Alpine sanctuary’s original tiger dies

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ALPINE, Calif. — An original tiger housed at Lions, Tigers & Bears in Alpine has died, the sanctuary announced Wednesday.

Natasha had been in declining health recently and died at the age of 19. The tiger’s right eye was removed in a procedure earlier this year, and she suffered from chronic renal disease.

Sanctuary founder Bobbi Brink said the “one tough cookie” suffered from arthritis most of her life and survived a bout with uterine cancer in 2011.

Natasha and her mate, Raja, were rescued in 2002 from Texas where they were kept in a 6-by 12-foot chain-link cage with concrete floors, and no shade or shelter to protect them from often harsh elements.

She gave birth to a pair of cubs within one month of their arrival.

Raja and one of the offspring died in 2013.

Brink said a memorial service would be held in a couple weeks

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