‘You deserve to run free now’: Indiana wildlife sanctuary mourns death of beloved tiger

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ALBION, Ind. – An Indiana wildlife sanctuary is mourning the loss of a beloved tiger.

Delilah died this week at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion, Indiana. The 20-year-old tiger came to the sanctuary in 2012, when she was granted refuge after an animal rescue center in Ohio closed.

According to Black Pine officials, Delilah had been sick recently. They’d planned to give her a full medical exam on Wednesday if her health improved. However, she died overnight Sunday into Monday, the sanctuary announced on Facebook.

She had been given a long-lasting pain reliever, which allowed her a “pain-free and quiet passing, on her terms.” A veterinarian performed a necropsy to confirm that she had cancer. Because of her advanced age—captive tigers typically have a lifespan of 16 to 20 years—the cancer was untreatable. The cancer was found in her spleen and intestines, and had likely spread to other organs.

Delilah died in her den, the sanctuary said, and she had been under close watch due to her illness.

“Delilah was a feisty, gorgeous tiger. We were always in awe of her beauty, but mostly of her desire to live the life of a wild tiger. She, like most sanctuary tigers, was hand-reared and had been used as a photo prop for profit in her youth. Nonetheless, Delilah never got used to crowds of people – or being eyed by strangers. As such, she lived a quiet, private life at Black Pine.”

The sanctuary will dedicate Saturday’s “Turkey Day” in honor of the tiger.

“Rest in peace, beautiful wildcat,” the sanctuary wrote on Facebook. “You deserve to run free now.”