Former circus tiger Sahib at TIERART

Tigers Sahib and Jill

Retired circus tigers


The Siberian tigers Sahib and Jill come from the offspring of a German zoo. In 2007 Sahib and his younger half-sister Jill were bought by a circus trainer and trained for circus shows. Thus, the two spent most of their lives in transport vans, small temporary enclosures and in front of audiences in rings. 

Jill before her rescue at circus training

Jill before her rescue at circus training

Sahib in his circus wagon

Sahib in his circus wagon

New home needed

When the trainer lost all engagements due to the Corona pandemic in 2020, threatening his financial existence, he ended his circus work. 

He then sought a new home for his tigers where they could enjoy their retirement away from the hustle and bustle of the circus. This is how Jill and Sahib came to TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary of FOUR PAWS in July 2020.

Arrival of Jill and Sahib at TIERART

Arrival of Jill and Sahib at TIERART

New life after the circus

Since then, the two Siberian tigers have shared an enclosure of more than 1,000 m2 with a bathing pond, climbing trees, natural vegetation and hiding places. Here they could finally play, romp and determine their own daily routine to their heart's content - without performances and long journeys in cramped circus wagons. In short: just "being a tiger"....

Jill and Sahib relax in the sun

Jill and Sahib relax in the sun

The little sister

On 28.12.2006 Jill, just like her half-brother Sahib, was born in a German zoo. She also lived as a circus tiger for 13 years and performed regularly in the ring. At TIERART, she loved to spend the day side by side with Sahib and enjoyed playing with all kinds of materials. Jill could also often be found in the swimming pond during warm weather enjoying an extensive bath. 

Unfortunately, Jill was suffering from various health problems and we had to say goodbye to her in January 2022 at the age of 15 years.

Farewell, brave Jill...

Already the first examination after Jill came to TIERART revealed a degenerative kidney disease in an advanced stage. During another check-up in December 2021, the results of the blood and urine samples showed extremely poor levels and we immediately adjusted the medical therapy. 

Chronic degenerative kidney diseases are very common in small and big cats at an advanced age. Unfortunately, they cannot be cured, at best the course can be slowed down a bit and the symptoms treated.

In January 2022, Jill´s health condition deteriorated rapidly and our vet finally confirmed our fears that there was nothing more we could do for her except to put her to rest.

Our whole team stayed on site to say goodbye to Jill and we also gave her half-brother Sahib the opportunity to do so. It was very moving to see him looking at her through the fence and sniffing her. He kept going back to the straw bed where Jill had previously slept during the day and then back to the fence. As if to reassure himself that she really wouldn't wake up again. After a few minutes he left the inside enclosure and went outside.

We are always touched by how sensitive and delicate animals are and how they grieve for their loved ones. Jill and Sahib had a very close bond and he could definitely feel something was wrong with her even in the past few days. Whenever the two of them were together, he stayed right next to her.

We all would have wished Jill many more wonderful years together with her half-brother at TIERART and will miss her very much. Nevertheless, the decision was the only right one to spare her unnecessary suffering.

Jill will always be in our hearts and a stone with a plaque on our grounds will always remember her.

Tigress Jill at TIERART 2020

The imposing big boy

Sahib was born on 04.05.2006. Even for a male tiger he has an impressive body stature with his nearly 225 kg.

After 13 years in the circus, Sahib can finally decide for himself what he spends his time doing. He especially loves to snooze in the sun on his hut or to watch attentively what is happening around him.

Tiger Sahib at TIERART

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Goodbye, Sahib!

Just like his half-sister Jill, Sahib also suffered from various health problems.

When he arrived at TIERART in July 2020, he was already suffering from severe osteoarthritis and incurable chronic diseases of the kidneys, intestines, stomach and bladder. As the tiger was known to have spent his previous life in the circus in inappropriate husbandry and without any medical care, it was no surprise for us to find so many health issues. However, thanks to our experienced FOUR PAWS veterinary team and special feed supplements and medication, we were able to get the symptoms of his illnesses under control very quickly and give Sahib a life free of pain and discomfort.

He loved to enjoy extensive sunbathing on hot days or splashing around in his pool. Sahib also enjoyed playing with all kinds of toys and was always interested in discovering new things. Despite his old age, he never lost his urge to play and could pass the time for hours with ordinary things like cardboard boxes. 

Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated noticeably in December 2023. In particular, the osteoarthritis became more noticeable in the cold temperatures and the pain could not be alleviated despite intensive treatment.

At almost 18 years old, Sahib has reached a very respectable age for a tiger - especially one with a past as a circus animal - and has long outlived all the other tigers that lived with him in the circus, including his half-sister Jill.

On the evening of December 21, 2023, we finally had to make the difficult decision to let Sahib go to spare him further pain.

Our team came together to say goodbye to him again before he was allowed to fall asleep peacefully. He leaves a big gap and we miss him very much, but it is a comfort to us that he is now reunited with Jill, whose loss 2 years earlier was very difficult for him.


Sahib and Jill lying on the roof of their hut