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Hear our interview with Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions Tigers and Bears, originally aired on KNSJ:  https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/au...

By Tasha Matthews and Miriam Raftery

Tiger photos provided by Lions, Tigers and Bears

November 21, 2015 (Alpine) – A tiger cub found wandering the streets of Hemet, is now thriving thanks to care at Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine.  Meet Himmel, named by a unanimous vote of LTB members after the late San Diego News 8 reporter Larry Himmel, a creative and brilliant newscaster who would often visit Lions, Tigers, and Bears.

Himmel, now four months old, is full of life and joy. When we visited, he ran up to the cage bars ready to romp and eager to be free. Fortunately at Lions, Tigers and Bears, the frisky cub can spend play time in larger enclosures where he has the opportunity to run, climb and even swim, also interacting with other tigers at this very special facility.

The young cub was declawed by prior owners and arrived limping. He also suffered a hernia, probably from being taken from his mother and mishandled at an early age. The cub, now a bouncing 45 pounds, is due for surgery in January. 

Now meet Tabu, a full-grown tiger. Don't get too close though!  Tabu has a mighty roar and an intimidating growl.

The 94- acre area Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary (nearly as large as the San Diego Zoo, with room to develop into an even larger facility someday) shares space with lions, tigers, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, and more. Home to over 60 animals, it’s a place where these animals are well taken care of and treated with the upmost tender loving care.

Bobbi Brink is the founder of Lions, Tigers, and Bears. Recently, we visited to take close-up look at some of the animals there.

 Due to the injustices that many of these animals face as a result of the exotic animal trade, Brink travels the country rescuing lions, tigers, bears and other large animals in need of a better home. She  also spends time lobbying for legislation to restrict or ban the sale of these animals by private individuals. 

Brink and her dedicated team of  volunteers provide security and plenty of TLC (tender loving care) that these animals need.

You can help ensure the safety of the rescued by donating, becoming a member, or attending the upcoming Christmas Festival at Lions, Tigers and Bears on December 5th, when the animals will be given wrapped gifts to open. There will also be crafts, food and vendors for guests to enjoy.

To learn more, you can visit Lions, Tigers, and Bears at www.lionstigersandbears.org.

Photo: Bobbi Brink, right, with Tasha Matthews, a student at the University of California, San Diego and volutneer with East County Magazine.