If you've ever driven down I-10 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, you've probably seen the sign that says, "Tiger Truck Stop: See A Live Tiger--Next Exit."  You may have even visited Tony The Tiger in his 3,200 ft. enclosure in the parking lot of the truck stop.

For 17 years Tony  was the main attraction at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana.  The Siberian-Bengal tiger was 6 months old when it moved to the truck stop in 2001.  Nearing the end of his life expectancy, Tony's kidneys had begun to fail and the decision was made to euthanize the big cat so that he wouldn't suffer.  Tony passed away Monday evening, surrounded by the only family he had ever known:  Michael Sandlin--the owner of Tiger Truck Stop--his veterinarian, and longtime caregivers.

In addition to his cage which was 4 times larger than recommended for animals of his size and type, Tony had his own dedicated veterinarian.  In recent years animal rights activists had tried unsuccessfully to force the government to remove Tony from his home, and place him in what they deemed a "reputable sanctuary."  However, the State of Louisiana passed Act 697, allowing Sandlin to keep the tiger at his truck stop.

Tony will be autopsied with the goal of benefiting future animal care, and then his body will be preserved through taxidermy.  For more information about Tony and the life he lived, visit TigerTruckStop.com.