Tiger Truck Stop holds vigil for tiger that passed away Monday

GROSSE TETE, LA (WAFB) - Tiger Truck Stop officials have confirmed its mascot of 17 years, Tony, died Monday.

The truck stop is located in Grosse Tete.

Officials said the Siberian-Bengal tiger was six months old when it moved to the truck stop in January 2001. They added Tony was 17.5 years old when he died.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced Monday night it was "deeply saddened" by the reported death of Tony the Tiger.

For more than seven years, the organization has worked to have Tony freed from the Tiger Truck Stop. The group first obtained a judgement in 2012 prohibiting the state from issuing any future permits for Tony to remain in captivity. However, the group long felt Tony should have been moved to a reputable sanctuary rather than be kept at the truck stop.

"Tony's tragic death demonstrates how our legal system leaves wildlife, including members of endangered species like Tony, extremely vulnerable to exploitation by incompetent or uncaring individuals," said Stephen Wells, executive director of Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The group added it will continue to fight for other animals who may have been mistreated.

There are reportedly candles outside of Tony's cage as well. A vigil was held in Tony's honor Tuesday night.

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