lions and tigers are the animals least suited to life in a circus

lions and tigers are the animals least suited to life in a circus

First global study of animal welfare in circuses finds elephants, lions and tigers are the animals least suited to life in a circus (1 June)

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17169-circus-captivity-is-beastly-for-wild-animals.html

Stars of the show they may be, but elephants, lions and tigers are the wild animals least suited to life in a circus, concludes the first global study of animal welfare in circuses.

“It’s no one single factor,” says Stephen Harris of the University of Bristol, UK, and lead researcher of the study. “Whether it’s lack of space and exercise, or lack of social contact, all factors combined show it’s a poor quality of life compared with the wild,” he says.

The survey concludes that on average, wild animals spend just 1 to 9 per cent of their time training, and the rest confined to cages, wagons or enclosures typically covering a quarter the area recommended for zoos.

Worst affected are elephants, lions, tigers and bears. Often they’re confined to cages where they pace up and down for hours on end.

“Even if they are in a larger, circus pen, there’s no enrichment such as logs to play with, in case they use them to break the fence and escape,” says Harris.

Travel sick

Travel also takes its toll, although the evidence is limited. The study cites data showing that concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in saliva from circus tigers remains abnormal up to 6 days after transport, and up to 12 days in tigers who’ve never travelled before.

The itineraries can be grueling too. When Harris and his colleagues analysed 153 European and North American circus trips, troupes only stayed at each single location for an average of a week before moving on, with an average of almost 300 kilometres between locations.

Even when they reach their destinations, the animals are often kept in conditions drastically different from their natural habitat. Elephants can be shackled for 12 to 23 hours per day when not performing, in areas from just 7 to 12 square metres. Often, they could only move as far as the chain would let them, just 1 to 2 metres.

In the wild, elephants spend 40 to 75 per cent of their time feeding, and cover up to 50 kilometres in a day.

Evidence also shows that circus elephants, lions, tigers, bears and even parrots, adopt repetitive abnormal movements and pacing, called stereotypes.

Also, the animals suffer ill-health both from confinement and from the tricks they learn to perform. Elephants, for example, become obese through inactivity and develop rheumatoid disorders and lameness as a result, as well as joint and hernia problems through having to adopt unnatural positions during performance.

Unnatural behaviour

“There is no evidence to suggest that the natural needs of non-domesticated animals can be met through the living conditions and husbandry offered by circuses,” concludes the study. “Neither natural environment nor much natural behaviour can be recreated in circuses.”

Although their conditions are not ideal, the species best suited to circus life include animals domesticated generations ago, such as dogs and horses. Horses, for example, have long adapted to travel between racecourses.

The same is not true, however, of the most glamorous wild animals. “It fits in with what you would intuitively imagine, that given the extensive transport, the sterile environment and the cramped conditions, you get welfare problems,” says Rob Atkinson, head of the wildlife department at the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Animals.

The study notes that some countries such as Austria have already banned wild animals from circuses, but they still feature prominently in major circuses of the US and Europe. Elephants disappeared from UK circuses for 10 years, but three have been on display since February at the Great British Circus.

Journal reference: Animal Welfare, vol 18, p 129

Source:  World Society for the Protection of Animals

http://www.wspa-international.org/

More about the cruel life of the circus.

 

InSitu

InSitu

Big Cat Rescue’s In Situ Conservation Work

2016 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

Sky Island Alliance Ocelots

Ocelot Insitu Project BCRIn July 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated to the Sky Island Alliance, a non profit organization located in Arizona. The Sky Island Alliance started researching ocelots in 2006. In 2009 they documented the first living record of an Ocelot in Arizona and in 2011 they recorded the first evidence of Ocelots breeding in the Sky Islands, with a kitten and mother caught on camera trap film. Sky Island Alliance protects and restores the biodiversity and natural heritage of the Sky Islands using science, education and advocacy to connect the binational landscapes, people and wildlife.

Ocelot Insitu Project BCRFor the past 10 years they have worked to help these elusive and secretive cats stay and thrive. By advocating for Ocelot conservation and promoting greater public understanding they have brought awareness to the importance and benefit of carnivores through Critical Habitat designation; identifying and mapping their best habitat and movement corridors; analyzing motion-activated camera data to determine wild cat activity patterns and behavior; supporting non-invasive wildlife monitoring; and encouraging the designation of new protected areas and privately-owned and managed conservation lands in Sonora, Mexico.

Read more about their work here: http://www.skyislandalliance.org

Andean Cat Alliance

Andean Cat Insitu Project In August 2016 Big CatRescue donated to the Andean Cat Alliance. The Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita) is a small feline found in the high Andes of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru and in the northern portion of the Patagonian steppe in Argentina.

It is one of the least known cats in the world and is considered the most threatened feline in America, being among the five most endangered cats in the world.Though the Andean cat is found across a wide area, its extensive habitat ranges share common characteristics; these include aridity and extreme temperatures, scarce vegetation, heterogeneous geomorphology, and rocky patches in the landscape. Despite what little is known about the Andean cat, it is certain that their habitat is both fragmented and highly fragile. The current distribution of the Andean cat covers four countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile—an area of significant cultural, social, and economic diversity. Human populations also fluctuate greatly in the regions where the Andean cat is found, this presents a challenge in developing conservation strategies since the attitudes and interactions with the Andean cat vary greatly by locality.

Andean Cat Insitu Project Research is a fundamental component of the Andean Cat Alliance because it allows them to obtain information about the presence and distribution of the Andean cat. The coordinated work and establishment of a common database, allowed a study of population genetics of Andean cat and the development of a global distribution model for the Andean cat. Through the systematic use of camera traps, they were able to gain information on habitat use, ecology and diet of a species little is know about.

Greater knowledge about the Andean cat has allowed the members of the Andean Cat Alliance to re-assess the conservation status of the species in each country and propose actions for the development of conservation. Read more about their work here: http://www.gatoandino.org/index.php/en/

 

International Tiger Day July 29th

International-Tiger-DayIn celebration of International Tiger Day 2016, Big Cat Rescue and Clemson University Tigers for Tigers teamed up in a fundraising effort to protect tigers in the wild. Clemson University Tigers for Tigers (t4tclemson.org) is a student-led group dedicated to preserving their mascot through education, research, and service learning on local and global levels. For International Tiger Day on July 29th, Big Cat Rescue and Clemson T4T designed PURR-fect t-shirts, which are available for purchase via SunFrog. 100% of t-shirt revenue will be donated to the International Tiger (ITP). Big Cat Rescue is matching the profits for all t-shirts sold up to $3,000, check out the t-shirts here:

https://www.sunfrog.com/International-Tiger-Day-Tee-Dark-Grey-Guys.html

The International Tiger Project (ITP) is a not-for-profit project supporting Sumatran tiger conservation, rainforest protection, and local community partnerships. With less than 3,200 tigers left in the wild, projects such as this are essential for their continued existence. In the past century, we have lost 97% of tigers in the wild predominantly due to poaching and habitat loss. This loss has created a dire need for increased monitoring and conservation efforts of tiger species and the areas they inhabit. One major strategy employed by ITP to combat these issues is the use of camera traps to monitor tigers. The location of their work is the Bukit Tigapuluh Reserve, which has been identified as one of the priority landscapes for long-term tiger conservation in Sumatra. A Wildlife Protection Unit (WPU), initiated by ITP, adds additional protection for the tigers with an on-the-ground patrol that works with local communities to see that both tigers and humans remain safe and live in harmony. The WPU also provides employment opportunities for the community, thereby increasing the profile of the Sumatran tiger and its importance in the area.

You can read more about the work done by ITP here: http://www.tiger.org.au

Jaguarundi on the US/Mexico Borderline

In May 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated to Felidae Conservation Fund in support of a project they are carrying out on the Jaguarundi. The Jaguarundi species distribution in the borderlands of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas and Southern Arizona is currently unknown and there is a debate regarding recent unconfirmed observations and sightings. The last confirmed sighting in the United States was in April 1986 of a road-killed Jaguarundi. This research project will examine Jaguarundi distribution in the US-Mexico Borderlands (National Park Service lands), with the objective to address the gap in information of Jaguarundi presence. The project will examine habitat use in relation to competition with other felid species and habitat loss resulting from human conversion to mixed-use landscapes. The Project will utilize remote camera technology to yield a thorough evaluation of the species’ distribution in the US-Mexico Borderlands to answer the unresolved question of the presence or absence in this area. The project will also utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to determine home range size and habitat use by individuals.

Fishing Cats in Sri Lanka

In June 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated towards an ongoing in situ project by the Fishing Cat Working Group in support of a project in Sri Lanka. The conservation status of fishing cats according to the IUCN Red List Category & criteria is Endangered. Despite being an endangered species, fishing cats in Sri Lanka, and in most parts of Asia, are a poorly studied species. In Sri Lanka they are most commonly seen inhabiting marshes and other wetlands, including in urban areas. However, with rapid urban development taking place, these wetlands are being filled. Therefore, it is now crucial to understand the ecology and behavior of fishing cats in these urban wetlands, and integrate the conservation of these wetland habitats into urban development plans, as green areas.

In 2006, a pilot study was conducted to confirm and establish the presence of fishing cats in Colombo’s urban wetlands. The study was conducted over a year, during which fishing cats were caught on camera, in several of these wetlands. However, the study had to be concluded due to security issues in Colombo and suburbs, as this was during the last stages of the country’s civil war. In 2013, four years after the war ended, Colombo saw rapid development and many of the urban wetlands were cleared or filled with complete disregard for the importance of these habitats, and their biodiversity. It was therefore decided to reconfirm the presence of cats in the wetlands, and understand if the cats still reside within these wetlands or if they had been pushed out of these habitats due to development practices. You can read more about the project here: http://www.fishing-cat.wild-cat.org

Pallas Cats in Russia

Pallas Cat FactsBig Cat Rescue donated towards an ongoing in situ research project, The Pallas Cat Study and Conservation Program, that started in 2004 in order to collect data pertaining to the true conservation status of the species. The Pallas Cat is one of the least studied wild cats in the world despite having a large habitat ranging across Russia, Mongolia and North-Western China. The habitat of this species has been decreasing over the years, meaning species numbers have dramatically declined. Biology of the species and its adaptations to different landscapes have never been studied adequately, meaning data is lacking on the current spatial distribution, migratory patterns and habitat preference.

The project started initially with interview surveys and snow-tracking research in all the main regions of Russia where the species resides. Since 2009 they have also studied Pallas cats in Kazakhstan, with the north-east region proving to be the most important habitat for the cats, as this is where the majority of the data was obtained. Since 2013, the project has moved its focus to study factors influencing Pallas Cat distribution, clarification of actual and potential threats to the species, population density estimations, pilot studies of Pallas Cat Biology and public awareness. Techniques such as GPS tracking, GIS databases, on foot tracking and the involvement of locals has contributed to the progress thus far for the data collected.  Read more about their work here: http://www.savemanul.org/eng/

Tanzania Lion Illumination Project

Human-animal conflict is an ever growing problem especially in ares where the habitats of humans and animals overlap. With human populations increasing, there is more pressure on wildlife to survive due to habitat loss, and livestock Bomas provide an easy meal for many predators. When predators kill the livestock, the locals retaliate by killing the predators and thus it means, in countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Nairobi, where human-animal conflict is prevalent, lion and leopard populations are dramatically declining.

Big Cat Rescue donated to the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project to aid in a solution for this ever growing problem. The Tanzania Lion Illumination Project is a small, non-profit organization that works out in Tanzania installing “Lion Lights” on to livestock Bomas in areas where they are needed, to help rural communities protect their livestock and reduce retaliatory killings. “Lion lights” are a simple and effective method that involved the installation of LED lights around the tops of livestock bomas. The flashing LED lights are solar powered and help to repel predators, by disorientating them and causing them to flee. To date the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project has installed lights on more than 70 Bomas and the result has shown a dramatic decrease in both livestock loss and retaliatory predator killings.

The Tanzania Lion Illumination Project not only funds the light systems but also trains local people and the native tribes in the installation and upkeep. By doing this they hope to be able to educate them and raise awareness about living in peace with the animals. Read more about their work here: http://www.tanzlight.org/home.html

The Corbett Foundation

China doll the TigerBig Cat Rescue donated $5,000 to The Corbett Foundation, a charitable, non-profit and non-governmental organization solely committed to the conservation of wildlife. They work towards a harmonious coexistence between human beings and wildlife across some of the most important wildlife habitats in India, namely Corbett Tiger Reserve, Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves, Kaziranga Tiger Reserve and around the Greater Rann of Kutch.

Local Communities and wildlife share natural ecosystems and this often raises conflict, so the health and wellbeing of these communities are often directly linked to their willingness to participate in wildlife conservation efforts. The Corbett foundation has implemented its programs in over 400 villages in the last decade. One specific area the Corbett foundation is working on is the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Open farm wells, dug by villagers, in the buffer zone of the Reserve, are proving to be a deathtrap for wild animals, with several cases having been reported of animals, including tigers and leopards, drowning by accidentally falling into the open wells. Currently around 2500 of these open farm wells exist, many in the core zone of the Tiger Reserve. The Corbett Foundation with the support of Exodus Travels Ltd UK, has initiated a project to install chain-link fencing around such open farm wells to prevent any further accidental drowning.  More here:  Big Cat Fences

In the first phase of the project, 200 fences have already been built around wells closest to the core of the reserve. The cost of one fence is 7500 Indian Rupees so approximately $111, meaning from the $5000 donated, between 40-45 fences can be built. You can read more about the other great work done by Corbett Foundation here: http://www.corbettfoundation.org/what-we-do.php#wildlife-conservation

The Urban Caracal Project

In February 2016, BCR donated funds to assist the Urban Caracal Project. The Cape Peninsula is a biodiversity hotspot that has lost almost all of its large mammals such as cape lions, leopards and brown hyenas. Caracals as a result may play a major role in maintaining the ecosystem as they are the largest remaining predator in the area.

The Urban Caracal Project, fronted by Dr Laurel Seyries and the Cape Leopard Trust, is a project that aims to establish baseline information about the caracal population in the Cape Peninsula: population size, health of individuals, and the distribution of caracals across the Peninsula. In addition they want to evaluate the effects of urbanization on the behavior, movement patterns, diet, and genetic health of caracals and assess threats to survival of caracals in the Peninsula and potentially beyond to other parts of South Africa. This study is an essential tool to understand how urbanization may be threatening wildlife in other parts of the world affected by similar factors. Read more about the Urban Caracal Project: http://www.urbancaracal.org/about/

See Caracals Living Free

The Black Footed Cat Working Group

In March 2016 BCR donated funds to assist the Black Footed Cat Working Group, with one of the longest running small cat projects that has been in process for over 23 years, conserving the Black Footed Cat population in South Africa. More than 60 cats have been caught and collared over 100 times and what is known today about the species has been found during this field study. The study collects data on the ecology of the species, like home range sizes, home range usage, social organisation, food habits but also mortality, longevity, dispersal and reproduction of the population.

The Black-footed Cat Working Group was formed to publish and share findings from the project and the group consists of 7 biologists and veterinarians that act as a central information source for the species. Read more about The Black Footed Cat Working Group here: http://www.black-footed-cat.wild-cat.org

Sand Cat in Morocco

Big Cat Rescue donated $1,000 towards the first ever study on the ecology and behavior of Sand cats in Morocco, launched in 2015 by Dr Alex Sliwa and Gregory Breton, scientists from Europe. The researchers aimed to study the cats over several years to collect data, throughout the lives of individuals but also across generations. In an attempt to understand the species better the research aims to look at particular ecological aspects such as activity times, size of home range, territory, social and reproductive behaviors, prey species and different hunting methods. The method of the study is for researchers to actively search for Sand Cats. Once located, the animal are caught and sedated, to be measured and given a health check, then fitted with a radio collar. These animals will then be followed with an receiver and antenna to determine their movements.

2015 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

On Father’s Day (Sunday June 21, 2015) Big Cat Rescue hosted our second annual walkabout to fund conservation efforts.

We raised $6,066.63 and donated $3,000 to National Geographic’s Build a Boma project and $3,066.63 to Lion Guardians.

 

2014 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

In 2014 Big Cat Rescue donated $15,000.00 to conservation programs.

$900 to Walk for Lions in Kenya (from our March for Lions event)

$7,000 to Campaign Against Canned Hunting in S. Africa (from our March for Lions event)

$1,000 to Build a Boma via Nat Geo initiative in S. Africa (from our March for Lions event)

$1,100 to Animal Defenders International

$5,000 Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation

March For Lions Tee Shirt

1.  Saving Lions.  March 15th’sMarch for Lions may have just seemed like one heck of a party, but thanks to everyone who came and fundraised for the event, we were able to net $10,000 and we wanted to spend it on ways to help lions outside our gates.   The movers and shakers behind the Global March for Lions were Chris and Bev Mercer of CannedLion.org.  Any time we need the truth on what is happening in Africa regarding lions, we always turn to Chris and Bev.  They have been the leading force against lion hunting and pay to play schemes that pimp out lion cubs, only to sell them into canned hunts as easy targets.  They would never ask for help, but this event made it possible for us to contribute $7,000. to their continued efforts to ban lion hunting.  Chris said this is the equivalent of a small fortune in his world and that he will put it to good use in protecting lions.

2.  We were impressed with Nat Geo’s Cause an Uproar campaign and donated $1,000. to their BuildABoma.org project.  This will build two bomas to help protect lions from being killed for harming livestock.

3.  We have long been impressed by Animal Defenders International because they are a small organization that has been winning huge victories for animals.  What really brought them up on our radar was the amazing work they have done in the past few years to ban circus acts that use wild animals in 40 + countries.  If you saw Blackfish and thought, “big cats need a movie like that,” then you have to see Lion Ark.  We saw it and were so enamored that we sent $1,100. to help with their efforts to free all big cats from circuses.

4.  Before the March for Lions even began we sent the early money we raised, in the amount of $900. to Walking for Lions to be a major sponsor for the cycling event from Kenya to Botswana to raise awareness of the plight of lions.  So, thanks to your generosity we are raising awareness, supporting boots on the ground, giving locals a way to live with lions, rescuing lions from circuses and letting everyone know that when you pay to play with a cub, the cub is always the one who pays with his loss of life and liberty.

5.  Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise, guidance and funding in the expansion of facilities to house jaguars who are rescued from being killed and sent to the Belize Zoo.  The zoo does not breed their cats, but cannot release the jaguars either because there are too many in the area and they get in trouble with people.

6.  Created 22 Intranet sites, which are sort of a sanctuary-in-a-box site, for other sanctuaries to use.  These came complete with every training video, training manual, chart and idea that we use to run Big Cat Rescue.  We do this for free for sanctuaries around the world that do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact w/ wild animals.

 

 

2013 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

In 2013 Big Cat Rescue donated $3,883.91 towards four conservation programs in the FL and in other countries on behalf of our volunteers.

snow leopard half face

$1522.91 to Panthera to save corridors for wild cats to travel safely and outfitting rangers on behalf of our volunteers.

$1000.00 to the Florida Panther Refuge to help protect the Florida Panther.

$850.00 to the Snow Leopard Trust to cover the cost of camera traps and snow leopard monitoring.

$500.00 to the Tiger Trust to protect tigers in India by providing better legal assistance and training for game wardens.

 

1.  Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise and guidance in the development of a rescue center in Spain that will be broadening their focus from primates to now include big cats.  AAP Primadomus is located on more than 400 acres in Villena and currently houses a variety of primates that have been rescued from private ownership, circuses, and laboratories. They are now expanding their focus to also rescue countless lions and tigers that are in need across their country.

In an effort to prepare for this project nearly a dozen experts were invited to a symposium that focused on sharing information regarding the proper care of big cats in captivity, emergency protocol development, and enclosure design. Big Cat Rescue President Jamie Veronica and volunteer veterinarian Justin Boorstein travelled to Spain and joined experts from Italy, South Africa, France, Austria, the Netherlands and all across the United Kingdom.

Over the course of three days the team worked tirelessly to provide as much information as possible to the members of not only AAP Primadomus, but its origin center Stitching AAP. Stitching AAP is a rescue center for apes, monkeys and small exotic animals in the Netherlands that was founded more than 35 years ago.

The symposium was a huge success. Big Cat Rescue will continue to work with AAP remotely throughout the development process. We are so pleased to provide assistance to organizations that are saving big cats across the globe!

See a digital rendition they did from the plans submitted:

 

 

2.  Created 8 Intranet sites, which are sort of a sanctuary-in-a-box site, for other global sanctuaries to use.  These came complete with every training video, training manual, chart and idea that we use to run Big Cat Rescue.  We do this for free for sanctuaries that do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact w/ wild animals.

3.  Presented at Tigers 4 Tigers which is a coalition of all colleges that have tiger mascots who are working to save the tiger.  It was also the last place for the good friend and world famous and much beloved tiger expert Ron Tilson to make a presentation before his untimely death this year.  http://youtu.be/o1ve94nYbP4

 

2012  Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), and hosting their first in person 2 day Workshop in 2011, Patty Finch asked if the board of GFAS could use our facilities for their meeting. We were delighted to meet the members of the board that we had not met before and were proud to show off Big Cat Rescue to all of them.  Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue and I shared how we use google Apps and how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers.

 

 

2011  Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Big Cat Rescue funded a $5,000 GPS tracking collar program that will be monitored by researchers with the Snow Leopard Trust. Founded in 1981, the Snow Leopard Trust is the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard. This collar will allow researchers to track a wild snow leopard in order to study its habits and territory needs.

A GPS tracking collar has been placed on one of the cubs of Khashaa, a female and mother snow leopard, within the study area. The cub, a male, is already pretty big at one and a half years old. We find this so exciting because it will help us begin to answer some of the unanswered questions about snow leopards, including information about dispersal patterns.

Big Cat Rescue has been working with WildTracks this year to provide images of our tigers’ paw prints for entry into their computer program which can determine who a cat is by their tracks when there are enough tracks submitted to use for comparison.  Learn more and see photos of the print collection at http://bigcatrescue.org/2011/today-at-big-cat-rescue-sept-22

Big Cat Rescue offered to sponsor the first ever Florida Panther Festival if they agreed not to use any live cats at their exhibits.  They did not take us up on the offer to sponsor the event, but did assure us that they would not exploit cats this way.  Our camera traps have been set in various locations to monitor wildlife populations and poachers in the area.

After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), Patty asked if we would host their first in person 2 day Workshop. Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue, Jeff Kremer presented on donor recognition while giving the group of 20+ attendees a tour, Chris Poole spoke on social marketing and networking, Patty Ragan shared the value of hiring a coach, Kari Bagnall illustrated how to get the most out of a tabling event, Patty Finch taught grant writing, teaching your board how to be helpful and how to avoid “founder’s syndrome” and I shared how we use google Apps, how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers, why it is important to have a plan and stick to it.

Big Cat Rescue later hosted HSUS Sanctuary CEO’s for their annual retreat and gave them an inside look at how we operate.  In both the GFAS and HSUS workshops we shared our Intranet site along with all of our training documents and all of the assets to create a “sanctuary in a box.”  All of these tools are included on our website behind a $1.00 pay wall so that anyone who wishes to improve their facility has access to everything we do.   Big Cat Rescue also helped the Humane Society Legislative Fund in their work to end puppy mills because the same laws would protect cats and kittens from use in kitten mills as well.

 

2010 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Leonardo DiCaprio Protects TigersBig Cat Rescue continued working with the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 40+ organizations committed to saving the tiger, based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.   The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years.  There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching.  We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.

What makes this initiative unlike all of the past programs is two fold.  40+ major conservation groups, including Big Cat Rescue, have joined forces with one common goal:  Save the tiger in the wild.  There have been other joint efforts, but none this large and never before has an entity as powerful as the World Bank been a committed partner in saving wild places for wild animals.  Big Cat Rescue sponsored the ITC booth at CITES and sponsored the attendance of the ITC Moderator, Judy Mills at the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Leonardo DiCaprio attended as well and met with Prime Minister Putin.  DiCaprio donated 1 million dollars to WWF’s fund for saving the tiger.

23 FL Panthers died in 2010 but 90 were born according to FWC.  Big Cat Rescue is stepping up our support of local initiatives to save the Florida Panther.

 

2009 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Big Cat Rescue continued working with the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 39 organizations committed to saving the tiger, based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.   The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years.  There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching.  We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.

 

We assisted in the rehabilitation of an orphaned baby bobcat in NC. Nina Fischesser,  Director, Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC had contacted us for advice in rehabbing and releasing an orphaned baby bobcat. Giving cats a second chance at living free is the best part of our day!

We began working with Dr. Wynn’s CO colleague and a Florida Wildlife Commission epidemiologist on research involving FIV in bobcats and FL panthers.  We will begin testing all road kill for FIV, as well as testing bobcats who are reported frequenting human habitation if we can safely trap and release them without too much stress to them.

2008 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Harrison Ford w/HSUS Tiger KidsBig Cat Rescue was welcomed into the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 39 organizations committed to saving the tiger, based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.   The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years.  There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching.  We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.

What makes this initiative unlike all of the past programs is two fold.  39 major conservation groups, including Big Cat Rescue, have joined forces with one common goal:  Save the tiger in the wild.  There have been other joint efforts, but none this large and never before has an entity as powerful as the World Bank been a committed partner in saving wild places for wild animals.

Harrison Ford, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, thanks to his latest Indiana Jones movie breaking records in theaters, is on the board of Conservation International and spoke at the June 9th launch.  Also in attendance were our friend, the beautiful Bo Derek, who won the Wildlife Guardian Award at the Fur Ball last year, and Robert Duvall.  HSUS brought Tiger Kids to the launch and this photo is from their participation as a ITC members.  See these celebrities up close and purrsonal in the most important roles of their lives in this video we shot and find out more about how the World Bank and the International Tiger Coalition plan to save the tiger.

 

2007 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

The Jaguar Trust  Trapping is the furthest thing from our mission, except when it comes to camera traps for tracking and aiding wildlife. Our own Big Cat Rescue president Jamie Veronica went to Guyana, South America with a fellow volunteer on a mission for the sanctuary. Jamie and Justin Boorstein were in Guyana for ten days setting new digital camera traps with video to track Jaguars, Ocelots and Pumas. Our partner, Foster Parrots, tells us that with the recent import ban of all birds into Europe, Guyana now finds herself in a position to change the long practiced wildlife export industry there. Many trappers are finding that there are no markets for their “products”! Many of these trappers now find themselves unemployed and the government may start to look at the potential revenues of eco-tourism to fill the gap. If we can make a concerted effort with our conservation project we hope to serve as an example and to garner the support of Guyana to create the world’s premier rainforest destination. Our plans include the promotion of our project here in the US and a marketing strategy to heighten the visibility of this important move in Guyana.

Visitors to Guyana will have a choice of tour itineraries ranging from an ambitious 3 and 4-day Kanuku Mountains hike that will bring them to the realm of the Harpy Eagle, to more leisurely tours that will encompass sightings of Red Bellied, Scarlet, Red and Green, Blue and Yellow Macaws, Giant Anteaters and a wide variety of primates.   Horseback and canoe excursions will let tour groups experience the wilds of Guyana at an intimate level.  Visitors can also travel to Kaeiteur Falls to witness one of the world’s tallest single-drop waterfalls of 741 feet.   Construction on the first of two planned lodge complexes, located in Nappi Village, has been completed by the local tribes with funds from Foster Parrots and Big Cat Rescue. Contact SaveTheCats@bigcatrescue.org to spend your vacation dollars saving the wildcats in the rainforest.

Africa  President Jamie Veronica and volunteer Barbara Stairs also toured Africa to see the issues first hand that have resulted in game parks being virtually the only lands left that house wild cats.  She will work with relatives there to check out sources for offering handmade products in our gift shop that could help preserve wildlife there as we currently do in the Jaguar Trust.  (Barbara Stairs funded this excursion)

Since 2005 Big Cat Rescue has provided both funds and volunteers to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.  Lewa relocates problematic wildlife to protected areas and provides education to children in the area who would not otherwise be able to read or write.  In addition to the funds that Big Cat Rescue donates, we also provide a U.S. market for Kenya ‘s craftsmen and send clothing with our volunteers to distribute when they visit.  Our volunteers take their skills and attitudes of compassion for all life into these barren regions and share a message of hope.

China, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Pakistan:  Every year since 1997 Big Cat Rescue has donated to the countries that are home to the Himalayan mountain range where the elusive snow leopard is found.  One whole corner of the gift shop explains how the sale of items made by the villagers helps save the snow leopard in the wild.  In 2006, Dr. Tom McCarthy, the Conservation Director for the Snow Leopard Trust, came to Big Cat Rescue to explain just how crucial each sale was to protect of these exquisite cats.

The snow leopard lives in regions where the average person makes the equivalent of $1.00 per day.  Most of the people who share the same highlands with the snow leopard are herders and to them, the loss of one sheep or goat can mean the difference in their survival.  Most of the snow leopards that are killed are retribution killings; meaning that the cat has been blamed for killing one of the herd and the herdsman has killed the next snow leopard he saw.  The herdsman can eat the cat and sell the hide for 25.00 which for them is a month’s wage.  There are many other middle men along the way who are anxious to get their hands on a snow leopard pelt or penis for the Asian medicinal trade or for the black market.   The pelt dramatically becomes more valuable as it goes down the line and can cost $5,000.00 or more to the final buyer.

ligersThe Snow Leopard Trust members in China, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Pakistan work closely with the local people to find out what they need.  In some cases, they can create handicrafts like those we sell and make five times what they can make from herding.

The programs are structured with reducing reliance on Snow Leopard Trust funds for each consecutive year and to remain in the program the community must ensure that no snow leopards are killed.  If anyone in the community kills a snow leopard, the entire community risks losing their right to participate in the program for a year and that is enough to keep everyone watching out for the snow leopard.  Their claims of protection must verified by the game wardens and governmental agencies who actually have incentives to discover poaching because they are often paid a portion of the confiscation if they can catch a poacher.

Big Cat Rescue is the second largest retailer for Snow Leopard Enterprises.

We collected fecal samples from our captive snow leopards for the Snow Leopard Trust to use in training dogs to be able to tell one wild snow leopard from another just by sniffing the scat left behind.  This will greatly enhance conservation efforts and is a cost effective method as well.  The video we produced is being aired on our sites, and also being used as a marketing tool for the new program and the Snow Leopard Trust.

The U.S. State Department enlisted our help in saving the critically endangered Amur Leopard because of our ability to reach so many people who care about wild cats and their habitat.

 

2006 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

When our beloved tiger, Nini, died Brian Czarnik wanted her to live on and so we sponsored a tiger in the wild in Way Kambas Park.  The money donated will help protect the tigers in this critical reserve.  We worked with the Smithsonian Institution in a project to examine the population biology of small carnivores in Gabon, West Africa and Borneo.  We hosted a party and raised more than $1000.00 to aid the campaign that would require the government to provide emergency plans for people who won’t leave their pets. This bill became law in 2006 and will protect America’s pets in times of disaster.  We also sent proceeds from our Fur Ball to Lewa Conservancy in S. Africa and invested in creating eco-tourism in Guyana, South America to protect the wild cats in that area.  At the request of the World Wildlife Fund in Poland we have provided photographs for them to use in creating a handbook for border guards to prevent the illegal trade in exotic cats and their pelts.

2005 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

We raised $1000.00 each for conservation programs to save the margay in Brazil, to help start an eco tourism lodge in Guyana and to assist Lewa in Africa.

Online Exclusives

Thai NGOs Ask Government to Allow Tiger Experts to Help

Thai NGOs Ask Government to Allow Tiger Experts to Help

Network of Thai Non Governmental Organizations on Natural Resources and Environment on the raids and confiscations at the Tiger Temple

June 10th, 2016 

Referring to the actions of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants (DNP) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment at the Tiger Temple from the 30th of May till the 4th of June, resulting in the confiscation and movement of 139 tigers and other protected wild animals that were kept against Thai laws, from the Tiger Temple in Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi Province to facilities of the government, we would like to make the following statement;

The Thai Non Governmental Organizations Network would like to express our appreciation for the way the DNP and other involved agencies have handled the situation, removed the wildlife in a professional way and further investigated and discovered evidence suggesting serious issues of wildlife possession and trafficking as been reported in the media. We are hereby request that the DNP and relevant authorities will press charges against the alleged wrongdoers to the full extent, showing that authorities are serious in tackling the illegal wildlife possession and trade in Thailand.

However, besides the appreciation mentioned above, the Network of Thai Non Governmental Organizations on Natural Resources and Environment would like to express some concerns about the following points;

  1. For the tigers that have been moved from the temple to Khao Son and Khao Prathapchang wildlife breeding centers of the DNP we feel that long-term animal welfare standards and a limited financial budget are of great concern, possibly resulting in an insufficient care.

We therefor would see it favorable to have the DNP allow assistance from and cooperation with Non Governmental Organizations who are ready to help and have experience in caring for wildlife, this under the supervision and leadership of the Department of National Parks. For example an option would be to turn the Tiger Temples premises, after finishing legal procedures and repossession of the land, into an (big) cat education and conservation center as lots of expensive facilities have already been built there. An upgrade of facilities could be implemented to provide a facility up to International standard. Other option are also taken into account.

  1. The discovery of evidence at the tiger temple suggesting illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife parts is that of crimes with profits comparable to the international trade in weapons and drugs. We hereby request to authorities and government to seriously investigate and tackle the international illegal trade in wildlife in Thailand.

–       Adjusting legislation by increasing penalties in both civil and criminal law.

–       Prioritizing the investigation on wrongdoing in the tiger temple case, setting this case as an example, besides the illegal trade allegations, also on money laundering and corruption.

–       Showing International leadership in the Mekong region on tackling the illegal wildlife trade by exchanging information and intelligence with other parties and  strict enforcement  against organized wildlife crimes.

–       Increase financial and logistic support of agencies investigating and enforcing wildlife laws.

–       Speed up improved legislation and ministerial laws on zoo standards and animal registration, with the main aim of transparency and the possibility of easy check-ups. 

Seub Nakhasatien Foundation

www.seub.or.th

 

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

(WFFT) www.wfft.org

 

The Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST)  www.bcst.or.th

    

Love Wildlife Foundation

www.lovewildlife.org

Save Elephant Foundation

www.saveelephantfoundation.org

Thai Animal Guardians Association

(ThaiAGA) www.thaiaga.org

   
Society Against Global Warming Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation

(FAE) www.friendsoftheasianelephant.org

   
Thai Wetlands Foundation A call for Animal Rights

 

Rak KhaoYai Club Baimai Organization
  www.baimai.org

 

Wildlife Conservation Club

Thailand

 

TonKhla Youth Club Nakorn Nayok
TonKhla Youth Club Lanna Bird Group

 

   
OK Nature Club

www.oknation.net/blog/OKnatureclub

 

 

With best regards,

Edwin Wiek
Founder and Director
Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

Telephone  08-90600906
Office  032-458135
Email  edwin.wiek@wfft.org
Skype wildlife_rescue

Website www.wfft.org

www.thaielephantrefuge.org

www.wildlifefriends.nl (Dutch website)
www.facebook.com/WildlifeFriendsFoundation

Address 108 moo 6, tambon Thamairuak
76130 Petchburi
THAILAND

Big Cat Rescue endorses these suggestions.

Howard Baskin

Howard Baskin

HOWARD BASKIN

SECRETARY, TREASURER, ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Howard-Baskin-TigerHoward Baskin is a retired management consultant who worked with early stage and fast growing companies in the areas of strategic planning, finance and operations.  He spent 11 years at Citicorp in various assignments, most recently as Director of Strategic Planning for the Commercial Real Estate Division.  After leaving Citicorp in 1991 he was an equity participant and general manager in three companies, one of which he co-founded.  He now devotes full time to Big Cat Rescue and serves on the Audit Committee.

Other civic activities include serving three years on the Board of Directors of the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and serving as first Chairman of its Performance Oversight and Monitoring Committee and member of it External Relations Committee.  He also is a past member of The Rotary Club of Tampa, serving as Chairman of the Community Service Committee and on the Board of Directors.

Howard received his B.S. cum laude from Union College, Schenectady, NY in 1972, his J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1978 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1980.

Listen to a radio interview with Howard Baskin done by one of the Cox Radio stations in 2012.

Howard met Carole at the launch party for No More Homeless Pets in 2002 and they married in 2004.

Meet the Big Cat Rescue Team. See a typical day at the sanctuary.

 

U.S. News and World Report

Where Work Really Is a Zoo

 

By Kerry Hannon

Posted October 25, 2007

 

Howard Baskin admits that a few homeless cats have won his heart over the years, but saving abandoned and abused lions, lynxes, and leopards was by no means his dream, let alone his passion. When it came to giving to animal causes, he might write a modest check to the Humane Society of the United States. His world was finance and marketing.

Yet there’s no denying that a stroll where he works at the 45-acre Big Cat Rescue, a nonprofit educational sanctuary in Tampa, one of the largest in the world devoted to the big cats, leaves him inspired.

This is where Bengal tigers, African lions, snow leopards, bobcats, and other exotic cats recline gracefully on tree limbs, stretch languidly in their dens, or splash playfully in ponds amid shady oaks and palmettos. In all, there are 140 feline residents with permanent homes here. “Looking at these animals and realizing that I’ve been able to make a difference in the quality of their lives and securing their future is wonderful,” he says.

Baskin, 57, isn’t one of the cats’ caregivers, but he uses his financial acumen to ensure they live a healthful life. With a Harvard M.B.A. and a law degree, he spent the first 11 years of his career at Citicorp, rising to become director of strategic planning for the commercial real-estate division in New York. “Working in a small business had always been my plan, but I kept getting interesting jobs at the bank,” he recalls.

Finally, in 1991, he left Citi to work as a management consultant for a succession of small companies. Eight years later, he opted for a less stressful pace, consulting part time and freeing up time for tennis and leisurely rounds of golf. But something was missing.

And in 2003, just a few years into his semiretired bachelor life, he did an about-face. Before he knew it, he had ramped up to 60-hour workweeks at the sanctuary and agreed to take charge of its finances free. Sure, Baskin is fond of the cats, but it was another love that inspired him. His wife, Carole, whom he met in 2002 and married in 2004, founded the 15-year-old sanctuary and is ceo.

“I kind of married into this transition, although it was of course my choice, not a requirement,” Baskin says. “I fell in love with her. One thing that drew me to her was her passion for the mission and the excitement of working for a cause, not just living.”

Take Nikita, for example. The 6-year-old lioness spent her first year living on a concrete slab, chained to a wall by a drug dealer in Nashville. She was discovered in a raid and arrived at Big Cat five years ago with sores on her elbows the size of tennis balls.

Purrfect fit. Not all of the cats were abused. Some were abandoned by owners who could no longer afford to care for them. Others were retired from circus acts, rescued from fur farms, or obtained from roadside zoos that had fallen on hard times. Baskin came well prepared to bolster the sanctuary’s shaky financial underpinnings. The small firms where he used to work ran the gamut from a bridge builder to a foundry to an audiovisual firm. They were businesses where finances were in disarray when he arrived. Someone had to figure out how to get things organized and create systematic controls.

Visitors who take educational tours of Big Cat have doubled since 2003, to 26,000 last year. Revenues from contributions rose 50 percent in 2006 alone. The annual Fur Ball, the chief fundraiser, brought in an estimated $100,000 in October, up from $17,000 five years ago. Carole has had time to advocate for laws to crack down on illegal animal dealers and implement humane care standards for the cats.

Although Baskin would like to spend a bit more time on the golf course, there’s little other downside. His full-time consulting income, which often topped six figures, had already been trimmed, and he had a thrifty lifestyle, enough savings, and growing retirement funds.

“I don’t take a traditional salary, but, in reality, I get a double payback. I not only get to do something for the cats,” he says as he watches Nikita devour her afternoon “bloodsicle” snack. “I feel like I am contributing to the world. More importantly, I get to make Carole happy. That’s my No. 1 goal.” Spoken like a true newlywed.

http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/careers/2007/10/25/where-work-really-is-a-zoo.html“I don’t take a traditional salary, but, in reality, I get a double payback. I not only get to do something for the cats,” he says as he watches Nikita devour her afternoon “bloodsicle” snack. “I feel like I am contributing to the world. More importantly, I get to make Carole happy. That’s my No. 1 goal.” Spoken like a true newlywed.

Tiger Trade Panel EU 2016

Tiger Trade Panel EU 2016

INVITATION TO TIGER TRADE EVENT AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

 

TIGER trade is a serious and pressing threat to the last of the world’s wild tigers and the London-basedEnvironmental Investigation Agency (EIA) – together with partners Education for Nature – Vietnam(ENV) and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) – is calling on the European Union to take urgent action to tackle it.

On Wednesday, May 25, 2016, Neena Gill MEP (West Midlands) will host an event to highlight the issue at the European Parliament in Brussels at which EIA, ENV and WPSI will give insights into the situation on the ground in China, Vietnam, India and other countries, and discuss practical policy measures the EU can take.

The purpose is to showcase the plight of wild tigers and the threat posed by tiger ‘farming’, and to ensure Indian and Vietnamese civil society perspectives are heard.

All three NGOs believe the EU can play a critical role in helping to end the demand for, and trade in, tigers and other Asian big cats.

The global wild tiger population is likely little higher than 3,200; however, in the absence of completed scientific population surveys across all range countries it is difficult to establish an accurate estimate. In contrast, there are more than twice that number of captive tigers in ‘tiger farms’ in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos – facilities which stimulate demand for tiger parts and undermine enforcement efforts.

WHAT:          Panel Discussion on Tiger Trade

WHEN:         16:30-18:30 on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WHERE:         Meeting Room ASP 3H1, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium

RSVP:            neena.gill@europarl.europa.eu

 

 

 

CONTACTS FOR MEDIA:

 

• Ms Debbie Banks, EIA – debbiebanks@eia-international. org

• Ms Shruti Suresh, EIA – shrutisuresh@eia- international.org

• Mrs Nguyen Dung, ENV – dungnguyen.env@gmail.com

• Ms Belinda Wright, WPSI – belinda@wpsi-india.org

 

 

 

EDITORS’ NOTES

 

1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington DC-based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals. More information here: https://eia-international.org/

2. Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) is the country’s first NGO focused on the conservation of nature and protection of the environment: More information here. http://envietnam.org/index.php

3. Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) is one of the most effective wildlife conservation organisations in India, providing support and information to government authorities to combat illegal wildlife trade, particularly in wild tigers. More information here: http://www.wpsi-india.org/wpsi/index.php

4. More information on the tiger trade is available here. https://eia-international.org/our-work/environmental-crime-and-governance/illegal-wildlife-trade/illegal-trade-seizures-tigers-asian-big-cats

5. More information on tiger farming is available here: https://eia-international.org/where-are-the-tigers

 

 

 

 

Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
UK
www.eia-international.org
Tel: +44 207 354 7960