Tigress Dehli at FELIDA


A life full of movements


The beautiful tigress Dehli is the oldest big cat at FELIDA and already lived at the sanctuary before FOUR PAWS took over the facility in 2014.

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From Germany to the Netherlands

The Bengal tigress Dehli was born in 2001 in a necessitous German zoo, together with her brother Rhadja. Here they were suckled not by their mother, but by a dog! When the owner stopped feeding the animals in 2010, a German animal welfare organisation came to the rescue and made sure Dehli and Rhadja were brought to Nijeberkoop in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, their lives didn’t improve much at first: the Bengal tigers lived in a very small enclosure without any enrichment.

FOUR PAWS first met the animals in late 2013, just before we took over the facility. The two relatively small and elegant tigers were hard to see, as they were locked in a small and barren cage in between thirteen other tigers, eight lions, a jaguar, a leopard and a Bengal cat. They were shy, stressed and did not receive any form of enrichment.

Positive turn 

When we took over the rescue center and named it FELIDA, their lives finally took a positive turn. How we saw them flourish over the years! They were provided with special care, proper food, medical treatments, enrichment, training and more space than they had ever known before. Their age was already advanced, but they enjoyed their lives fully.

Farewell Rhadja

In December 2019, Rhadja passed away at the age of 18 due to kidney failure. The first weeks after Rhadja's death, we noticed that Dehli was very restless. She really missed her big brother and buddy. She was looking for him everywhere and was very upset, Dehli clearly needed time to adjust and heal.

But thanks to intensive and specialised care for a few months in a row, Dehli was able to make an impressive recovery. We also made some very important adaptions to her enclosure so she is no longer surrounded by the lions: as she is physically not as strong anymore as she used to be, the presence of the lions near her became too much without Rhadja by her side. We also made her some new platforms and hiding places which she greatly enjoys. Thanks to these adaptions and the special care, Dehli feels much calmer and confident again. 

Update December 2020:

The past year has not always been easy for our Dehli. A year ago today she lost her big brother and buddy Rhadja. After living together for over 18 years, this was a huge blow to her. She clearly missed Rhadja: she was restless and could not keep her food down.
A nerve-wracking period began. Dehli was examined by our vet, given medication and temporarily placed in a special quarantine enclosure, where she could be monitored intensively.
Despite her advanced age and associated age-related ailments, it was clear that Dehli was, and is!, still a fighter. Because thanks to months of intensive care, this beautiful lady managed to recover and enjoys life every day again.

Update May 2021:

We see that Dehli is now really getting older. She becomes stiffer and sleeps and rests more and more. And while she still likes enrichment, she doesn't last very long to play with it. She also drinks more; a sign that her kidneys are deteriorating. But she can still have her naughty moments and she cheerfully ‘chufs’ when she sees her caretakers. Also the spring weather is very beneficial for her joints and we see loves the sun rays on her body. We enjoy this special tigress every day and we are so proud of her!

Update August 2021:

Hip hip hooray, Dehli is 20 years old! What an impressive age. Watch the video to see how she enjoyed her special birthday enrichment.

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Update October 2021:

Since the beginning of this month she is no longer the only lady at our FELIDA Big Cat Sanctuary, but she is still our one and only Queen! She is reacting very well to the 7 new lions from Romania. In all her years at FELIDA, she has seen quite some big cats and is not so easily impressed anymore. So although she had to get used to the funny sounds and strange smells of these new neighbours, she soon picked up the daily business again!
A few weeks later she got a new neighbour: tiger Tsezar. Although the two tigers are friendly towards each other, they have not a lot of contact. However when they want to, they can! 


  • Born in Germany on August 30, 2001
  • A Bengal tiger
  • Can be recognised by her short tail
  • Loves food and enrichment trainings
  • Sweet to her caretakers, but also stubborn
  • “Chufs” to people and animals she likes