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BIG CAT CENTRE Tierart

FOUR PAWS offers an animal-friendly sanctuary in Germany

TIERART is situated in the Rhineland-Palatinate state in western Germany, 15 km from the town of Pirmasens. The name Tierart is short for TIER- und ARTenschutz which is German for animals and species protection and conservation.

This project is the result of a cooperation between FOUR PAWS and the association TIERART e.V., which was established in 1999. In 2000 the association bought a former US Army barrack to rehome exotic and native wild animals. The property was developed due to the lack of such facilities in Germany.

In 2013 the cooperation started with the intention to set up species appropriate facilities for big cats. FOUR PAWS financially supported the construction of these facilities and provided experience and expertise to ensure the highest animal welfare standards for the big cat care. In July 2015 the first enclosures for big cats were completed.

Home for four tigers, 34 raccoons, 30 sheep, three goats, two foxes, two pastelfoxes and two deers

To date, the sanctuary has been working with a rehabilitation program for Wildcat, Lynx, Deer, Fox, Martens, Hedgehog, Squirrel, Badger and all other Wildlife (every year more than 80 animals get released into the wild again).

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Home for four tigers with special needs

For now, the four tigers will stay at TIERART a some are too sensitive, old with poor health conditions to be transferred somewhere else. They all need intensive medical care and special care like individual enrichment and behaviouraltraining.

The sanctuary encompasses a total area of 14 hectares. The three big cat enclosures takes up more than 2800 square meters. In the rest of the sanctuary, native wildlife species are rehabilitated. Future plans include the construction of more big cat enclosures and collaborations for a wolf project as well as an EU LIFE project that aims to reintroduce injured and orphaned lynx back into the wild after their rehabilitation. For the next construction phase a total of four new enclosures are planned.

Frodo and Zoe: A Lovestory!

For two foxes at TIERART named Zoe and Frodo, it was love at first sight

Zoe is a Pastel Fox, a cross- breed between a Platinum fox and a White- Faced fox. Zoe's unusual, yet beautiful white- grey coloring is desired by the fur industry for many reasons, and is not one that would be found naturally in the wild.

Luckily, Zoe was rescued from a fur farm in the Netherlands, what ultimately would have been an unspeakable life in the fur- industry resulting in death. Instead, in 2012, she was brought to TIERART.

For four years, Zoe enjoyed a peaceful, happy life in her enclosure, filled with enrichment and veterinary care by the TIERART team. Then in August of 2016, Zoe received an unexpected surprise.

Another Pastel Fox was rescued and brought to TIERART.

Frodo had suddenly appeared in a German housing estate. Local residents asked the police and a local hunter for advice, as they had not seen a fox of this coloring before and were unsure if it was a fox or a dog. Frodo was then trapped and brought to TIERART. 

As foxes are territorial animals, the staff at TIERART hoped to slowly introduce the two foxes.

Frodo was placed in a neighboring species- appropriate enclosure that shared a fence with Zoe’s. The plan was to allow Zoe and Frodo to grow acquainted with one another from a distance then, staff would monitor them as they were introduced directly. 

Frodo and Zoe had their own plan.

The next morning when staff went to check on the two foxes, they were surprised to find Zoe and Frodo comfortably cuddled up to one another through the fence! After a few days, staff moved Zoe and Frodo into an enclosure together – the perfect ending to this FOUR PAWS love story.

Today, the two foxes enjoy playing with one another and sun bathing on their log enrichment compounds. They have been seen together on multiple occasions rubbing noses, almost as if they are kissing.

Zoe and Frodo also recently moved into a new, permanent closure at Tierart in July 2018. They love exploring every inch of their new home, especially hiding in the rock bed, and playing in their small pond! 

Medical checks

Animals at TIERART are thoroughly examined annually: dental checks, x-rays and blood samples are taken, based on the assessment/evaluation of the animals and their needs. Vaccinations are administered too. The size of the medical team will be determined by the number of animals to be treated and what treatment is required.

TIERART is open to the public on weekends and holidays between Easter and end of November. TIERANRT is an unique destination with a combination of animal welfare and tourism.  This destination offers guided tours and educational activities for all guests. In addition to these fixed dates, there are also guided tours for various groups (e.g. school classes, companies, nursery schools) during the weekdays. You can find more information here.