Eye of the tiger: Natasha needs your help - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Eye of the tiger: Natasha needs your help

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary in Alpine is known for rescuing exotic animals and caring for them for the rest of their lives. Now one of the sanctuary's residents is facing some pretty big health challenges as she ages.

Her roar is fierce as ever at age 19, but it's the eye of Natasha the tiger that's is weakening. Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions, Tigers and Bears, says the first sign of trouble was a change in color.

"The eye color looked a little bit different, then the next day it look a little cloudy," Brink said.

A veterinarian dilated her eye, and discovered her lens has slipped out of place.

"You could see lots of discoloration and you could actually see the lens has moved, which is what the vet will be removing," Brink explained.

Natasha will undergo a lensectomy that a team of veterinarians will perform on-site.

"By removing it we can hopefully save her from having any pain, save her vision," Brink said.

She also needs laser therapy to treat her glaucoma. The surgery will cost about $6,000 dollars, and the medical equipment needed close to $10,000 more. It's a huge financial setback for an exotic animal rescue charity that runs solely on donations. So they've set up a share program to let people know that even a small donation will make a big difference.

"For every 10 people that donate $10, that's $100. It adds up and we'll be able to get new equipment," Brink said.

Natasha is a survivor. She was rescued in 2002 from cruel conditions. You may remember her from a story Larry Himmel did four years ago, when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. The community rallied to help pay for that life-saving surgery. Now it's time, to rise up to the challenge of saving her eye.

"It adds up. When everybody comes together, you can take something small and make it big," Brink said.

To help Natasha with a tax-deductible donation, CLICK HERE>>>.

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