tiger," Four Paws wrote on their website.

"Varvara, we are watching your first steps into this 'freedom' with tears in our eyes and are filled with peace and happiness that, after months of negotiations, we could finally free you from your tiny prison!"

Varvara had spent her entire life living in cages and was made to perform for humans.

She was often kept in a tiny cage on a circus wagon. It was so cramped that she could hardly move her body.