Bengal tigers abandoned 15 years ago by a travelling circus, who have since been living in a rail car in San Luis, Argentina are finally being rescued by Four Paws International.
The global animal welfare organization announced it has reached an agreement with local authorities to take them to a sanctuary in South Africa in the coming weeks.
Two of the animals were abandoned by a traveling circus in a 75-square-meter (about 800-square foot) train car and fed by a local rancher since 2007.
The circus who owned them asked the rancher to care for them and never came back.
The pair mated and had two cubs, who are now 10 years-old, and have only known life inside the railcar.
The unlucky feline family of four has lived in the cramped space behind bars in the field belonging to the farmer who cares for them, providing them with food and water, but little else in way of attention or medical care.
It was not until 2021 that local authorities in San Luis became aware of the situation and began looking for solutions for the animals.
FOUR PAWS, an organization known for rescuing wild animals around the world, announced Wednesday that after a lengthy campaign to raise funds for the move, it will take the four animals to their 1,200 hectares (12 square kilometers) Lions Rock Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.
"Imagine also how it would be nice to touch ground again, to touch the grass again, to have a big space," said Dr. Amir Khalil, the Lead Rescue Mission veterinarian overseeing the transfer for Four Paws.
Khalil discussed the trauma the big cats have endured stating that although each animal is different it will take time for them to adjust to their new surroundings.
"I mean to have one day in freedom is better than many years, I would say, in a prison. It's a huge difference."
The pending trip will take approximately two days and is scheduled to take place in the next few weeks, pending traveling permits.