The saga of Tony the Truck Stop Tiger is over as tiger passes at age 17

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Updated Oct 22, 2017
Tony the Truck Stop Tiger
Tony the Tiger at Louisiana truck stop. (Photo Kris Ewing)Tony the Tiger at Louisiana truck stop. (Photo Kris Ewing)

If you’ve been around trucking, and even if you haven’t, the last 10 years it’s likely you’ve heard of the Gross Tete, La., Tiger Truck Stop on I-10, the lifetime home of a Bengal tiger named Tony, as well as predecessor big cats going back many years before.

Truck stop owner Michael Sandlin has spoken in these pages of his personal love and his staff’s care for the animal, as animal rights activists from the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other organizations, as well as some among the trucking communityhave for years sought to have the tiger removed to a tiger sanctuary. Sandlin, it appears, was victorious at least in one way — keeping them from their goal.

But neither side, ultimately, has gotten what it wanted, as Tony was euthanized yesterday, ABC and other outlets report, at age 17 and in ill health after repeated attempts at improving his health.

That’s longer than tigers typically live in the wild, and more or less about average, from what I can tell, for those in captivity. Whatever you think about the long debate over the tiger’s residence there you can run back through the animal’s story via the links to prior coverage, in reverse chronological order, below.

Most recently, Sandlin’s story was told by producers of the “Criminal” podcast late last year, which regular readers will recall. If you missed it, you can take a listen here: