GoFree

GoFree

Why Can’t They Go Free?

This question is one of the top five most asked questions so it tells me that people just don’t know the laws of nature or the laws of governments.

Law of Nature

In the wild kittens or cubs stay with their mothers from a year and a half to 5 years, depending on the species of wildcat and the environment.  During that time the mother may nurse them for a year or more, while also teaching them how to hunt.  Being able to kill something does not mean that a cat is a good enough hunter to survive in the wild.

Florida panther cubsThe mother cat teaches them the ways of nature and that you should only kill enough to feed yourself and your family, so that there will be food left for the coming weeks and years.  There have been some spectacular failures where people have tried to raise big cats in fenced areas, and have taught the cats to kill, but the cats then proceeded to kill everything that moved, even if they had eaten plenty. That’s not good for the environment and the cats were never able to be released to the wild, despite millions of dollars being spent on the ill fated project.

A wild mother cat teaches her kittens and cubs to stay away from people. Even the most gentle natured, captive born exotic cat, who may have been handled since a cub herself, will teach her kittens to despise humans.  Instinct, as well as her personal experience with being held hostage, inspires her to encourage her kittens to fight for their lives if they come in contact with humans.  In April 2016 USDA adopted the position that cubs should be left with their mothers for at least the first 4 weeks of life, which makes them too feral to handle for cub petting schemes.  USDA should follow Nature’s guidance, which keeps the cubs with their mothers for well over a year.

Even with this training from their mothers in captivity, the kittens or cubs have so many more life lessons that can only be taught in the wild.  These include finding the best mates to insure longevity of the clan and how to protect their territories from those who would run them out or kill them.  If you have ever watched shows in the Big Cat Diary series you will see that mothers teach their young about the perils of the wild; from how to hide, how to cover your scent, how to know when to fight and when to flee, how to stalk prey and save all your energy for the pounce and kill.  There is so much to being a wild cat that just cannot be replicated in a cage, even if that cage were many square miles in size.  Consider that a bobcat will patrol more than 5 square miles and a tiger can maintain a territory of more than 400 square miles.

Law of the Land

It’s illegal to release a non native wild animal.  That’s true in the U.S. and would make sense in other countries.  The reason you cannot release a non native animal (an animal that doesn’t normally exist in an area) is because doing so upsets the entire balance of nature.  Nature is flawless, where man has not intervened, because there is a symphony of interconnected animals and plants that all work together in harmony; even if it also includes predators who maintain the balance.

A perfect example of what goes wrong when non native species are released into an area, that they do not typically inhabit, is the case of Florida allowing people to buy pet pythons, which never turn out well as pets once they are hundreds of pounds and can eat small children and pets. People don’t want to euthanize the exotic pets they raised, so they turn them loose, even though it is against the law.  Florida has since outlawed a number of pythons as pets, but the damage was already done because scientists and biologists all report that our most pristine forests, in the Everglades, are now devoid of almost all animal life (other than the snakes).  The animals who originally lived in the Everglades had never seen predators such as these pythons that were 15-20 feet long and none of the animals who lived there were able to prey on such huge invaders.

To a lesser extent we would see the same thing happen with bobcats.  Big Cat Rescue is allowed, by law, to rehab and release bobcats who were born in the wild in Florida, back to the wild in Florida.  Florida rehabbers are NOT allowed to rehab bobcats from Georgia (or any other state) for release into Florida.  The reason is that bobcats from other states are bigger, have different hunting skills and different instincts than those native to FL, so introducing them could wipe out the Florida bobcat, or infiltrate the gene pool sufficiently to make a mess of things.  You could argue that at state lines bobcats may cross back and forth on their own, but you have to draw the line somewhere (for enforcement’s sake) so governments draw it at their state or federal lines.

Law of Common Sense

DEW Yankee Jungle(OK, well there should be such a law) Last, but not least, most of the wild cats in captivity were born from generations of captive wild cats who have been selectively bred for characteristics that do not enhance survival.  They have been inbred to create white coats, which results in a plethora of other birth defects and mental retardation.  They have been bred to be used as ego props, with breeders preferring the ones who are the least apt to struggle against being held.  That’s not a good trait when you have to fight for survival in the wild. Many have been mutilated by having their claws and teeth removed.

Almost all captive bred exotic cats suffer from nutritional deficiencies.  Since lion and tiger cub pimps want to use cubs for pay to play schemes, they pull them from their mothers when they are only hours old so that they do not bond with their mothers.  They are fed a diet that is insufficient for their nutritional needs because you can’t get canned tiger milk and tigers aren’t puppies, kittens, cows or goats.  This insufficient diet often results in bones that are frail and break from a simple jump.  It almost always results in nutritional cataracts and no one knows for sure how much damage is done to their eyes from the near constant flashes from cameras as they are paraded as props to hold for selfies.

All of these reasons are why “they can’t just be set free”

Captive born wild cats have been dealt a lousy hand.  They are hardwired to desire freedom and yet are denied it by those who breed them for life in cages.  We hate it and are glad you do too.  So, lets put our energy where it can make a difference and end the practice of breeding wild cats for life in cages.  You can take action RIGHT NOW at CatLaws.com no matter who you are, or where you live.

 

Cat Laws

Cat Laws

Action YOU Can Take to Save Big Cats and their Cubs

Due to the government web forms that receive our data, only people who are constituents of certain representatives can contact their legislators.  Please do not use a fake address to game the system as it renders your real identity as useless when there are matters that you really can speak out about.  We try to only email you with actions you can really take, but if you put in a false address, then you won’t get the action alerts that affect you most.  There is something on this page that everyone can do, so please pick your battles wisely.

Salsa is our service provider that makes it possible for you to find the right people to contact by just typing in your zip code.  Don’t worry, we hate spam too and we will not share or sell your personal info outside of the specific targets you are contacting.

 

U.S. Residents Only

Most Important Action You Can Take for Big Cats and their Cubs

Stop Big Cat Abuse (US ONLY)

Take Action buttonVisit, Call or Send an Email to your Congressional Representative asking them to champion the Big Cat Public Safety Act here:  http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16017

 

Prevent Animal Cruelty & Torture (US ONLY)

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14519

 

Everyone

Protect the Florida Panther

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18256

Ban Cougar Trophy Hunting in Wyoming (EVERYONE)

https://hq.salsalabs.com/salsa/hq/p/dia/action3/common/hq/edit?object=action&key=16920

Ban Trophy Hunting in New Jersey (EVERYONE)

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16628

Pledge to Never Go to the Circus! (EVERYONE)

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13749

By State

KS

Oppose Bill to Overturn Big Cat Protections

Kansas Residents Only! Senate Bill 97 seeks to overturn protections for big cats and YOU!  Please ask your Senator to vote NO on this bill. We make it easy here: http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17808

ME

If you live in Maine, your voice is needed now to protect big cats!

Maine is taking comments from the public, but most of the people who are commenting are those who abuse animals for profit or ego. Maine officials need to hear from people who actually care about animals.  We make it easy with a sample letter, but it will have far more impact if you change the subject line and use your own words. You don’t want your feelings to be dismissed because it looks like a form letter.

Take action: http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18941

We only know 329 people in Maine who care about wildlife, so it is especially important that you take action and ask anyone you know in Maine to do the same. Deadline is June 17, 2016 so please do it now.

MO

No Circus Exemption (MO ONLY)

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13899

NY

Ban Cat Declawing

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17422

OK

Ban Contact w/ Big Cats (OK ONLY)

http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13901

 

Hoover

Hoover

Watch Hoover LIVE 24/7

http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

At this link you will see TJ Tiger in the lakefront cage to the left and Hoover to the right of the brown fence through the water.

Here is some great footage of him from the above webcam:

THE SAD STORY OF HOOVER THE CIRCUS TIGER HAS A FAIRYTALE ENDING…

Hoover Tiger arrived at Big Cat Rescue on Saturday, April 23rd, which was his 12th Birthday!!

Fairy Tales HooverHome

Thank you TroySovich.com for this graphic

#HooverHome

We are very excited to let everyone know that Big Cat Rescue is the forever home for a former circus tiger named Hoover from Peru!! Hoover arrived on his 12th birthday, Saturday, April 23, 2016 to a huge party in his honor!

In April of 2015 Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Peruvian wildlife officials seized Hoover from the circus. ADI contacted Big Cat Rescue about becoming Hoover’s forever home and we quickly agreed. However, the process of importing a tiger into the U.S. turned out to be a year long process and we finally received the green light from USFWS just last week.

ADI had been on track to remove Hoover and another tiger from the Peruvian circus in a nationwide law enforcement operation in 2014, but the circus went underground. Hoover’s road to freedom finally began when, after months of searching, a member of the public tipped off ADI’s team to the location of the illegal wild animal circus. A dramatic rescue ensued.

See National Geographic’s article on Hoover:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160421-tiger-hoover-circus-rescue/

See USA Today’s article on Hoover’s rescue: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2016/04/22/rescued-circus-tiger-hoover-miami-airport/83379482/

See Fox 13’s piece on the Hoover Tiger:  http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/130966764-story

See Bay News 9 article: http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2016/4/23/big_cat_rescue_welco.html

Read Tampa Tribune article about Hoover:  http://www.tbo.com/news/breaking-news/hoover-the-tiger-finds-forever-home-in-tampa-20160423/

Hoover is an 12 year old tiger who was owned by Circo Africano, a circus in northwestern Peru, where for many years he was forced to perform in circus acts and live and travel in a tiny, barren cage.

 

Hoover Tee ShirtSadly, Hoover is the sole survivor of between six and 12 tigers that were kept by Circo Africano in Peru. He arrived at ADI’s rescue center frightened, sick and emaciated. But after months of intensive veterinary care, rehabilitation and exercise, Hoover has recovered and is ready to start the next chapter of his life in America at Big Cat Rescue.

Big Cat Rescue is forever grateful that ADI rescued Hoover and will be transporting him to our sanctuary. Hoover will be flown to his new home at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa and is expected to arrive mid April.

Hoover’s days will now be spent relaxing in the sunshine, lounging up on his platforms and cooling off in Big Cat Rescue’s lake. He will reside in a huge enclosure with lots of trees, foliage and shade. He will literally be a world away from the abuse he suffered most of his life.

Can we count on you to help us fund Hoover’s ongoing care at Big Cat Rescue? It costs us about $10,000 per year for food and veterinary care for a tiger. It’s because of wonderful donors like YOU that we can continue to rescue and provide a permanent home for exotic cats like Hoover!  Thank you!

Donate to Big Cat Rescue

Read South Florida Reporter:  http://southfloridareporter.com/circus-tiger-rescued-peru-animal-defenders-international-arriving-mia/

See Examiner article about Hoover Tiger:  http://www.examiner.com/article/abused-tiger-retiring-to-florida-sanctuary-after-south-american-circus-rescue

Read Mother Nature Network’s article about Hoover:  http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/abused-circus-tiger-gets-happy-ending

See WOKC’s piece on Hoover:  http://www.wokc.com/?p=30038 and here:  http://www.wokc.com/?p=29959

Read Miami Airport’s announcement about Hoover the Tiger:  http://www.miami-airport.com/hoovermia.asp

See Don411’s post:  http://don411.com/former-circus-tiger-rescued-in-peru-by-animal-defenders-international-arriving-at-mia-and-being-transported-to-his-forever-home-at-big-cat-rescue/#.Vxy8e6MrI8Y

Read Wold Animal News:  http://www.worldanimalnews.com/content.php?content_ID=771

Patch in California wrote about Hoover: http://patch.com/california/westhollywood/abused-tiger-retiring-florida-sanctuary-after-south-american-circus-rescue

Read the Democratic Underground:  http://www.democraticunderground.com/110849605

Local Channel 10 did a story on Hoover:  http://www.local10.com/news/tiger-rescued-from-peru-circus-to-arrive-in-miami-on-earth-day

I Iz Cat did a blog post about Hoover’s arrival:  http://www.iizcat.com/post/3543/Lifetime-abused-circus-tiger-gets-his-fairy-tale-ending

True Viral News ran with Hoover’s story: http://trueviralnews.com/?p=74357

2015 article by ADI about Hoover’s rescue:  http://www.ad-international.org/animal_rescues/go.php?id=3927&ssi=24

Hoover flies into Miami International Airport (MIA) this evening and will arrive to a hero’s welcome! Join Big Cat Rescue in thanking everyone at MIA for welcoming Hoover with this 78-foot sign over the entrance to the airport!!

Hoover Home MIA Jumbo Tron700

#HooverHome @IflyMIA

Miami International Airport (MIA) arranged for elementary school children in the Miami area to write letters and create drawings welcoming Hoover tiger to his new Florida home at Big Cat Rescue!  #HooverHome  @IflyMIA

Kids Letters Welcome HooverHome

More about Hoover’s rescue in Peru below.

 

Hoover at the ADI Rescue Center in Peru

HooverADIRescueCenter1 HooverADIRescueCenter2 HooverFBFreedomSongADI

Hoover Tiger’s New Home at Big Cat Rescue

Hoover Tiger Lakeside

Note to the Press.  You can download the high res version of the above video by clicking Vimeo above, right and selecting the download icon on the page.  Feel free to cut the video into your own footage of Hoover’s arrival so that you can show your audience Hoover’s new world through his own perspective.

HooverTigersNewHomeDenPlatformSide HooverTigersNewHomeLake HooverTigersNewHomeLakeside HooverTigersNewHomePlatform HooverTigersNewHomeSwamp HooverTigersNewHomeWoods

HooverMensTeeBrown Hoover Tee Shirt

Donate now to help feed Hoover at https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9319

And more press on Hoover Tiger:

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Clay Center Dispatch – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Hastings Tribune – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Bryan-College Station Eagle – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog) – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) — A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. AnimalDefenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

TCPalm – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

NewsOK.com – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) — A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. AnimalDefenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

wflx – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

NBC2 News – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

News965 – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the catwas sick and emaciated and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Palm Beach Post – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Washington Times – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

The Republic – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

Greenfield Daily Reporter – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. Theanimal rescue group says the cat was sick and emaciated and lived at a temporary rescue facility in Lima where he was rehabilitated for the 

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

Daily Journal – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 
International Tiger Coalition

International Tiger Coalition

International Tiger Coalition

 

International Tiger Coalition logoTop 10 Tiger Facts

1. Poaching of tigers and their prey is driving decreases in tiger populations throughout their range, along with poaching of their prey and degradation of their habitat.

2. Inadequate law enforcement and residual demand for tiger products pose the greatest near-term threats to the survival of wild tigers.

3. Even talk of reopening trade in farmed (or captive-bred) tiger products has helped sustain residual demand, prompted investors to stockpile tiger skins and bones, and caused police in some Asian countries to take tiger trafficking less seriously.

4. Tiger farms (and other Intensive tiger breeding operations) must be phased out immediately while, at the same time, intelligence-led wildlife law enforcement and demand-reduction campaigns are intensified.

5. Demand reduction campaigns do work, but they have not yet been given adequate support to do so.

6. Intelligence-led law enforcement does work, but it has not been given adequate support to do so.

7. Governments should provide urgently needed support to increase capacity of national, regional and international law enforcement and intelligence exchange mechanisms, especially the coordinating capacities of INTERPOL, the CITES Secretariat and the World Customs Organization.

8. To increase the likelihood to stopping tiger trade from all sources, national, regional and international wildlife law enforcement agencies should compile and share with one another all information on tiger crime.

9. The number of tigers on China’s tiger farms alone has surpassed 6,000, while similar intensive tiger breeding operations are starting up in Southeast Asia. Investors in these farms depend on demand for tiger parts and products to increase. In fact, if wild tigers go extinct, these investors will enjoy a monopoly for supplying tiger-bone wine and tiger skins to China and, perhaps, the world.

10. Registration systems for intensive tiger breeding operations, including those using DNA, will not reduce demand for tiger products. Tiger farms and other intensive tiger breeding operations must be phased out to reduce this grave threat to wild tigers. The mere existence of these facilities sustains consumer demand.

11. China banned domestic tiger trade in 1993 because it was undermining the CITES ban on international tiger trade. The potential for domestic tiger trade in China to undermine CITES is now exponentially greater due to growth of human populations and per capita buying power.

12. The 2010 Chinese Year of the Tiger is offering unprecedented opportunities for policymakers in Asia and around the world to take action to bring back wild tigers. If they do not take immediate and bold new action, there may be no wild tigers left when the Year of the Tiger comes around again in 12 years.

13. Concern for saving “face” among tiger range and consuming counties should not supersede discussing “sensitive” issues that must be addressed if the world is to avoid losing wild tigers.

14. Wild tigers are emblematic of all of nature’s abundance (species and ecosystems) now endangered by degradation and overexploitation. People say, ‘when tigers disappear, forest fall,’ which robs people of livelihoods, food, water and health security.

Other important links include:

CITES Res. Conf. 12.5

CITES Dec. 14.69

CITES Notifications related to Dec. 14.69

EU proposal to amend 12.5 at CITES CoP15

China’s CoP14 report on tigers

New EIA report on tiger trade in China

Harrison Ford w/HSUS Tiger Kids“If we can’t save the tiger from extinction, we can’t save anything!” was repeated in a myriad of ways over the past week in Washington, DC by conservation experts from around the world.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing, over and over and expect a different result.  That has been “conservation as usual” to use the slang bantered about at this two day event that has been formally described as, “The most important conservation initiative undertaken in the history of the world to conserve wild tigers.” 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.

Big Cat Rescue has been accepted into the International Tiger Coalition based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.  We keep the most accurate and up to date information on tigers in captivity, from attacks, maulings and escapes to proper care for tigers who have been bred for life in cages.  We will be working with the team members of the International Tiger Coalition to stop the private possession and trafficking in tigers through better laws.

The US is the 2nd largest consumer of tiger parts.  As China continues to defy world policy on tiger protection through their determination to farm tigers for their parts, it would create a legal market in China for tiger bones, organs and skins.  When tigers are bred for photo opportunities in the US they outgrow their usefulness in just a few short months.  If the trade of tigers in China is legalized, it gives US breeders a loop hole to sell their babies into slaughterhouse situations.  While such slaughter is illegal in the US it is easy for those, who are so unscrupulous as to breed tigers in the first place, to exploit.

This is how they do it:

There is no cooperation between states to track tiger movement.  Those who wish to exploit this lack of governance will license themselves in two states.  Each state only cares about what happens in their own jurisdiction.  Once the cat crosses a state line, no one is tracking what happens next. That way they can quietly disappear. This is why people in the industry are trying so hard to stop federal laws that would require them to be accountable from birth to death.

If a cat is owned by someone in one state, who is also licensed in a second state, and they want to get rid of the cat, all they have to do is tell the state where the cat is currently located that they are sending him to their out of state facility. USDA only tracks movement of tigers (sporadically) from one owner to another and not within the same ownership, even if in two different states.  No one in the other state is alerted that the cat should be arriving and typically never does. This is how the the worst of the abusers bury the trail with the cat.

If big cat breeders and dealers will use a cub and shoot them when they are through it only stands to reason that they would leap at the opportunity to sell the tiger into underground slaughterhouses.  Help Big Cat Rescue and the International Tiger Coalition put an end to tiger farming.

 

Who Cares About Tigers?

The International Tiger Coalition is an alliance of many organizations representing more than 40 organizations across the globe, united under the common aim of stopping trade in tiger parts and products from all sources. Members include:
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Animal Welfare Institute

Animals Asia Foundation

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Tigers need your voiceBig Cat Rescue

Born Free Foundation

Born Free USA (now part of API)

British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Care for the Wild International

Conservation International

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Environmental Investigation Agency

Global Tiger Initiative

Global Tiger Patrol

Humane Society International

Humane Society of the United States

International Fund for Animal Welfare

FREELAND

Save The Tiger Fund

Species Survival Network

Tigris Foundation

TRAFFIC

21st Century Tiger

WildAid

Wildlife Alliance

Wildlife Conservation Nepal

Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Protection Society of India

Wildlife Trust of India

World Association of Zoos & Aquariums

World Society for the Protection of Animals

WWF

Zoological Society of London

This unprecedented coalition, made up of environmental, zoo and animal protection organizations as well as the traditional Chinese medicine community, has come together to speak with one voice in calling for an end to trade in tiger parts and products through increased intelligence-led law enforcement and strengthening existing tiger-trade bans. Furthermore, the coalition joins leaders of the international traditional Chinese medicine industry in asking China to make its successful 14-year tiger-trade ban permanent.

Read the Ten in Ten Plan to save 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years HERE and see how you can help.

See a slideshow of tigers at Big Cat Rescue HERE

Get the 60 page report by TRAFFIC on the role of the U.S. Captive tigers in the trade of tiger parts HERE

The aim of the coalition is to coordinate research, communications and awareness-raising efforts in order to provide an organized response to the organized crime that sustains illegal tiger trade and endangers all wild tigers. www.endtigertrade.org

 

Timeline of the International Tiger Coalition

 

TigerPhototigerphotosA loose coalition of NGO’s began working together in 2007 and had achieved some unprecedented goals by 2009 when Big Cat Rescue joined the coalition.

2009 Big Cat Rescue attended the launch of the World Bank’s involvement in Washington, D.C. which was emceed by Harrison Ford and attended by Bo Derek and Robert Duvall.

2010  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.

2010 Big Cat Rescue sponsored the International Tiger Coalition booth in Doha, Qatar thanks to your votes for us in the Chase contest where we won $25,000. Your votes help save tigers!

2011  Big Cat Rescue made introductions to the members of the ITC to form the Big Cat Coalition.

2016 Presentation in Washington, DC



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

 

Letter to CITES Standing Committee

Open Letter to Participants in the 58th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee Get the PDF

June 24, 2009

From the 40 Member Organizations of the International Tiger Coalition Re: Response to Notification to the Parties Number 2008/059 on Tiger Breeding Operations

In 2007, the CITES Parties agreed by consensus that “Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives.” (Decision 14.69)

In 2008, the CITES Standing Committee decided to ask relevant Parties to report on implementation of Decision 14.69. To this end, the Standing Committee established a working group to assist the CITES Secretariat in developing language for a Notification to the Parties requesting reports, with specific content, from relevant Parties.

Notification number 2008/059, issued on October 8, 2008, asked relevant Parties to report on their implementation of Decision 14.69, specifically:

a) the establishment of a national individual animal registration process incorporating a marking system;

b) the segregation of sexes to prevent further breeding;

c) the development of a strategic plan for the phasing-out of intensive breeding operations on a commercial scale or their conversion to operations devoted solely to the conservation of tigers; and,

d) the development of a policy with regard to what will happen to tigers currently in intensive breeding operations.

The undersigned 40 members of the International Tiger Coalition (ITC) are concerned that no country to which this Notification applies has responded meaningfully, i.e. with the information requested by the Standing Committee.

The only Party to respond at all was China. The ITC welcomes the fact that China responded.

However, Chinese authorities did not report specifically on their implementation of Decision 14.69 and did not address the four aforementioned issues specified in the Notification. Furthermore, the ITC is disappointed that other relevant Parties did not respond to the Notification in any form.

The ITC urges the Standing Committee to mandate the CITES Secretariat to take all appropriate measures to verify progress by relevant Parties to implement Decision 14.69, and to take appropriate steps if reports are not forthcoming within 90 days of the 58th Standing Committee meeting (SC58). Measures should include sending a delegation to relevant countries to assess their actions to implement the Decision and reporting to the next Standing Committee meeting, directly before the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties. The ITC also calls for donors to support such missions.

CITES Parties have endorsed the view that tiger farming for commercial purposes is a threat to the survival of wild tigers and needs to be stopped. We urge the Standing Committee, the CITES Secretariat and all relevant Parties to ensure full implementation of Decision 14.69 and full reporting on progress towards doing so as requested under the Notification. The CITES Parties were unanimous at CoP14 in their concerns for the future of wild tigers. That future requires a serious and timely response to this critical issue.

We thank you for your consideration,

International Tiger Coalition

American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine

AMUR

Animal Welfare Institute

Wildlife Trust of India

Animals Asia Foundation

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Big Cat Rescue

Born Free Foundation

Born Free USA

British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Care for the Wild International

Conservation International

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Education for Nature – Vietnam

Environmental Investigation Agency

FREELAND

Global Tiger Patrol

Humane Society International

Humane Society of the United States

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Phoenix Fund

Pro Fauna Indonesia

Save The Tiger Fund

Species Survival Network

The Tigris Foundation

Tour Operators for Tigers

TRAFFIC

21st Century Tiger

WildAid

Wild Cat Conservation Legal Aid Society

Wildlife Conservation Nepal

Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Trust of India

Wildlife Watch Group

World Association of Zoos @ Axquariums

World Society for the Protection of Animals

World Wildlife Fund

Zoological Society of London

Teisha

Teisha

Final Report on Teisha Tiger

Teisha TigerMy hands were shaking, all the way up my arms and vibrating my torso.  It was the emotional tension of what was going to happen next and the physical tension of holding the Y pole in such a way to ensure that the vet wouldn’t take a bite to her face and making sure that the touch against Teisha’s neck was only feather light.  She had been sedated twenty minutes earlier and appeared to be completely unconscious but you just never know when a big cat will wake with no warning or if some muscle spasm might cause them to chomp at the air. Usually this was Jamie’s roll, but she was inbound on a flight from St. Kitts, where she and Dr. Justin Boorstein, her husband and our other volunteer vet, had been lecturing to the 200 vet students there.  Gale is much more experienced as a vet tech, and was assisting by holding off a vein to cause it to bulge enough so that Dr. Wynn could inject the pink liquid that would ease Teisha to whatever comes next.

The needle was thin, so I could see Dr. Wynn successfully struggling against the thick fluid.  She was trying desperately to make this last moment that Teisha had on this planet one that was filled with peace and a feeling of being surrounded by souls who loved her.  As usual, when cats are sedated, I was breathing in rhythm with her and watching every heart beat, in its tiniest movement of her thick fur and whiskers.  If you have ever had to euthanize a beloved pet, or sat by the bedside of a loved one who was dying, you know that mere seconds feel like an eternity.  A wash of memories flooded over me.

Years ago when Ohio finally outlawed the private possession of lions, tigers and other big cats, in the wake of the Zanesville massacre, there were a couple of loud mouths who vowed they would never comply with the law.  The reasons they gave, in the ensuing legal battles, was that there was no where for their cats to go.  I always assume these big cat breeders and exploiters are lying, but give them the benefit of the doubt and contact them to let them know that there are accredited sanctuaries who will make sure the cats will find permanent homes.  I contacted Stapleton but he didn’t return my emails or posts to his social pages.

When the Ohio Department of Agriculture enforced the law in 2015 I let them know that we and other sanctuaries, who are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, were standing by and willing to help.  Having dealt with us before, ODA knew that we were the best equipped to deal with the health issues they were seeing in one of Stapleton’s five tigers.  At the time of confiscation they noticed that she did not stand, even when darted.  When they asked if she was suffering some sort of disability, it’s reported that her owner casually said that she couldn’t walk because her cage mates beat her up all the time.

Once back at the state holding facility they treated her for deep punctures to her neck and back that appeared to have been from the other tigers biting her.  They noticed that she couldn’t walk and would lay in her own waste.  Because their temporary enclosures were cement floored, ODA asked if we would take her.  They knew that we have soft earthen floors, an amazing vet team, an abundance of professional animal care givers and the funding provided by our donors that would give Teisha every chance at recovery.  On October 21, 2015 our rescue team set out on the 15 hour drive to bring Teisha Tiger to Florida.

It’s been seven months, but it feels like it was yesterday that our team rolled Teisha out of the transport trailer and up to the side of the area that would be her new home. It took Teisha 3 hours to stand up and make it down the ramp we built from her rolling cage, which was only about 20 inches off the ground, to the deep soft sand of her 1200 square foot home.  She was exhausted from the ride and 60 pounds overweight, from getting a lousy diet and no exercise, for who knows how long.  Our first goal was to bring her weight down and see if that would enable her to walk.

Teisha TAs the pounds came off Teisha was able to go from dragging her back legs to actually standing on them and taking a few steps.  As she got stronger she was able to pull herself into and out of her pool and delighted everyone with her antics.  She would hold her breath and try to catch the little fish and would blow bubbles out her nose.  I remember Teisha getting her first Halloween pumpkin.  I loved seeing her enjoy a life, free from the abuse that had surely been inflicted on her by people and cage mates in that tiny, barren cage she lived in her 13 years prior.  All was seeming to progress well, albeit slowly for her, but then she began to relapse.  She walked less and less and by the end of April had begun to drag her back legs.

We had done X-rays that showed a narrowing of the spine, but couldn’t find a veterinarian who could do such delicate work without the benefit of an MRI.  On May 2, 2016 we found a vet who said she could do the surgery, and wanted the MRI to be done at her local facility in Gainesville.  We had reached the end of our ability to help Teisha.  As much as we hated the idea of loading her up for the 2.5 hour trip to the University of Florida’s Large Animal Hospital, we knew it was her only chance.  I never expected her to return from that trip as the stress of the MRI and surgery, either one, could be the end of her.

What the MRI showed was that there were 15 places along her back that had bulging discs and defects pinching her spinal cord.  The vet said they were so bad and had been going on for so long that there was nothing she could do surgically.  We thought that would be the end of it, but she encouraged us by suggesting that treating her with steroids could reduce the inflammation enough to give her relief and make it possible for her to walk again.

Teisha seemed game to try so we gave it our best.  She was a champ; always taking her meds (no easy feat as cats are notoriously hard to pill) and eating well.  Her keepers tried to use feeding time as physical therapy time to get her on her feet and maybe take a step or two so that her muscles wouldn’t atrophy.  Like before, she had a modest gain, but then relapsed again.  On May 24, 2016 she nearly choked to death because she couldn’t keep herself upright while eating.  Once she fell on her side, she could barely breathe well enough to cough the little square of meat back up.  We had to cut her food into tiny, tiny pieces to keep that from happening again.

On Friday she made her last tumbling, dragging walk from the side of her enclosure where she and the cat next door would chat, to the pool area lakeside.  Teisha laid there in the misting breeze of her fan, and looked out over the lake. She continued to eat and took her meds but her body was failing and she could no longer walk. When we saw that she was unable to get our of her own waste, we called the vet to come assess her condition.  Dr. Wynn was torn between knowing that euthanasia was the humane thing to do and the concern that Dr. Boorstein, who had been tending to Teisha during most of this, might feel that he should be here; but he was on a plane somewhere east of Cuba.  Teisha couldn’t bathe herself and flies were gathering.  I didn’t want even one more fly to land on this precious tiger.  I told her Dr. Justin would be fine with our decision to end the suffering.

So here we were.  It’s one of those awful decisions that has to be made because an animal just can’t go another hour or another day, but it fell on Memorial Day.  Like Simba Tiger, all those years ago on Thanksgiving, a holiday just makes the situation worse because you are sure to re live it every year on that day.  As hard as it was for everyone involved here, we all loved Teisha too much to make her wait.

Her breathing stopped, and I found myself holding my breath, until I realized that it was her last.  Dr. Wynn checked her heart with the stethoscope, but I could see there was no more gentle thumping beneath the fur.  Teisha was gone and the only thing that kept me from breaking down and sobbing over her lifeless body was the anger I felt at a society that allowed her abuse.  Teisha’s passing furthers my resolve to end the private possession of big cats.  No tiger should ever be bred to be used as an ego prop and then relegated to a nasty backyard cage to be denied everything that makes tigers the regal, untouchable creatures they were designed to be.

Take Action buttonIf Teisha’s story touched your heart, please call your legislator today and ask them to champion the BigCatAct.com  Don’t let her suffering have all been in vain.

Tributes to Teisha Tiger:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/teisha-tiger

Below was the rescue story and updates on Teisha

Big Cat Rescuers Have Rescued a 13-Year-Old Tiger Named Teisha from Ohio…


DONATE HERE TO HELP US CONTINUE TO RESCUE CATS LIKE TEISHA

On Monday, October 5, 2015, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office took possession of 5 tigers from Mike Stapleton, owner of Paws & Claws Animal Sanctuary near Columbus.

Stapleton has been battling state officials to keep his tigers ever since Ohio legislators enacted an exotic animal law that went into effect almost two years ago. Authorities arrived prepared to seize Stapleton’s cats after he had vowed to never give up his cats, but in the end Stapleton peacefully surrendered his cats. All 5 cats will be placed in approved sanctuaries outside of Ohio.

Teisha TigerWhen we learned that Teisha – a 13-year-old tiger, in such bad shape that she was unable to walk, and didn’t move even during the chaos and darting when authorities took possession of her two weeks ago – we immediately offered to bring Teisha to Big Cat Rescue where we can provide her with the best possible medical and dental care and nutrition.

It is our understanding that Stapleton told people on the scene Teisha had been injured by the other tigers in the cage, who constantly picked on her. It’s doubtful that a vet ever examined Teisha before ODA rescued her.  The ODA vets treated her for deep puncture wounds, and heavy parasite loads upon arrival.

Four Big Cat Rescuers left Tampa on Wednesday, October 21, for the 15-hour drive up to Ohio with our transport carrier. They drove straight through and met with Ohio authorities this morning and took possession of Teisha. They are now en route back to Tampa with their precious cargo.

Until we get Teisha to Big Cat Rescue on Friday, and our vets can examine her at our Windsong Memorial Hospital, we are not sure what her exact condition is and how serious her injuries are.

We do know that for the first week after she was rescued by ODA, she did not stand and just peed and defecated while laying down. The ODA vets put her on pain medication and she has begun getting up and walking a little bit. It’s heartbreaking to speculate how long Teisha has been in pain but not receiving any medication while owned by Stapleton.

ODA also told us Teisha may have some bad teeth, which is sadly very common for cats who are pulled from their mothers at birth to be used as photo props and fed an improper diet. When big cats lack calcium, they pull it from their bones before pulling it from their own teeth. This is nature’s way as tigers would not be able to survive if they can’t chew. So that means tigers like Teisha who have bad teeth also suffer from very fragile bones. This may be why she can’t walk.

We will post updates about Teisha and her prognosis as we can. It is only because of our amazing donors like YOU that Big Cat Rescue can save these cats! THANK YOU for your continuing support of our work and our sanctuary!

DONATE HERE TO HELP US CONTINUE TO RESCUE CATS LIKE TEISHA


Rescue Photos

 

See all of the photos of Teisha the tiger as we get them here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153390842851919.1073741904.595786918&type=1&l=33a4b86167

#bigcatrescue @bigcatrescue #truth

Update 5/30/16

Even with the steroid therapy, recommended after seeing the results of her MRI, Teisha Tiger continued to worsen.  On May 24 she nearly choked to death because she wasn’t mobile enough to cough up small chunk of meat.  We began cutting her food into even smaller pieces, and feeding her on a stick to make it easier on her, but on Friday, the 27th she took her last walk.  She walked out to her pool, where she could lay in the misting breeze of her fan, and look out over the lake.  She continued to eat and took her meds but her body was failing and she could no longer walk.  When we saw that she was unable to get our of her own waste, we called the vet to come ease her to the other side. Her transition was peaceful and her suffering has ended, but we will miss her gentle spirit.

Take Action buttonDon’t let Teisha’s suffering be in vain. You should know that whenever someone poses with a cub for a photo, or pays to see cubs on display, that they have contributed to this sort of suffering that goes on behind closed gates all around the world.  

Update 5/5/16

This video clip is 3 days after Teisha’s MRI.

Tiesha Tiger has had mobility issues since she was rescued from Ohio in October of 2015.  These could have been caused from inbreeding, poor nutrition due to being pulled from her mother to be a plaything, injuries from being passed around, and from being beaten up by her cage mates when she was no longer a cute cub. When she first arrived she was too heavy and unhealthy to sedate, so we put her on a diet to get her a little bit leaner so we could sedate her.

The x-rays showed she had arthritis all along her spine. She was put on medication to help with inflammation and pain. Still, her condition worsened, so we decided to take her to the University of Florida for a full exam.

There she had an MRI which showed she had several bulging discs putting pressure all along her spine especially in her neck.  The specialist said that surgery was not an option because of the number of areas that would have to be repaired, however they did think that steroids would help her greatly.  The vet said that Teisha has been in this condition for many years.

Since her return those who have seen her may have noticed that she is a lot worse than when she left.  She can barely move her back legs and she cannot stand up and walk on her own.  This can be a result of being sedated and manipulated for the exam and MRI.

If you think about if any of you have had a hurt back in the past know that if you move a certain way it will hurt so you either brace yourself or move a different way.  Being sedated Tiesha may have been moved in ways that put pressure on her spine increasing Inflammation or worst-case furthering the damage to her spinal cord.  It could take several days for the inflammation to go down and for her to go back to normal for her.  In the meantime we have her on the new medication which can take up to two weeks to show their full effects.

Our vets will be watching her closely over the next few days and observing her quality-of-life.  We may be trying K-laser therapy as well.  If it seems that she is not going to improve we will have to make the decision to let her go.

 

Update 5/2/2016

There’s just something about Teisha.  I fell in love with her at first glance and she’s had a similar effect on just about everyone she has met.  You see in her such a playful peaceful spirit, despite having been treated so badly by humans and her own kind.  Cats hate diets as much as people do; maybe more, because eating is the highlight in their day.  It’s been especially hard to restrict her food, and bring her down to a weight that her pinched spine can support, because she looks at you with those enormous golden eyes, that plead, “Just one more, please?”

Most places feed fat scraps to their cats because they can get it for free, but the result is cats that are morbidly obese, like Teisha and her cage mates all were. Even without the spinal injuries, it would have been very hard for her bones and back to carry so much weight, so she had to lose some weight.  From Oct till April she’s gone from looking like a beached whale (361 lbs) to looking like a fit tiger (326 lbs), but her ability to get around has only improved slightly.  Even with those improvements she has bad days where all she can do is drag her back end.  Since her arrival our vets have been in consultation with specialists from all over trying to find someone who could do the delicate spinal surgery if an MRI shows that could improve her condition.

Thanks to wonderful donors we were able to do the X-rays on site, in our own Windsong Memorial Hospital, and we see a narrowing of the spine that could be the culprit.  It’s just impossible to tell if that would be operable without an MRI, so this morning, after weeks of arrangements were finalized, Teisha Tiger is on her way to the University of Florida’s state of the art, large animal veterinary hospital.  Because the MRI takes so long, and keeping a big cat sedated is such a dangerous proposition for the cat, they will probably do the MRI today and then, if they think she is operable, will do the operation tomorrow.  Our President, Jamie Veronica, and her husband and vet, Dr. Justin Boorstein will stay with her in Gainesville.

Teisha’s prognosis is not good.  I tearfully said “goodbye” to her as we shut the trailer doors, because I don’t expect to see her again.  Everything about this is hard for her.  The trip is long and miserable, even though she has A/C, C02 monitors and CCTV.  Sedation is extremely dangerous in big cats and that alone can kill them.  Our vets know what they are doing, but UF probably will insist that only their vets be in charge, and they probably don’t treat as many tigers as our vets do.  Spinal surgery, if that is the option they choose, has all of its own risks, that are further complicated by the sedation for such a long, tedious process.  Then there is that long ride home, after just having had surgery.  It’s all a rotten hand that Teisha has been dealt, but if we can give her a good quality of life in the end, it will be worth it.  And it will be worth the $6,000 that UF said it might cost us.

Give to Big Cat Rescue

Donating to our general food fund helps us cover the daily costs of caring for so many big cats so that we can afford to give Teisha the medical care that could save her life.

 

Video Update on Teisha 10 25 15

 


WHY Change Name from Keisha to Teisha?

We always try to keep a cat’s name, but at Big Cat Rescue we have protocols that demand every Keeper post observations to a database that shares the info with the CEO, President, Ops Mgr, maintenance crew and the Vets if it is a medical related post. Each cat has to have a unique name in the database.

We have had cats with the same name before, like Cleo Cougar, Cleo Serval and Cleo Bobcat, but we already had a Keisha Tiger. Calling the new cat Teisha Tiger makes sure that her observations records are unique to her and sounds similar enough to her that we hope she will just pass it off as a regional accent.

Cats are masters at hiding symptoms when they are ill. Daily observations are crucially important to managing health. That observations database is vital part of the daily care so a unique name is a must.

Teisha is an Arabic name that means Alive and Well, which is our goal for her.


October 25, 2015 Teisha got her first perfume tube and she certainly enjoyed sinking her claws and teeth into it.

New rescue tiger, Teisha, enjoyed her first perfume tube.


 


UPDATE: When we first saw how crippled she was, we thought we would have to sedate her, yet again, to do Xrays and maybe an MRI, but on the same pain management drugs that our other arthritic cats are on, she’s doing great, so we will just watch her closely and see how she does as she loses all of that excess weight.


VIDEO – Join the crew on the road trip to pick up Teisha and see how she is doing now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPhX5t18zSQ


Early November 2015 – Teisha’s 1st Pumpkin at Big Cat Rescue.

Teisha T


November 8, 2015 – Teisha Tiger is settling in nicely. She is beginning to look forward to her enrichment goodies and is learning which keepers clean and which keepers bring treats and what time breakfast is etc.

Teisha Tiger is settling in nicely. She is beginning to look forward to her enrichment goodies and is learning which keepers clean and which keepers bring treats and what time breakfast is etc.


November 12th, 2015 – Teisha mastered getting in and out of her pool yesterday.  Today, she has been in and out a few times. HAPPY TIGER

Teisha-1st-time-in-pool-IMG_0008-WP

Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmaVJ-qdawk


 

 

Don’t They Miss Being Petted?

Don’t They Miss Being Petted?

I hear that almost every time I explain that we are a NO CONTACT facility.

Wild animals shouldn’t be kept as pets.  Most of the cats at Big Cat Rescue were once kept as pets who are usually discarded once they become adults and begin to spray and bite.  We do not allow contact between staff or volunteers or the public with the cats; even the small ones.  There are a lot of reasons:

Bobcat Little Feather

Bobcat Little Feather

1.  The cats are solitary by nature and do not seek our affection.

2.  It is dangerous to have any part of your body on the same side of the fence as the cat.

3.  It gives the false impression to those who see the photos or videos to think these cats might make good pets.

For many years we did not allow any kind of contact but as our population of cats has aged they are less able to groom themselves.  80% of our cats are over the age of 15 which is already several years older than these cats live in the wild or in most other facilities.  Some of our cats cannot groom off the winter coats in areas around their backs and necks so we are trying something new with a specially made back scratcher, available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

It looks like a car’s radio antennae and is extendable to keep the Senior Keeper’s hands out of striking distance.  It has a little hand of rounded fingers to scratch loose the mats.  As you can see the cat really likes getting rid of the loose fur.

Why do other places pet big cats?

There is only one reason that people post pictures of themselves touching big cats.  It is to show off.

They make all kinds of excuses for their egotistic behavior and say stupid things like:

  1.  The cats get depressed if we don’t pet them.
  2. It helps them deal with captivity.
  3. It makes people understand that they should be protected.
  4. It fosters a desire to protect them in the wild.
  5. They have to encourage cub petting to raise the money to feed the adult cats.

Let’s expose these lies for what they are.

The cats get depressed if we don’t pet them.

Big Cat Rescue doesn’t allow petting and our cats live longer, happier, healthier lives than any where else on the planet.

No scientist has ever concluded such a ridiculous finding after doing any sort of real study.

If the cage is so small and barren that this is the case, then what the owner needs to do is give them more space, more places to enjoy, more enrichment and things the cat actually does want.

It helps them deal with captivity.

Why is it that the very people making such claims are the ones breeding or buying more cats for life in cages?

Nothing will make captivity an acceptable alternative for living free; least of all putting the person and the cat in danger.  Yes, the cat is in danger, because if the person gets bitten the authorities can insist that the head be cut off and tested for rabies, even if the person who was bitten doesn’t want them to and even if the cat is up to date on their rabies shots.

It makes people understand that they should be protected.

This is probably the most common lie.  The backyard breeders and exotic pet owners heard it from the zoos who have been using this lame excuse for their very existence.

In fact, studies have shown that when people are seen in close proximity to endangered species the reaction by the public is that they must not be endangered, or that wouldn’t be allowed.

The underlying message is that these animals can be tamed and treated like pets, so people buy them and pay to touch them and further the abuse, rather than treating them with respect.

It fosters a desire to protect them in the wild.

Wrong!  Seeing people petting big cats makes people want to pay to pet big cats or to own them.  THAT is what the people who are promoting the petting are trying to foster; not real conservation.

They have to encourage cub petting to raise the money to feed the adult cats.

It’s hard to believe that anyone falls for this excuse because it is just so lacking in common sense.  How crazy is it to keep breeding more big mouths to feed if you can’t feed the big mouths you already bred and exploited?  That is a situation that is doomed to end in disaster and anyone who participates in it, is equally responsible for the misery and suffering that will surely ensue.