Tigress Varvara at TIERART

Tigress Varvara

The last Bulgarian circus tigress


Siberian tigress Varvara was born in France in 2003 in a circus and spent twelve years of her life traveling with various circuses all over Europe. Together with two lions, she performed her tricks in the circus ring with loud music and bright flashing lights to entertain the audience.

Outside the circus ring, she lived in a narrow, dark wagon of about 10 m², which offered her no possibility to occupy herself, to play or even to move.

Swipe the photo and see Varvara's transformation!

Tigerin Varvara vor und nach ihrer Rettung
Tigerin Varvara vor und nach ihrer Rettung
Tigerin Varvara vor und nach ihrer Rettung

Rescued thanks to wild animal ban in the circus

Varvara was traveling with a circus in Bulgaria in 2015 when the authorities decided to ban wild animals in the circus. Varvara thus became the last tigress ever to perform in a Bulgarian circus. The big cat was no longer of any use to its owners, and there are very few places to take in big cats in need. Varvara's impending euthanasia was prevented at the last minute by FOUR PAWS and she was brought to TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary in Maßweiler/Germany in September 2015.

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Varvara discovers a whole new world

After 12 years in a dark circus wagon, Varvara was allowed to walk on grass, bathe in water, relax in the sun and just be a tiger for the first time! Curiously, she explored all the unknown things, even if it took her a few weeks to understand that she no longer had to live in a cage of 2,50 m x 4 m. During her first time outside, she ran up and down the fence exactly the same distance of about 4 m – despite the best efforts of the animal caretakers to distract her with food and enrichment material. 

But little by little, Varvara settled in, trusted the people around her and made friends with neighbor Cara, who lives in the enclosure opposite. Varvara will hopefully be allowed to experience many more wonderful years. She deserves it so much!

Varvara at TIERART

Udate July 2022:
Farewell, dear Varvara!

On the morning of July 14, 2022, Varvara suffered a violent seizure from which she unfortunately did not recover despite immediate medical attention from our veterinarian. 

Our entire team came to the station and we observed the tigress for a whole 6 hours in the hope that her condition would improve. Unfortunately, this was not the case and so we had to make the difficult decision to let her go to spare her further suffering.

We all loved Varvara very much and will never forget the first time she entered her outdoor enclosure and was allowed to walk on grass, the first time in her life she played with the water at a bathing pond or curiously occupied herself with cardboard boxes or jute bags. She had never been allowed to experience all this before. 

Varvara spent 7 wonderful years with us and reached the proud age of 19.5 years despite various previous illnesses. We are grateful for every wonderful moment we were able to give her and proud of how she developed at TIERART from a circus tiger with behavioral problems to a relaxed, playful and fun-loving animal.

We learned a lot through her and she was very special to each of us. We will all miss her very much....

Farewell, Varvara!!


Facts about Varvara

  • I come from: a Bulgarian circus
  • My favorite food: horse and fish
  • I am: an older tiger lady who has a lot of fun discovering new things
  • I especially enjoy: being occupied by new smells in my enclosure....no matter if it is sheep dung, spices, herbs or even perfume!

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