Visit Lions Tigers & Bears In Alpine

A Big Cat & Exotic Animal Rescue

By Courtney Daly-Pavone January 14, 2020

*This article is a 3 minute read

Lions Tigers & Bears

I took a scenic drive from San Diego to Alpine one Saturday afternoon with my son expecting to see some animals and enjoy the day at Lions Tigers & Bears, but instead we had a learning experience we'll never forget. 

Lions Tigers & Bears is a big cat and exotic animal rescue. Founded in 2003 by Bobbi Brink after she witnessed the abuse and neglect of exotic animals living in captivity that were victims of the illegal pet trade. Bobbi made a decision that something had to be done, and began a mission to end the abuse. 

On the tour we heard the animals stories of hardship before coming to the animal sanctuary. 

Did you Know?

The U.S. suffers from a backyard tiger epidemic, with more tigers in captivity in America than are left in the wild.

3 True Animal Abuse Turned Rescue Stories

A pair of tigers were given as a wedding gift. They were living in small cages, and were abandoned when the couple divorced. These tigers were brought to live at Lions Tigers & Bears.

The rapper Tyga, boyfriend of reality TV star Kylie Jenner, once owned a tiger cub that he tossed in his pool and posted videos of animal abuse on youtube.  An anonymous tip was sent to California Department of Fish and Wildlife. They were informed that the young tiger lived in the backyard of Tyga's home in southern California, according to NBC Los Angeles. The tiger was rescued and now lives at Lions Tigers and Bears.

There was even a child that received a bear as a birthday gift. As you might have guessed that bear didn't make a good present, and thankfully, the bear now resides at Lions Tigers and Bears.

We Also Learned About...

Cubb Petting- A practice where wild animal cubs are used in photo ops, and visitors pay top dollar to feed bottles to cubs. We learned that handling cubs is detrimental to their health. Some bears are even declawed to allow this harmful practice. 

White Tiger Inbreeding-A practice used to create white tigers, which have a genetic mutation. In the wild, only 1 out of 10,000 tiger births produce a white tiger, but illegal animal breeders mate the lightest tigers to create a white tiger, and then kill the other cubs. 

The Lions Tigers and Bear tour was transformative. You start to question what people are thinking when they give wild animals as gifts, abuse animals, or inbreed them, but more importantly you begin to wonder why there aren't federal laws in place to protect wild animals from being purchased by ordinary citizens. 

In 2020, in America there are still several states that allow ordinary citizens to own wild animals that are typically abused, sometimes abandoned in suburban neighborhoods, where they are a threat to people and the environment. Tragically, in Zanesville Ohio a man released 56 wild animals he had been living with into a neighborhood before taking his own life in 2011.

Lions Tigers & Bears is a "no touch" facility. The animal sanctuary is situated on 93 acres outside of Alpine, on the edge of the Cleveland National Forest. The animals live in large enclosures where they have room to roam. Enrichment is provided by hiding their food and allowing them to forage. It is a natural habitat for more than sixty animals who have been neglected and abused in captivity across the country. 

Each tour is by appointment only, and allows a limited number of visitors. I highly recommend booking a tour, there are even on-site campover days, and an Air bnb "Wild Oak Nights" where animal lovers can experience a private safari-like stay at the animal sanctuary.


Lions Tigers & Bears

24402 Martin Way, Alpine, California 91901

Phone: 619.659.8078


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