Fifty-five acre Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., is a haven for over 100 large rescued felines from lions and tigers to leopards and cougars. For the last 12 years, Flavio, presumed to be the world’s oldest tiger, called Big Cat Rescue his home.
Here, he spent his days relaxing in the warm sun outdoors, having fun with his enrichment toys (especially his favorite big cat ball), and chatting up staff, volunteers, and any visitor who stopped by his enclosure.
As Big Cat Rescue’s website states, “[Flavio] was known here as having the loudest voice of any of our tigers. What sounds like loud moaning was actually just his way of communicating with all of us. Whenever anyone approached, he would spend as much time as you’d give him talking loudly.”
Chatty Flavio first arrived at Big Cat Rescue on Jan. 1, 2002 after spending the first 13 years of his life performing in circus shows. According to Big Cat Rescue, he was “hailed as the smartest circus tiger ever known.”
Yet, as arguably any wild animal would, Flavio grew restless with circus life and started to pick fights with other tigers. Eventually, he was retired and sent to live out the rest of his days at Big Cat Rescue.
Here, he lived everyday safe, happy, and free until Jan. 5, 2014, when he uttered the last of his loud, friendly moans, passing away at the age of 25.
To honor his memory, Big Cat Rescue put together a lovely tribute video for Flavio, which you can view below, ensuring that all the good times he had living free and happy at the sanctuary will live on in the hearts and minds of many.
To view more videos with Flavio, please visit his page on Big Cat Rescue’s website here.
Image source: Big Cat Rescue