Cameron

Cameron

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hear big catsCameron the Lion

DOB 10/1/00

Rescued 5/3/04

 

lion Cameron

Cameron the lion and Zabu the white tiger are Big Cat Rescue’s odd couple. They were both born at a run down roadside zoo in 2000 and were rescued in 2004.

At the New Hampshire zoo, Cameron had been raised with Zabu, the white tigress, with the hopes of cross breeding them and selling the resulting liger cubs.

People often hybridize lions and tigers because they are either trying to create a novelty that people will pay to come see or trying to avoid the law. Until recently, some state’s laws did not recognize a 500-pound cross between a lion and tiger to be either. Therefore, people would buy them and claim that laws against owning a lion or tiger did not apply to them. We were told that prior to Cameron’s rescue he had lost over 200 lbs. It was up to us to help turn his life around.

Since Cameron and Zabu were true companions, we had to do whatever we could to make a long life together possible for them. The first step was to build a very large enclosure fit for the two energetic big cats.

Next we spayed Zabu so they would not breed and produce any more cats for life in cages.

Over the years Cameron became more and more possessive of Zabu and would not allow keepers near the enclosure to clean or feed. Because Cameron’s behaviors were testosterone driven we had only two choices; separate him from Zabu forever or neuter him. The decision was easy, Cameron was neutered.

Several months later he lost his mane as a result. It does not seem to bother him though. Cameron’s mood has mellowed dramatically and he seems much more comfortable in the hot Florida summers without the extra 15 pounds of fur around his neck. He has even become much more playful since he no longer worries about everything that is going on around his enclosure. His favorite toy is a big yellow ring which he bats and pushes around his enclosure in the early morning and late afternoon. While it was sad to see Cameron lose his mane, it was completely worth it so that he could continue to live with his best friend Zabu.

 

Cameron Lion Mane   

While Cameron tries to sleep most of the day away (as lions do in the wild), Zabu is extremely energetic and is always pestering him to play. She’ll often give up on him and just run and jump and play with her big red Planet Ball. Of course, that’s after she’s tired of playfully stalking her keepers or trying to spray the groups of visitors that stop by everyday.

 

 

Here are some more pages you can find information, photos, videos, and stories about Cameron:

 

Spring 2014: “What’s Up With Cameron’s Mane?” Why is Cameron losing his gorgeous mane? http://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2014-04/

See Chris & Gale setting up Piñatas for Cameron and Nikita the lions and Zabu the white tiger in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 – http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-april-25-2014/

See photos of Cameron and Zabu heading to their cool den on a hot day, kissing behind their big red ball, and playing with toys by their pond.   http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-may-31/

See the video: Lion + White Tiger = Cameron and Zabu! http://bigcatrescue.org/lion-white-tiger-cameron-zabu/

The rest of the world has “Brangelina” Big Cat Rescue has “CAMBU” !! Cameron the male African Lion and Zabu the female white tiger love each other very much and love “playtime” where they can be very goofy big cats! http://bigcatrescue.org/lion-and-tiger-playtime-at-big-cat-rescue/

Read about working with big cats. http://bigcatrescue.org/work-with-big-cats/

Enrichment is a very important part of the cats’ day.  See Cameron and Zabu attacking a giraffe for Enrichment. http://bigcatrescue.org/lion-tiger-vs-giraffe/

Here are more Enrichment videos.  We would like to invite you to share these videos with your friends and family. http://bigcatrescue.org/tag/enrichment/page/7/

Hearing a lion’s call is one of the most powerful sounds of nature; “Cameron” belts one out in this short clip. http://bigcatrescue.org/roar-a-roar-from-bcrs-male-lion-is-a-powerful-sound/

See a video entitled “If A Lion and Tiger Got Into a Fight, Who Would Win?” http://bigcatrescue.org/if-a-lion-and-tiger-got-into-a-fight-who-would-win/

On this link you will find a video of some of the cats. You will also see volunteers hauling dirt and Cameron and Zabu enjoying their vacation at Big Cat Rescue. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-jan-30-2014/

Zabu the white tiger takes Cameron’s pumpkin and puts in the water. http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-oct-17/

See the video, “Lion and Tiger, Backyard Blitz”. http://bigcatrescue.org/today-big-cat-rescue-nov-8-2013/

After being separated for quarantine and ‘getting fixed’ Cameron and Zabu are reunited. http://bigcatrescue.org/white-tiger-and-lion-november-4-2004-update-2/ and http://bigcatrescue.org/white-tiger-and-lion/

Join is on Facebook to see new photos of the cats every day. http://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue

Sponsor Cameron http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat

 

Teisha

Teisha

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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 5/5/16

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.

Don’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 5/2/2016

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


 

 

Hoover

Hoover

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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.

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 
The Claws

The Claws

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Mr. Claws Set to Go Free

Mr. Claws has done a great job of healing and preparing for life in the wild, so in the next few days he will be returned to the same county where he was found and set free.  You can help us rescue, rehab and release bobcats, like Mr. Claws with the purchase of this fun, new tee called, My Bobcat’s in Rehab.

Mr Claws Bobcat Rehab Tee

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Claws

Having been rescued from Christmas, Florida, we just couldn’t resist the timely names.  Help make their holiday wishes come true by supporting their rehab and release back to the wild.

We wish they could talk, because it would take a lot of the guesswork out of their care.  Based on the injuries and and reports by Carol Hardee, the rehabber who was the first on the scene for both kittens, here is how it probably happened.

Donate to big cats

Watch Mrs Claws LIVE in the Bobcat Rehab area: http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

See the video at the bottom of the page to understand why they were separated.  The webcam footage is black and white and grainy because it was captured after dark using IR cameras.

September 2015 Mrs Claws:

Only a few weeks old, and not barely 3 pounds, she was being shaken to the core.  She could barely breathe due to the crushing jaws that had snatched her from her den.  Being shaken wildly, she could barely think, much less scream out for her mother, to return and save her.  The tiny bobcat was flung into the air, and hitting the ground rolled a few feet, but before she could gather her balance to run, she was snatched up again.  She was being carried away by some monster that was having fun playing with her, like she was a toy, but she was bleeding and this “toy” wasn’t going to last long.

With every last bit of strength, and every thing she learned from being raised by one of the most fierce of all felines, she bit and clawed back.  She aimed for the eyes and the sensitive nose, since that’s all she could reach from her vantage point of being held in the mouth of this creature.  With a yelp her freedom had been secured.  She didn’t know if it would be for a moment, or for good.  She had to find her mother as soon as possible.  She was just too young to be dealing with this terror on her own.

She called and called, but she’d been carried too far away.  Her mother couldn’t find her and she was too small and too badly injured to find her way back to the nest.  But Carol Hardee, of the Wildlife Rehab Center, found her and began treating her life threatening wounds.

BobcatRehabMrsClaws

The kitten doubled in size, but was reaching an age when she would need to be transferred to a rehab center that could teach her to hunt.  A mother will spend a year and a half, or more, teaching her kittens how to hunt, how to stay away from people and how to survive in a tough world.  This kitten was about ready to make that move, to a new stage of training, when Mr. Claws arrived on the scene.

November 5 2015 Mr Claws

He had found a warm spot under the hood of a car to hide until dark.  He’d gotten too far out of the woods for his own good, and now there were kids running wild in the YMCA parking lot, so he figured he would just wait it out.  The one thing his mother hadn’t taught him about being a bobcat, is that you should never go near cars, even if they are sitting still and being silent.

When the owner returned, the slam of the door almost gave him enough notice, but not quite.  The key turned in the ignition and a ton of metal gears, belts and a fan roared to life.  The fan both cut him to the bone in one leg, while snapping another leg bone in two.  He was flipped out to the pavement beneath.  As the owner of the car backed out of the parking space, he saw the young bobcat trying desperately to pull himself to safety with his front paws.

BobcatRehabMrClaws_0020

Not knowing what to do, the auto driver called the police.  They called the Florida Wildlife Commission and between them managed to capture the broken little bobcat in a box.

BobcatRehabMrClaws

Again, the closest rehabber was Carol Hardee, of the Wildlife Rehab Center, who does her life saving work from a ranch in the woods, on Reindeer Lane in Christmas, Florida.

Due to family matters she was not able to get the bobcat X-rayed, but could see that he was not recovering properly and it really was time for the little female to start to learn to hunt.  Carol Hardee called Carole Baskin, of Big Cat Rescue to see if we could take both bobcats and finish their rehab and release.

Jamie Veronica made the 5 hour round trip, ending at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, where Mr. Claws was rushed into X-ray.  Jamie’s husband, Dr. Boorstein, had enlisted the help of Dr. Bard and tech, Jamie Gibbs, and the four of them worked on saving Mr. Claws leg for the next 4 hours.

BobcatRehabMrClawsBobcatRehabMrClaws

There was no handling this wild child, so he had to be sedated.

BobcatRehabMrClaws

BobcatRehabMrClawsBobcatRehabMrClaws

The vets were able to get a good look at his face, noting a slight ulceration to the eye, and some broken and missing teeth. The gash was cleaned and sewed up.  His tail had been separated in the spinal column, but no outer damage was visible.  It could have happened in the accident, or someone may have grabbed him by the tail trying to save him.  The tail may be dead and might have to be amputated later.

BobcatRehabMrClaws BobcatRehabMrClaws_0037

The damage to the back leg bone is obvious, but what is less obvious is that the pelvis is cracked and uneven.  This may heal or may need further surgery.  Dr. Boorstein is consulting with orthopedic specialist, Dr. Callum Hay.

BobcatRehabMrClaws

Humane Society of Tampa Bay vet tech, Jamie Gibbs, prepares Mr. Claws for surgery.

BobcatRehabMrClaws BobcatRehabMrClaws

Dr. Justin Boorstein and Dr. Bard working to save Mr. Claws leg.

BobcatRehabMrClaws BobcatRehabMrClaws

Pins in the bone to hold it together under the skin.  You can’t put a cast on a wild cat.  They will chew it or their leg off.

We can’t know for certain what happened to either of these kittens before they arrived here, but one thing we do know for certain is that we will always be here to help wild cats like them, as long as you are by our side.

We Sure Hope They Kiss and Make Up Before Valentine’s Day

More Photos of Mr and Mrs Claws

Mr. and Mrs. Claws are in our onsite West Boensch Cat Hospital temporarily.  Soon we hope to send them to a far larger outdoor space where they can begin to get ready for life in the wild.  At this writing we have 6 bobcats in rehab and desperately need to build a larger rehab area to accommodate this growing need.

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Mr Claws on the way to Big Cat Rescue

BobcatRehabMrClaws

Mrs Claws on the way to Big Cat Rescue

BobcatRehabMrsClaws BobcatRehabMrsClaws BobcatRehabMrsClawsBobcatRehabMrsClaws

Honeybees

Honeybees

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What’s All the Buzz at Big Cat Rescue?

Honey Bees!

Vernon Stairs

A few years ago Vernon Stairs was using the weed whacker back in the heavy brush behind Cameron the Lion and Zabu the White Tiger’s cage when he accidentally stepped into a fallen bee’s nest.  The hundreds of stings he endured would have killed most people and certainly would have killed our cats.  You can imagine our trepidation when we discovered three HUGE hives on the sanctuary grounds!

beesWe were really torn between wanting to insure the safety of our cats and our workers and being aware of the fact that honeybees are dying off at an alarming rate, due primarily to the use of pesticides.

According to Einstein, if the bee disappears then man only has four years left to live.

Mary Barbara Jean StairsBarbara Stairs got busy (dare I say, like a bee?) to find someone who could rescue and relocate the bees. She followed a lot of leads that led no where before being funneled through the University of South Florida and out to some previous students who just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE BEES!

Bryan and Erica started a honey bee rescue and honey product Facebook group called Urban Buzz.  They are just getting started, but have a lot of knowledge about bees and a strong desire to preserve the important role they serve in nature.  You can see how expertly they relocated the bees from our trees to their hives in the video below:

We wanted to help them get their new business off the ground and set up a website for them at https://urbanbuzzbees.wordpress.com/

Be sure to watch the site for the addition of raw honey, and awesome honey bee products like lip balm, beeswax candles, bee tees and more.

 

JnK

JnK

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New York JnK Tiger Rescue

Donate to big catsDejaVu is all I can say. It happens over and over, like a recurring nightmare for the wild animals suffering through it; only the names and places change.

Someone wants to “rescue” wild animals because that seems like glamorous work, so they buy animals (and just prolong the problem) until the really bad guys find out there is a new place to dump last year’s photo cubs, and then the “rescues” become more legitimate, in the eyes of the “rescuer” because at least they aren’t paying for animals any more. Usually the big cats who need rescuing are the cubs who just outgrew the ridiculous 8-12 week window, in which USDA condones the use of cubs for photo and pay to play sessions. All it takes to fix this mess is for USDA to acknowledge that it is a violation of the Animal Welfare Act to take cubs from their mothers for this inhumane, unethical, albeit lucrative exploitation… But I digress.

Five years go by, and citations pile up for not providing sufficient shelter, not having an attending vet, not willing to provide documentation of where the cats came from or went and having a perimeter fence that was only 2 feet above the 6 feet of snow.  This article from 2009 detailed the illegal purchase of a leopard that resulted in seizure and a fine, as well as a number of other violations, and yet the media treated it like a puff piece.  http://bigcatrescue.org/lions-tigers-and-bears-find-refuge/

So, every few weeks more litters of lions, tigers, primates and bears are bred, used and discarded into these pseudo sanctuaries. But then the animals grow up into 500 pound apex predators who require thousands of dollars in food & vet care each year and before you know it, the “sanctuaries” have collapsed under the collective weight and debt. Then other sanctuaries, of varying financial stability, are called in to clean up the mess; but most of those are not in much better shape than the facilities they are being asked to bail out.

Big cats are bounced around from breeder, to photo booth operator, to the public as pets, who then dump them into the hands of backyard hoarders, who collapse and then the bigger sanctuaries come and move them to their fourth or fifth home, where they may stay until they die, but even then will sometimes end up in yet another rescue situation when the bigger places fail as well.

The second worst part of all of this is that the animals suffer from the time they are only a few hours or days old, when they are ripped from their mothers and thrust into this dismal cycle, and begin the years of suffering as the legal processes wind through the courts.

The worst part of this scenario is that it would be so easily avoided by a ban on public contact with cubs.  Help do that here:

That’s what happened at JnK’s Call of the Wild.

In 1997 Ken and Jackie Wisniewski started “rescuing” big cats, bears, wolves and a variety of other wild and domestic animals. Before long they were in over their heads. Feeding the animals wasn’t a problem because there is a lot of roadkill in Sinclairville, NY. We counted half a dozen dead deer, a duck and raccoon, in just two days visiting this sleepy little town. Maybe the locals drive too fast, or maybe it is all of the grape vineyards and farms that attract so much native wildlife.

The problem was that the rotting carcasses were just left to fester, along with the piling excrement, in the tiny, barren cages. The lions and tigers, who are the most fastidious creatures on earth, were forced to live in these abysmal, fly infested conditions while USDA went through the tedious process of citing the facility year, after year, after year with no improvements.

Finally after many years of failing to to provide vet care or clean and safe caging, USDA revoked the license, which is a multi year task. The state of NY had previously banned the private possession of big cats, bears and wolves, but in all but 4 states (KY, OH, WA & WV) a person could circumvent the ban if they held a USDA license.

Now JnK had lost their USDA license and the animals could have been seized years ago, but as is often the case, the violator will just have a family member or friend get a USDA license issued in their name and then the whole process starts over. When Ken and Jackie Wisniewski lost their USDA license, they just had their daughter, Kristy Wisniewski, get one in her name. It’s easy: a one page form, name, address and phone and $40 and you can get around any ban, just about anywhere.

So, the long legal battles had to start over again until the daughter had a falling out with her mother and decided not to renew her USDA license. What usually happens is that there would now be no government agency checking in on the animals and conditions. These kinds of places would then enjoy the luxury of doing as they please with no one looking over their shoulder, and that would always lead to worse conditions for the animals.

By this time Terry Thompson in Zanesville, OH had set free 56 lions, tigers and bears in 2011 and state agencies woke up to the fact that it could happen in their states too. The NY state attorney’s office decided to send a message to all of the backyard breeders, dealers and pseudo sanctuaries that they would no longer turn a blind eye to the danger that these facilities pose to the public and launched the biggest seizure of wild animals in New York’s history.

USDA contacted the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and asked if they could place the JnK animals. GFAS made arrangements for all of the animals to be rescued, but then Jackie Wisniewski decided that she didn’t want to give them up and would wait and see if the NY Department of Environmental Conservation really would take action, or if they would, like they do in most places, just ignore the situation until someone was mauled or killed.  

On May 27, 2014 at 7:30 am Jackie Wisniewski found out the state of NY wasn’t bluffing.

IFAW logoWhat she couldn’t know, and we couldn’t tell you, is that the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, had taken the lead and arranged for the 11 tigers, 3 lions, 3 bears, and 2 wolves to be picked up and transported to Big Cat Rescue in FL via Loving Friends, Safe Haven Wildlife Rescue Zoo in NV, Wild Animal Sanctuary in CO, In-Sync Exotics in TX, the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in IN, and Animal Lifeline would transport the wolves to a facility in PA.  On July 3rd IFAW reimbursed the transport costs of $4,409.03 for Big Cat Rescue.

We couldn’t let the cat out of the bag until after the last animal was rescued from the site for fear of starting a media circus that could propel the owner into doing something dangerous to the animals or the rescue crews. We know that most people who will donate to help big cats want to fund a rescue, but once the cats are safe, they are off to the next exciting rescue.

We hope that you are different.

We went out on a limb because these cats were literally starving to death, and one tiger, Sasha, had died before we even arrived. (We had agreed to take four tigers, but when we got there Sasha was no longer alive and no one seemed to know anything about why or when she died.  Some said she was alive last summer, others said she was still alive in Feb of this year and others said she had been dead for years)  We had to give up the chance to involve everyone in the excitement of a rescue because these cats depended on us keeping quiet so the owner wouldn’t do anything foolish. We were able to load our tigers by 1PM on Tues. May 27, 2014 but had to maintain silent mode until all of the animals were safely on their way to other rescue sites.

What we saw during the rescue was unimaginable suffering and conditions that clearly threatened everyone in the area. No agency had been able to inspect the animals since December 2013 (nearly 6 months ago) and at that time they said the cats were well fed, but that the rotting carcasses, piles of feces and ramshackle cages were reason enough to seize the animals.  “Well fed” appears to be a judgement call because the 2009 video of the tigers showed them to to be far too thin 5 years ago, in our opinion.  JnK had a pile of citations for not allowing inspectors onto the property, but in many cases those are considered by the bad guys to be far less incriminating than actually answering the gate and letting inspectors see what they are doing.

Jnk-Tiger-Kimba

The cats were starving to death!

Their ragged fur, which was missing in places from laying in their own excrement, was stretched taut over protruding bones. Kimba the tigress, (born 8/94) seemed to have just given up and laid, unresponsive, in her den. Former volunteers there said she had been bred to Zeus for 4-6 litters of cubs in her life) It wasn’t until she saw that there was the promise of food, in exchange for pulling her aching body up into the transport wagon, that she came to life. Big Cat Rescue President, Jamie Boorstein, had locked Kimba in her den so that we could push the wagon up to the rickety door. As soon as she was released and given the scent of beef on a stick, she followed it right into the foreign transport box without much hesitation.

Zeus the tiger, (born 9/96 to Kimba) has limited vision and it looks like his retina may be separated in his eye, which can be extremely painful. Other tigers there had the same strange looking eyes, where the golden part of the iris has almost completely covered over the lens.  As soon as Zeus saw food, he RAN down the length of his cage, chasing Big Cat Rescue’s Operations Manager, Gale Ingham, who was racing  (outside the cage) toward the beast wagon that had been affixed to a hole that was cut into the side of his cage. Zeus was the largest tiger and the hole wasn’t really big enough, but metal piping made it impossible to make the hole any larger. Zeus didn’t care. He wanted that life giving morsel of food so bad that he squeezed, like liquid tiger, through the opening into the circus wagon. Jamie dropped the door and Zeus was on his way to a life of luxury that he couldn’t possibly imagine.

Jnk-Tiger-Zeus

The cages were rotted to the point of falling apart. Rusty screws held ragged sheets of plywood together for the dens and doors. If the tigers had any strength left in them, they could have burst through. This made for some tense moments, especially when it came to loading Keisha the tigress. (born 5/00 to Kimba and Zeus)

Apparently, the way cats had been fed, back when they were being fed, was they were locked out of their dens, the food tossed into the dens via a back door, and then they were let back into the den.

The part that has to be explained here is that the dens were made of crumbling plywood. Citations went back to 2012 for these unsafe conditions.  The doors had deteriorated over time to the point where a makeshift system was rigged to keep the tigers from just pushing the doors out of their rotted frames. It was made of curtain hooks that were shaped in a semicircle and screwed with tiny, and now rusted screws; one on either side of the door opening. Then 2 pipes were passed through the hooks to hold the doors shut. Jamie took a handful of the material and it turned to shards and dust in her hand.

The first attempt at capturing Keisha was to shut her in the den, then hook up the transport to a hole that was hastily cut into the side of her prison cell. With the other cats, Rescuers had been able to shut them out of their dens and lead them into the wagons, but Keisha still had life enough left in her to be frantic to eat, so as soon as her den door shut her out into the yard, she began clawing frantically to get back into the den where she thought the food would be. When a cat is focused on something, there isn’t much you can do to get their attention. Gale was waving the chicken and beef chunks on a stick and trying to get Keisha to forget about getting back into the den for food. It wasn’t working.

The area where Rescuers were working was so tight that the rope holding the transport door open had to be threaded into a vacant, nearby cage and operated from there by Big Cat Rescue’s CEO and Founder, Carole Baskin.  Jamie decided to pull the den door open and hold it open so that Keisha could see for herself that there wasn’t any food in there, but Keisha was afraid to climb into the hay filled beast wagon and sensed it was a trap.

In typical cat style, she would stretch her neck and one paw as far toward the juicy meat as she could, without committing her back legs. Gale let her come in and get a piece or two, to see that nothing would happen, and on the third offering Keisha was emboldened to climb all the way in.

Jnk-Tiger-Keisha

Keisha only has half an ear and a little bobbed tail. We think she lost them to the lions next door.

All over this compound the bears and big cats shared common walls of a material never witnessed by Big Cat Rescuers for housing big cats. The openings in the metal cattle panels were 8 inches wide and 6 inches high. It is incomprehensible that no human ever lost their life or limbs working so close to such dangerous wild animals, with nothing to prevent the animals from reaching the full length of their arms out to grab the passerby.

In the 2009 video above Jackie Wisniewski reaches her arm, all the way up to her armpit, to pet the cats and talks about how her staff and volunteers have to earn the cat’s trust to pet them this way, but then admits that the cats are always looking for a way to pull you into the cage.

In some places a new barricade fence had been erected (where previously there had been none) and it was so tight against the cage that there was NO safe way to walk around the enclosure. All of the animals had shared walls which must have led to some intensive fights and quite possibly the deaths of animals along the way. No one seemed to know exactly when or how Sacha the tigress had died.

The only cage to have a double wall (one with a space of about 3 feet between the walls) was the one between Keisha and 2 lionesses. Keisha and the lionesses both had common walls with Zeus, but it would appear that after Keisha lost her ear and tail, someone finally installed a double wall between the lions and Keisha. That one small measure has probably saved her life, but her tail healed in such a scarred and unusual way that it’s doubtful she had a vet attend to her wounds.  In the video you can see that her tail was missing as far back as 2009.

As each of the cats were loaded into their transport wagons they were rolled up into Loving Friend’s transport vehicle where they probably experienced air conditioning for the first time ever. Even though they loaded quite easily, they were all stressed out by the move and the chaos of the day, so the lower temp helped take some of the edge off. Within minutes Kimba was sound asleep in the deep, soft hay.

If anyone wouldn’t survive this trip, it would be Kimba. She just had so little spirit left in her. I checked on her several times to be sure she was still breathing, and seemed blissfully asleep.  Update:  17 Days later we had to euthanize Kimba because she could not recover from the ailments brought on by being kept in such filth and starved.  More here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/euthanize-tiger/

Zeus gulped down water before laying down in his big fluffy hay bed. These cats, like so many others across the country, were kept on rocks. There was no place for them to feel the soft earth, nor roll in the grass, nor enjoy the shade of trees or bushes. The only shade, or escape from the sharp edged rocks, was in their smelly dens and on a small table in each cage, but these cats didn’t look fit to jump up onto them. Zeus had been a big and powerful male tiger at some point in his life, but now you could see the remains of his wasted muscles and protrusion of his ribs and hips.

Big Cat Rescuers loaded tigers for 2 hours and the officer in charge commented that we worked together like a well oiled machine. Despite the rush to load the tigers and move out of the way for the next rescue group, there were some heart breaking moments. The worst for cat lovers was the owner said her cat had died, so she had thrown the cat into the cage that housed the 4 youngest tigers, who appear to have been born at JnK in 2004 and were probably considered favorites.

As hungry as those tigers must have been; something must have registered in their heads that this was just too awful to consider. Time may have finally caused them to overcome their disgust at being fed another cat, had they not been rescued today, so the bloated body of the domestic cat laid there in a haze of flies.

As soon as the tigers were all loaded and their transport cages were strapped down for the 22 hour trip, Big Cat Rescuers and JT and Laura Taylor of Loving Friends were on their way back to Tampa.

The cost of the transport and rescue was approximately $7,000, but that is just the beginning. Getting these tigers back on the road to health will mean vet care, and specialists for the eyes. It means a lot of high quality food, vitamins, joint supplements and probably a good deal of pain management. Just one healthy tiger costs Big Cat Rescue $10,000 per year, just for food and vet care and these neglected tigers will need much more intensive care. Even though they are safe and will never go hungry again, it is only because people like you will open your hearts to these precious creatures. Please let them know that you are there for them, for now and forever, with a monthly gift of whatever you can afford.

Please donate here:  http://www.razoo.com/story/Nytigers/  You can make a one time gift or the much more needed monthly gift at that link.

See the photos here.  Video to come.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1s8s8pelynafw6t/AAACsyg5IKLM_sFxnxO3CohPa

 

In this 2007 video Jackie claimed Zeus was 850 lbs

 

By 2014 they look to be less than 400 lbs. for Zeus and less than 300 lbs for the females.

IFAW Footage of the Rescue in Five Parts

Big Cat Rescue was not allowed to film during the rescue, so what footage we did manage to get was from cell phones in pockets.  Below is footage that looks much better than ours and details the rescue from JnK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos of Tigers Arriving at Big Cat Rescue

 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6ox6jsln2d86wla/AADV0hXh_4KBA_l7jSFFEteGa

 

Kimba Tiger Starving On Arrival

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