Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant spent four years surveying thousands of nonprofit CEOs, conducting hundreds of interviews, and studying 12 high-impact nonprofits to uncover their secrets to success. The result was an intelligent, articulate analysis on how non profits, and those who donate to them, can make a lasting difference.
The book explained what non profits need to do, to achieve a far greater impact than they can do alone. It was validating to know that Big Cat Rescue is practicing all six of the primary strategies for being a high impact charity.
There are 2.2 million charities registered in America who are competing for about 1 trillion donor dollars. There are 30,000 or more new charities being formed each year, making it the third largest industry in the U.S. Donors are often confused about where their hard earned money should go, to do the most good, and the standards currently employed to determine good charities from bad, don’t have a good way to measure how much impact is made, by each dollar donated. Charity Navigator is considered THE place to go to get an unbiased opinion of the charities they have reviewed, and Big Cat Rescue ranks higher than any other exotic animal organization, so for us to say there is a better way to rank non profits comes from this position of recognition.
Forces for Good examined 12 great non profits (none animal related) that they felt did the most good, with the resources they had, and looked at what they have in common. Briefly, I’d like to outline the 6 practices the authors found to be most important and give a few examples of how Big Cat Rescue implements them.
1. Work with government to advocate for policy change, in addition to providing services.
Since 1998 Big Cat Rescue has been involved in changing laws to protect big cats, in addition to caring for hundreds of wild cats, that we have rescued from abuse and neglect. See what we are working on now at CatLaws.com
2. Harness market forces and see business as a powerful partner.
Cambridge University Press selected our article on Cause Related Marketing for their Professional English in Use Series textbooks called Professional English in Use – Marketing. It is a new addition to the Profession English in Use Series that is a self study reference book that was used for classroom work and tutoring. Cambridge included Baskin in their 2008 Who’s Who Among Executive and Professional Women “Honors Edition.” as well. Over the years we have found many for profit partners to work with, including Styx, C1 Bank and The Body Shop.
3. Create meaningful experiences for individual supporters, converting them into evangelists for the cause.
We give an inside look at all of our work to our supporters through guided tours, where they learn about the histories of our cats, to our weekly videos, to our many daily posts to social sites, to our live webcams. By involving our fans in the rescue, care and struggles of dealing with the plight of big cats, they can speak intelligently to others about ways to end the abuses that cause so many exotic cats to be in need of shelter. Through their evangelism we have won many monetary prizes, awards and a new Toyota Tundra.
4. Build and nurture networks and coalitions.
We share our knowledge and resources with other accredited sanctuaries so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We have created more than 20 “sanctuary in a box” Intranet sites with all of the training and operation manuals, as well as animal care documentation programs, to expedite the best possible conditions for captive wildlife. In 2009 we joined more than 40, much larger non profits as part of the International Tiger Coalition and in 2011 a smaller group of the same organizations came together to work on a 3 prong approach to ending the big cat crisis in America.
As part of that coalition, we have successfully petitioned USDA to end cub handling under the current criteria of the Animals Welfare Act, and have petitioned the USFWS to rescind their “generic tiger loophole” that allows the unbridled breeding of tigers for pay to play schemes. We have also been gaining momentum on a federal ban on the private possession of big cats. More about these efforts at BigCatRescue.org/cubs
5. Adapt to changing environments and are as nimble as they are strategic.
With more than 100 big mouths to feed, we survived the catastrophic effects of 9/11 which resulted in several years of virtually no donations to animal causes and no tourism. We were able to turn on a dime and figure out what we had to offer in that environment which saved our cats and enabled us to continue our fight to protect other wild cats from being used as pets, props and for their parts. Essentially what we did was to give people a way to feel good about what they could do in and environment that left many feeling fearful and as if they had no control over a global crisis.
6. Share leadership and credit and empower others to be forces for good.
If you don’t care who gets the credit for it, you can accomplish just about anything. Our coalition partners are some of the most well known in the industry and include the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, the World Wildlife Fund, Born Free, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. While one or another of them may be the lead on our many efforts, we are all working together, and promoting each other’s campaigns, with the shared vision of a world where all wild animals live free.
Inside Big Cat Rescue we are able to operate leanly by having all animal care done by volunteers so that more than 80% of donations go to program services. With 14 paid staff, each person is essentially their own department and responsible for garnering the volunteer help they need to achieve their objectives. Each staff member is free to do whatever works best for them to get the job done, within the culture of Big Cat Rescue which is based on transparency, integrity and respect for all life. We all meet weekly to discuss issues we are working on to utilize the skills of each other to our best potential.
Whether you’re a nonprofit leader, a philanthropist, a business executive, a donor, a volunteer, a board member—or simply interested in learning how to be a force for good—you’ll find something that inspires you to be an even more effective catalyst for lasting social change in this book.
Big Cat Rescue is now able to accept noncash donations, including vehicles. We are hopeful that donated vehicles will help us make a difference as we end the trade in big cats. Car donations have an average value of over $1,600! That type of donation can make a BIG impact.
For example, $1,600 would allow us to feed a big cat for 48 days.
Donating a used car is an easy, low-stress process. You don’t need to worry about lining up potential buyers or fixing broken parts. We’ll schedule a time to take the car off your hands and provide you with the right receipts for your tax deduction. And the donation process is incredibly simple – you can give your car right on our website! Jumpstart your giving online by clicking on the Vehicle button at the top of right of this page or at: http://bigcatrescue.org/donate/
Sincerely, Carole Baskin
*We don’t only take cars! If you have a boat, RV, or other vehicle you’d like to give, you can donate it here as well.
April 21, 2015 Mexico City, Mexico: Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Antonio Franyuti, Founder of Animal Heroes, and Lourdes Lopes, Federal Deputy for the Green Party PVEM, entered into a Declaration that we would work together find and build sanctuaries to care for the big cats who have been banned from being used in public exhibition. The contract was signed following a two hour presentation to the media and members of Mexico’s congress.
While it may have been our signatures on the formal decree, I knew it was the beautiful woman on my right, Vanessa Fernandez Thomas and her adoring husband, Omar Gallegos, who sat in crowd before us, who had been instrumental in bringing this day to fruition. After spending many months petitioning Congress, and creating and posting more than 200 enormous billboards across the country, that exposed the cruelty inherent in making wild animals perform, Vanessa had held Jeff Kremer and I spell bound during the tense moments of voting in 2014 that resulted in the passage of one of Mexico’s most forward thinking laws to protect wild animals. The new law made it illegal to use wild animals in circus acts or in any kind of performance. The law was set to become enforceable in July 2015.
Those who have made money from abusing lions and tigers did everything they could to prevent this day. More than five hundred angry circus carnies had actually surrounded the building of Congress to try and prevent Mexico’s Congress from being able to go inside to vote for the bill. At the conference today, I learned from grassroots leader, Antonio Franyuti, that 80% of the citizens polled were in favor of the law, but the circus would use any means at their disposal to keep using animals for their own gain.
Video of the Presentation to the Press and Members of Congress
Sitting on the panel, before 6 television cameras and approximately 30 interested parties and reporters, I was introduced by Jesus Sesma Suarez, the Deputy of the Green Party in DF. I would learn later that he had been a voice for the animals from several years ago when he tried, unsuccessfully to outlaw bull fighting and then when he had succeeded in passing the first Mexican law to prohibit cruelty to domestic animals. When he presented the idea to Congress that using wild animals in circus and performing acts was being outlawed around the world and carried the voice of the masses to end it in Mexico, he was attacked by the circus owners.
He and his family had been threatened with death and had been exposed to circus owners hurling dead rats into his walled home. For the safety of his family, he moved them out of town, but he stood firm in his commitment to the animals and braved the abuse bestowed on him. After the bill became law, he and the Green Party, who had championed this bill through Congress had been the target of false reporting by the media, mostly from the U.K., who had seized upon the controversy, without giving any thought to the real plight of the animals.
What played out in the press were the circus owners both claiming how much they loved these animals and that they would kill the animals if they couldn’t profit from them. The news really showed the vile circus owners for the animal abusers they are, but the press continued to try and point the blame at the Mexican government for ending the abusive animal performances. The purpose of today’s press conference was to show that the public supports the law, the international community is prepared to help with the placement of the wild animals and the Green Party announced their commitment to build sanctuaries for the animals and to amend the law to prohibit the owners from killing their animals just to spite the authorities.
Also on the panel today was Carlos Puentes who is a Federal Senator of the Republic of Mexico and thought to be a favorite for the position of Governor in the next elections. Omar Gallegos and his wife Vanessa Fernandez Thomas own CPM Publicidad which is a printing company that creates thousands of billboards and bus wraps through Mexico for vendors as well known as Coke and for political candidates. Being so close to so many politicians, Omar revealed to me during one of our drives across town, in their armored car, that all he has to do is tell them to talk to his wife and she will persuade them to save the big cats.
Vanessa is no fan of politics, but she knows that this is the only way to stop the suffering of lions and tigers who have been whipped, chained and kept in tiny travel wagons for most of their lives. She is hoping that the new law will also extend to lion and tiger cubs who are forced to perform for tourists in the port areas of Mexico. Just like in the U.S. these cubs are snatched from their mothers when they are first born and then passed around for photo ops until they die from exhaustion. Surely the new law will see that they too are being forced to perform for their owners.
Antonio Franyuti is another one who really doesn’t like to deal with the political side of animal welfare, but he was the vegan leader of Animal Naturalis, he realized that his small band of 34 animal advocates could have a huge impact on thousands of wild animals when they employed the power of their social influence. In a calculated and well thought out strategy, they contacted celebrities who had mentioned animals on their social sites and asked them to personally call members of Congress to ask for their support of what is commonly referred to as the Circus Ban, even though it extends far past just circus abuse. Some members of Animal Naturalis, including Aldo Munoz, did not want to be involved in politics, so Antonio decided to split off and create Animal Heroes. When he did, 30 of his 34 of his colleagues came with him.
I had dinner with Omar, Vanessa and Antonio the night before the conference and Antonio said he had been working with Pat Craig of Wild Animal Sanctuary to move 47 lions and tigers from a Mexican circus who was willing to give up their cats. (The current law cannot confiscate the animals just for being possessed by the circus; it just outlaws using them in performances.) Pat had hosted the SEMARNAT Director, who would be the equivalent of the Director of Wildlife in Mexico just last week, but the Director did not know about the circus’ pledge to Antonio that they would allow their animals to be rescued. This highlighted the lack of information being shared between the Mexican government, the circus owners (who are refusing to give an accurate accounting of their wild animals census) and those in the rescue community who are willing to help.
Part of today’s agreement included promises by the Mexican authorities to share information with the global rescue community in order to make the transition from lives of deprivation and abuse to sanctuaries as smooth as possible.
Today’s outcome was far better than I could have expected because I came into the conference not knowing exactly what they wanted. All I knew was they wanted to hear how Big Cat Rescue does what it does and to keep it to about 20 minutes. Through photos and videos I gave the best advice I could about how Mexico could build its own sanctuary in such a way that the lives would be humane for the lions and tigers AND could be run on local and international volunteer help AND be self sustaining financially, if done right. Transparency and putting the needs of the animals first were the most critical aspects and not concepts that are usually considered synonymous with politicians.
A great honor was bestowed upon Omar today when Jesus and Carlos asked that he oversee the building of a new big cat sanctuary in Chiapas, Mexico. They know that he and Vanessa will see to it the funds are used to build large enclosures of 1500 square feet per cat, with a 2.5 acre vacation area to be shared with 20 cats who will be rotated through individually or in family groups. There are two other sites under consideration for the project, but Chiapas make the most sense, based on Panthera’s Jaguar project in the region and the potential for international visitors and volunteers who wish to experience the wild jungles of Mexico’s vast array of eco systems. Omar feels certain that after watching Jamie Veronica’s extensive video about how to build such enclosures and getting his hands on some of the materials and tools we use (that made it through customs) that he could build the first phase of such a facility in less than 3 months and that’s all the time we need.
The Congress decided today to extend the time for enforcing the ban until October, so that the sanctuary can be started and arrangements can be made in the global rescue community for placement of as many big cats as the circus owners are willing to hand over.
Maybe the guardian angel for all of these abused wild animals was BuBu the white tiger. Two years ago, before Vanessa and Omar knew anything about white tigers, or owning wild animals as pets, Omar presented Vanessa with the gift of a white tiger cub. The blue eyed darling was named BuBu and became the great love of Vanessa’s life, but it wasn’t long before they figured out that having a tiger in the house is no fun for the cat or the people.
Vanessa searched everywhere for a suitable home for BuBu and finally found a place to board her where she would have plenty of room to run and where Vanessa and her family could continue to visit BuBu every day. One very sad day, when BuBu was 7 months old, she was mauled by a jaguar in a cage sharing the wall where she was being held, and had to be euthanized. Vanessa then began her great quest to end the private possession and abuse of these magnificent wild animals. BuBu’s grave is in the garden of their home in Santa Fe and is a daily reminder that we have much work to do to end the abuse.
What is next for the Sanctuary in Mexico?
During my week in Mexico I had many discussions with Vanessa and Omar about the details of building a facility in phases. Omar vigorously translated my feet and dollars into meters and pesos to calculate the cost of the first phase. Vanessa wants the cats to have as much space as possible because she has seen the difference it makes in the cats’ happiness. The Green Party has continued the discussions with Omar and Vanessa about the initial funding. I don’t speak Spanish, so I don’t know how that part is going to work, but Omar assures me that funding will come and that this sanctuary will be built.
Big Cat Rescue has pledged to assist with the designing and engineering aspects to ensure the safety of the facility for the cats, the keepers, the visitors and the surrounding area. I hope to make a trip to Chiapas soon to look at the land, which is an abandoned airport, and work with Omar and Vanessa on the layout of caging, support buildings, intern housing, etc. I’d love to see the airport put back into operation for the limited purpose of the sanctuary, as the nearest airport is about 45 minutes away. This might help encourage both visitors and interns, if the puddle jumper flight were cheap enough.
Big Cat Rescue will also help with the training of keepers and will promote the sanctuary to our volunteers and interns to help keep it staffed. I am sure our vets will want to help with the injured lions and tigers who are rescued and in spaying and neutering to ensure that these are the last of their line to be born in cages. Hopefully we can get a lot of frequent flier miles donated to cover the cost of assisting in country as well as what we can do from afar. I’m told that Chiapas is the most beautiful and natural area in Mexico. I know Jamie and Dr. Justin will want to also get involved with Panthera there in any way they can assist wild jaguars.
Antonio Franyuti and Adriana Buenrostro have been working against amazing odds to further laws that protect animals. I was so impressed with what they have done so far, that I told them I would like to support their work. They have promised to keep us updated. They said their part of the campaign to end the use of wild animals in performances only cost them $3,000 because they rely heavily on friends to house and feed them as they travel Mexico and their work has been done mostly in the cloud on social sites. Both have given up house and family to be Animal Heroes.
Antonio relayed that he had to hide his family, after circus owners threatened him and said he should leave them alone if he cared about his 3 year old son’s safety. Adriana studied political science, but cannot earn money from her degree because she is too busy trying to build coalitions and change public opinion and policy. They said they often have to decide which meal they will try to eat in a day, because there are very few opportunities to do so more than once. Despite these difficulties, they both say they are happy because they know they are making a difference.
Antonio has been in contact with Kelly Donithan at IFAW and Pat Craig at Wild Animal Sanctuary. He is reaching out to the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries to see if there is capacity for housing big cats if there are more than can be placed in the new sanctuary, or some who are ready to go before the sanctuary is built. I know that Pat Craig has offered to take a large number of lions and tigers but has been frustrated by the government’s lack of inertia. Hopefully that will change now.
People ask if Big Cat Rescue will take cats from Mexico and we have some space, but I believe it will be much more cost effective to keep them in Chiapas. Time will tell.
This video was recorded by Vanessa’s son, Javier Fernandez, and is in Spanish, except for the end where we were all discussing the great media coverage.
Big Cat Rescue had 89 volunteers at the end of 2014 who clocked in 40,547 man-power hours, in addition to 54 interns who clocked 32,400 man-power hours, plus 4,793 Volunteer Committee member hours. In total this amounted to 77,740 man-power hours provided roughly the equivalent workforce of 37 more full time staff. Between paid staff, part time staff, contractors and volunteers we averaged the equivalent of 52 full time staff.
This section will be for gathering assets to be translated into Spanish for use in creating sanctuaries for big cats in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries.
Esta sección será para la recopilación de los activos para ser traducido al español para su uso en la creación de santuarios para grandes felinos en México y otros países de habla hispana. Algunos de los artículos son un poco anticuado, pero estoy vinculándolos aquí para actualizar y traducir.
What Happens to All the Circus Animals?
Banning the cruel use of wild animals in circus acts is happening all around the world. At those bans begin to be enforced there is concern that the circuses will let the animals starve to death. Governments and animal rescue groups are working together to provide humane solutions that will enable the animals to live out the rest of their lives in sanctuaries. A well run sanctuary can provide the best possible animal care and can support itself, if careful planning goes into the creation and running of the refuge.
Big Cat Rescue has been around since 1992 but it didn’t get the fundraising part right until 2003. Now we generate about half a million dollars over our expenses annually that we put into major improvements of the grounds and into an endowment fund to insure the long term care of our cats. Some of the following are the tips we have learned to being financially successful.
Do it right.
If you do it right the first time, you save money and time. Whether it is building the cages, or the infrastructure, or training the staff and volunteers, or doing the fundraising, it will always work out better in the end if you do it right from the beginning. You only get one chance to to make a good impression. Your reputation will be the most important factor in the success of the endeavor and it only takes one bad act to lose respect.
The very first thing that should be done is to neuter all of the males and implant females to prevent further adding to the number of lions and tigers in cages. None of these privately held animals serve any conservation purpose and should never be bred for life in a cage. In the case of Mexico’s ban on the use of wild animals in circus acts, it would immensely help limit the future costs if the government were to seize the animals in place, to neuter and implant them, before actual confiscation. This would limit the sales of these animals into inappropriate situations and would help stop the cub handling industry.
Even if you are doing everything right, you need to be transparent, so that your supporters know. Some ways to be transparent are to be open to the public so they can see everything that happens. Other ways are to share the animal care via photos and videos online or web cams.
Your finances should be just as open to the public. People want to know where and how their donations or tax dollars are being spent and being open about it encourages more public support and limits corruption. Having outside auditors come in, at least once a year to inspect finances and animal care, lets the public know they can trust you.
Build it right.
This video shows how we build our 2.5 acre vacation rotation enclosure, the feeding lockouts, bowl holders, guillotine doors, the safety entrances and our roofed cages. We have a lot of species of wild cats, so most of our cages have roofs, but if you are only housing lions and tigers, you can build them with no roof using the instructions in the video below:
Big cats will be much more relaxed and easier to deal with if they have a lot of space. We have found the MINIMUM amount of space for each cat should be about 1200 square feet (112 square meters).
Cats are solitary and even though they may be forced to live in groups where they are currently, they will fight, steal food from each other and cause medical emergencies. Unless the cats REALLY love each other, they should be housed separately. Even if they do love each other, there must be a way to separate them at feeding time.
Shared walls are just asking for trouble because anything that fits through can get chewed off, like ears, tails and paws. It is also an invitation to fight, so we never have shared walls. We use 4 inch by 4 inch welded wire fence panels that are 5 feet tall and 15 feet long. They are double galvanized to prevent rust. Most of our sanctuary was built with single galvanized panels, which were cheaper but require painting every 6 years or so with Rustoleum.
Tigers and neutered / spayed lions don’t dig, so there is no reason to put a floor in the cage if it is at least 1200 square feet per cat. They prefer the soft earth, grass and bushes to concrete or rocks; which can be debilitating for their joints.
Each cage should have a feeding lockout for each cat in the cage. The feeding lockout only needs to be big enough for the cat to walk in and turn around and only slightly taller than the cat. The feeding lockout should be attached to the cage with a guillotine door. The guillotine door should be shut before feeding so the keeper can safely put the food in, then open the door. The guillotine doors should be shut when keepers are cleaning the lockout and water bowls so the cats can’t sneak up on them. Making this space small makes it easier for the vet to assess a cat, to administer shots and conditions the cat for easy transport.
A 1200 square foot cage costs us about $7500 to build (115019 pesos)
All of the lions and tigers should be tested for contagious diseases upon arrival and vaccinate. They should be kept separate and not use the shared rotation area, for the first 30 days to insure there is no disease transmission.
Feed them well.
Feeding a good diet and being safe at feeding time is important.
We prefer to feed our cats an expensive prepared diet made in Colorado by Triple A Brand but most facilities feed the Wal-Mart Diet. Wal-Mart offers sanctuaries their expired meats for free. In the U.S. this is managed by Quest Recycling. The down side of using this meat is that it is not a balanced diet and those who do use it report that about 80% of what they get is too bad to feed, so there is some cost in disposing of the bad meat and wrapping.
Keep it clean.
Taking care of one lion or tiger is hard work, but when there are 100-300 of them, it is a job for a team of well trained individuals. There is no reason to spend donor dollars nor tax dollars on salaries for keepers because people love working with big cats so much they will do it for free. The only paid positions should be those that volunteers don’t like to do, like managing the volunteers, keeping the records, doing the fundraising, taking care of the website and social sites and outreach educational programs.
The key to making sure the lions and tigers get the very best care is training the volunteers how to do things right and be safe while doing it. Big Cat Rescue has an annual budget of 2.7 million dollars and only 14 paid staff. None of the paid staff do animal care work. Even our vets donate their services. We have about 100 large exotic cats and 88 volunteers and 12-22 interns at any given time. They do all of the cleaning, feeding, medicating, and much of the grounds work and maintenance. They also guide all of the tours.
We always have more applicants for our intern program than we have space. If you can provide housing and food for interns, you can keep full time help on site at all times. Our interns work 5-6 days a week and volunteers must donate at least 4 hours of time each week to stay in the program.
Engage the public.
When laying out the facility, consider public viewing as well, so that you have plenty of room for paths to get trucks to each enclosure, walkways for groups of 20 people at a time to walk, and at least 5 feet from the side walls of the cages to a 4 foot high barricade. The barricade should not obstruct the visitor’s view, but should keep them from going over or under it to get too close to the lions and tigers.
We only allow guided tours of Big Cat Rescue, in groups of up to 20 at a time, but if you can completely cage in the public, like a cage wire tunnel, then you could allow people to roam at their own pace as long as you have sufficient security to keep them from harassing the animals or throwing anything in the cages that might be dangerous if eaten.
We offer high price specialty tours and find that we have to raise our prices for all of our tours every couple of years because we want to maintain the peace and tranquility of our sanctuary. As of 2015 these are the prices we charge for our tours, and we use an outside agency to sell the tickets, answer all the questions callers have and make the reservations. They send us an email 2 hours before each tour that tells us how many people are coming so that we have enough tour guides.
We are able to charge these kinds of prices because we are only 15 minutes from Tampa International Airport. Acreage here costs $100,000 an acre (3,796,120 pesos) but it is because of our close proximity to the city and airport that we have so many visitors. The videos below were from 6 years ago, but show you what a visitor sees on a feeding tour and a keeper tour.
Good walls make good neighbors. The entire facility should be enclosed by a wall. We prefer a wall that you cannot see through, so that there is less chance of someone shooting at the cats, but whatever it is made of, it should be sufficient to keep vandals and other wildlife out.
Natural shade is much better than man made shade, so if possible the cages should be built in areas with lots of trees or trees should be planted now. They grow quickly and will provide much better cooling for the cats. Lions and tigers are not good climbers, so if they are fed every day, they rarely have a reason to climb, but trees should be positioned in such a way that cats cannot use them to escape. In some places that don’t have enough trees, road culverts can be buried in earth to create a cool place for the cats.
Keep good records and make sure your staff are informed.
Archivos: http://bigcatrescue.org/records/ Mantener un buen registro es importante para la buena salud de los animales. Utilizamos los sitios de Google creado con la plantilla de Santuario que hicimos al alcance de todos en la sección Temas más cuando se va a crear un sitio . Este tema tiene todas las herramientas de gestión de voluntarios y de formación que utilizamos , así como las formas y gráficos que utilizamos para alimentar a los gatos , reportando su comida dejó más o heces y observaciones acerca de su condición médica. Usted puede crear un sitio web gratuito con este tema para rastrear todo su cuidado de los animales y la capacitación del personal. Debe tener una cuenta de Google para usarlo. https://sites.google.com/site/santuariomexicano/
Male Siberian Lynx
Zeus was rescued from a fur farm.
He and Apollo, another fur farm survivor, share a large habitat. Although, you would not normally find two adult male Lynxes living together in the wild, in captivity this is actually a form of enrichment, if they have been raised together.
They play together, groom each other, stalk ducks together and even sleep curled up next to each other. They have a habit of puffing air out of their noses when agitated, especially at feeding time. This behavior has earned them the nickname of “The Hufflepuffs.”
Big Cat Rescue started in 1992 with the rescue of a single bobcat, named Windsong, which led to rescuing 56 bobcats and lynx the next year from a fur farm. More than 100 exotic cats were rescued from being turned into fur coats under the agreement that Big Cat Rescue would pay top dollar for every cat if the fur farmers would stop breeding cats for their fur.
To our knowledge, there are no fur farms in the U.S. that still raise cats for fur.
Big Cat Rescue has already bought out every U.S. fur farm known to us and we would like to do the same with the Canadian ones. We determined, however, that in order to purchase the cats remaining at the known Canadian farm, and build barely adequate caging for them, it would have cost over $95,000. back in 1997. Since then we have determined that we cannot rescue our way out of this problem and are devoting time and energy to changing laws to protect the animals.