Carole Baskin

Carole Baskin

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Carole Baskin Founder of Big Cat Rescue

CEO AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. She runs a real estate business and manages 100+ volunteers and interns from around the world and 20 staff and contractors. She has run this Tampa based non profit since 1992 and has garnered international attention to the plight of captive big cats on CNN, Animal Planet, Discovery, U.S. News & World Report, People Magazine, The Today Show, Sports Illustrated, all of the local media outlets and many more national and international programs. She is the host of the Cat Chat Show, a weekly, live interview with cat experts from around the world. 

She has lectured in Costa Rica, Panama and many cities across the U.S. on legislative affairs, and sanctuary standards in Universities, Law Colleges, and in numerous animal association conferences. Her efforts, combined with many others of like mind, have resulted in the 2003 passage of the Captive Wild Animal Safety Act which made it illegal to sell a big cat across state lines as a pet, the 2009 requirement that those in Florida who possess Class I animals must post a $10,000 bond and the reclassification of a cougar to Class I, making it illegal to own as a pet in FL. 

Carole Baskin

As part of the Big Cat Coalition she has worked with The International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, Born Free, the World Wildlife Fund, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Wild Cat Conservation Legal Aid Society, World Council for Animal Rights, the Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, Ian Somerhalder Foundation, and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Together they represent more than 18 million supporters. 

The coalition formed in 2011 and decided on a three prong approach to ending the abuse of tigers including; Closing the generic tiger loophole at the USFWS, Asking USDA to close the 4 week window of cub petting and a federal bill that ends the breeding and trade in big cats outside of AZA zoos. By 2013 the USFWS and the USDA had put the group’s suggestions on the Federal Register for public comment and had received nearly 30,000 comments in support. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, a federal bill to stop public handling of big cats and their cubs and ending the private possession of big cats is gaining momentum and is poised for passage. 

Carole Baskin’s mission is to end the trade in exotic cats and thus put herself out of business.

A typical week in Carole’s life usually includes a bobcat call:  http://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-rescue-sparta-georgia/

Chuck is Carole’s only brother, she is the daughter of Vernon and Barbara, and is Jamie’s mother.  She is married to Howard.

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

Carole Baskin Speaks Out for the Florida Panther

 

 

 

September 2, 2015 address to the FWC in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Some Articles About Carole Baskin

 

2015  From Exotic Pet Breeder to Big Cat Rescuer: My Journey Towards Understanding One Green Planet

2015  Big Cat Rescue: remembering every large & exotic cat  Animals 24/7

2007 She’s a Tiger  Tampabay CEO Magazine

2006 My Wife is Not a Don’t Glamour Magazine

 

Some High Profile Article’s Quoting Carole Baskin

 

Mario Tabraue expose by Mother Jones

Nat Geo Wild Asks, “Are Sanctuaries Good for Wild Animals?”

National Geographic article on exotic animals as pets called Wild Obsession

 

 

Television Appearances by Carole Baskin

 

Animal Planet’s Fatal Attraction 3 episodes involving tigers from 2011

CNN with Jane Velez Mitchell 2011

Jack Hanna Show 1998

Dateline 1997

More news appearances, videos, articles and quotes here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/media/

 

Books

 

Books written by Carole Baskin or written by others and featuring Carole Baskin and Big Cat Rescue

 

Carole Baskin’s History

Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited rescue facility for exotic cats. She and her family volunteer for Big Cat Rescue as unpaid staff and have 100+ volunteers and a dozen interns from around the world. She has run this Tampa based non profit since 1992 and you may have seen Big Cat Rescue on CNN, Animal Planet, Discovery, People Magazine, The Today Show, Sports Illustrated, all of the local media outlets and many more national and international programs. She has been asked to provide lectures in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, and Australia, as well as countless cities across the U.S. She has lectured on cage construction, legislative affairs, and sanctuary standards in Universities, Law Colleges, and in numerous animal association conferences.

She has successfully rehabbed and released a number of bobcats and other native animals. Big Cat Rescue is accredited by The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and Carole Baskin served as a past President of, The Association of Sanctuaries (a national accrediting body that later folded into GFAS and is to sanctuaries what the American Zoological Association is to zoos.

She previously served on the board of the Humane USA PAC and had been the legislative liaison to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, and was responsible for representing The Association of Sanctuaries at their meetings. She supplies CWAPC with all of the current data on exotic cat issues, including the numbers being displaced, the maulings, escapes and killings of both the public and the cats involved. She scans the media daily for news regarding exotic cats and reports to some 300 people of three different groups with the daily headlines.

In 2005 she was appointed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair as a member of the Animal Advisory Committee to assist Animal Services in their service to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and was unanimously elected as Chairperson the following year. Big Cat Rescue is a member of the International Tiger Coalition, Florida Association of the Restoration of Ethics, a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, The Tampabay Visitors and Convention Bureau, and many other animal welfare groups.

Big Cat Rescue assists other accredited sanctuaries by helping them build cages, train their volunteers and they lend their people and resources to help them recover from natural and man made disasters. Big Cat Rescue is licensed by and in good standing with FWC, USFWS, USDA and is registered with the state of Florida as a charity.

Big Cat Rescue’s founder, Carole Baskin, with members of the  Humane USA’s staff and board of directors.

Relocating Bobcats and Cougars

Relocating Bobcats and Cougars

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Relocating the Cats is Not the Solution

A single bobcat requires 5 square miles of territory in order to have enough prey to support him. All exotic cats, male and female, spray to mark their boundaries. Except for an overlapping of territory during mating the cats patrol and defend their boundaries against other cats and other top predators. These boundaries must be fiercely guarded or the cats will starve to death. If two wild cats find themselves in the same area they will fight to the death. That is why respecting these scent marked boundary lines is so important to them.

…the cat is being dumped into some other cat’s territory
and one of them is going to die.

Bobcats will almost never show themselves, so if you see one it may mean that development around you has taken his home or that sport hunters have taken his food.  Nature is perfectly balanced until man enters the scene with a gun.  If you are living in an area where a wild cat has called home and the cat is transported to another suitable habitat, then you can be sure the cat is being dumped into some other cat’s territory and one of them is going to die. You may reason that your home is in a busy city environment and the cat is in peril because it is crossing busy highways and coming in close contact with people with guns. That is true and that is sad but relocating the cat is not the answer.

Bobcats are smart and can live right alongside people and stay out of trouble.  They are a great asset as they prey upon rats and help control disease by keeping the vermin population in check.  Nature is perfectly balanced until man steps in and starts trying to eliminate key animals in the cycle of life.

Get a brochure you can print and share:  Living with Bobcats

Check out these great suggestions for protecting your pets from predation: Protecting pets from bobcats and cougars.

 

 

See How Tigers are Helping Bobcats

 

 

Bobcat’s visit raises natural question

Bobcats belong in the wildSherry Boas | Simply Living

November 4, 2007

I went outside to feed the birds today and saw a bobcat.

He (or she) was about 200 feet away, resting on the ground in front of the compost pile.

Compost piles are wildlife magnets. The odiferous porridge of kitchen wastes attracts mammals large and small. I’ve watched foxes and raccoons explore these bins of human detritus, but this was the first time a bobcat showed interest in the family dumping ground for avocado pits, eggshells, burnt rice and apple cores.

The bobcat, a tawny mass of cropped fur and pointy ears, looked comfortable. Like an oversized house cat who had just polished off a hearty meal, he rested contentedly on the matted grass. We eyed each other from afar. I squatted low, to appear less threatening. The cat simply stared in my direction, tufted ears at full attention, assessing the menace.

Reluctant to miss anything, but eager to immortalize this special moment, I rose slowly and slipped back into the house. Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t hanging on the hook next to the kitchen door as I assumed it would be.

Not wanting to waste precious time searching the house, I eased back outside. By then, the bobcat had risen, but remained in the same place.

The feral feline must have realized (correctly) that I was harmless, because he proceeded to stretch with a long, leisurely gee-I-wish-you-hadn’t-disturbed-me arch of the back. Standing my ground, I watched in awe.

Moments later, the object of my attention ambled off toward a more sheltered environ. There was nothing frantic or fearful about his movements. His graceful gait was slow and steady. I watched as he rounded the corner, disappearing from sight. Wanting more, I followed in his wake, moving as quietly as my bare feet would allow.

bobcat kitten in treeAs I approached, I noticed the bobcat had paused beneath the overhanging branches of a nearby mulberry tree. The low-hanging limbs of the leafy fruit tree provided a tangled web that blended perfectly with his reddish-brown fur. When I rounded the corner, the cat caught sight of me. He responded by moving toward the woods. My eyes followed his trail for an instant before he vanished into the brambly undergrowth.

My one-on-one moment with nature was over. My only photographs were mental snapshots of the bobcat’s movements. I rushed back inside, eager to share my experience with Ralph and Toby.

Although this was the first time I’ve seen a bobcat by the compost pile, it was not my first sighting. On at least a half dozen occasions, I’ve chanced upon bobcats on the property. Each encounter has been spectacular, a cherished gift. But these experiences concern me, too. I’m not scared for myself or for the safety of others, but for the bobcats themselves. Every peek into the waning wilderness reminds me of what we have to lose.

So much untamed land has already been developed. What will happen to the bobcats, bears, deer, foxes and coyotes when people eliminate even more woods to make way for shopping centers, residential communities and industrial complexes?

The Florida panther is endangered. According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), only about 100 of these magnificent mammals remain in the wild. About a million bobcats roam throughout North America. In Florida, they are neither endangered nor threatened. But how long can that last?

Bobcats are solitary hunters. A male needs about 4,900 acres of field and forest in order to supply its carnivorous needs. A female needs 2,900 acres. That’s so much land. While these dog-size consumers of rats, mice, birds and rabbits can adapt to eating out of compost piles, foraging through trash cans and licking the remains of pet food bowls, it’s unlikely suburban residents will welcome their arrival to the neighborhood. Any nondomesticated creature that wanders into suburbia is more apt to arouse panic than peaceful observation and gratitude.

That’s not how I feel. I’m grateful for any chance to see a wild animal — large or small, on foot, wing or water.

I went out to feed the birds today and wound up feeding my own insatiable appetite for wildlife encounters. The few minutes the bobcat and I shared made an impression that will last for years. Will moments like this continue to happen? I don’t know, but I hope they will. I hope time is gentle to bobcats and the many other creatures whose fate relies heavily on the course of human actions.

Sherry Boas can be reached at simplyliving@beautifulbamboo.com.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/columnists/orl-orsimply0407nov04,0,1471984.column

 

In FL Nuisance Animals Are Killed, Not Relocated

Keep this in mind before you call someone and ask them to relocate a wild animal.  It is against the law for a trapper to relocate a problem animal.  They have to kill him or her by state law.

1/29/2009 The following is the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s position on killing nuisance bobcats instead of relocating them or allowing them to be given sanctuary at Big Cat Rescue and other such sanctuaries.

“We sincerely appreciate and share your concerns for Florida’s wildlife, particularly in the recent incident in which a bobcat was euthanized after it was captured by a nuisance wildlife trapper in an Orlando community.

Nobody likes to see an animal killed like this, whether the reason makes sense biologically or for public safety, or not. In fact, allowing nuisance animals to be euthanized is something we would rather not do, and we consider that to be a last resort. This particular incident is very sad and unfortunate, but as is often the case, it may have resulted from inappropriate behavior by people.

The staff of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is dedicated to wildlife conservation, which means protecting and managing wildlife species. So allowing an animal like this bobcat to be euthanized may seem counter to our agency’s mission. But, as unfortunate as it is, this bobcat was an example of an animal for which there was no good alternative other than euthanasia.

Many people have called our agency to ask why this bobcat couldn’t be taken to a zoo or other type of captive wildlife facility. The reason is that it’s difficult or impossible for many animals taken from the wild to adapt to living in a captive situation. As a result, most captive wildlife facilities are hesitant to take them because the animals become stressed, are subject to illness, fight with other animals and introduce disease into the facility.

People also asked why it couldn’t be relocated to the wild. There are many reasons for this, which are explained below, but the bottom line is that this animal had become too accustomed to being around people and no longer had much fear of them.

How this unnatural behavior happened is unknown, but the fact remains that it did. The bobcat was no longer acting like a wild bobcat. People in the community may have allowed it to eat pet food, or may even have set out food specifically for the bobcat. Or maybe nobody did anything to discourage it from hanging around. Maybe at first it was a novelty to see a bobcat up close, perhaps a good photo opportunity. So people tiptoed around the bobcat, and nobody tried to scare it away.

Or maybe the bobcat was sick; sick animals often exhibit unnatural behaviors and sometimes may lose their fear of people.

A wild animal that loses its fear and becomes comfortable around people, for whatever reason, is not a wild animal you want in your neighborhood. An animal like this becomes unpredictable and could easily injure someone. If it is sick and attacks someone the problems are even worse.

Moving an animal such as this bobcat provides an opportunity for it to become the same problem animal in a different neighborhood, or perhaps it could even spread disease to other wild animals in a new area.

Studies have shown that many relocated wild animals often try to return home – no matter how far away home is. Along the way an animal like this bobcat may find another neighborhood whose residents offer the same amenities – generally easy meals and few threats to its safety. The nuisance problems then start all over again in a new community.

Relocated animals cross unfamiliar roads and often get hit and injured or killed by vehicles. And, they end up in another bobcat’s established territory, alone and unfamiliar with the lay of the land. They often fall victim to fights that are frequently won by the resident animal.

The best solution to wild animals becoming nuisance animals is people – you and me – making sure that our actions don’t cause wild animals to change their behaviors. The key is in knowing how to live with them. Even in a state with seemingly runaway development, we can and often do co-exist with many wild animals. If people do the right things, then harm usually won’t come to either us or the animals.

If this is to work, it may require some people to modify their own behavior. How much you have to modify often depends upon where you live or how recently your neighborhood was built. It is often a real benefit to live right next to wetlands or woods, but if you do, you probably have lots of wildlife neighbors, some of which are looking for easy meals.

One of the surest ways to make a wild animal lose its fear of people and become a nuisance is to leave your pet’s food outside. For that matter, leaving any kind of food outside can attract wild critters. If we leave our garbage in an unsecured trash can, it can become a buffet for raccoons, bears, opossums and other wild animals. The seemingly innocuous birdfeeders can sometimes attract much more than birds. Even compost piles are heavenly to some wildlife. Unfortunately, in the end, all of these foods that humans provide unwittingly to wild critters can lead to the death of those wild critters who are so tempted by them.

We are all affected when the wild animals become used to people, then are branded nuisances and are sentenced to death. Nobody likes that, but often people can make small changes in their actions and prevent it from happening.

I hope this helps you understand some of the issues we face when humans and wildlife interact in these situations, as well as some of the solutions.

You may also find the enclosed document useful. It explains some of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s nuisance wildlife rules and provides a little more information about why it’s rarely a good idea to relocate wildlife.

Again, thank you for your heartfelt concern, and please know that we share many of your concerns.

Sincerely,

Sabrina Menendez

FWC Citizen Services”

Update 2010:  Thanks to so many Big Cat Rescuers showing up to ask the FWC to protect the bobcat, they revised their ruling that all trapped bobcats must be killed to say that the bobcat must be released as close to the point of pick up as possible and that it must be on at least 40 acres, in the same county and there must be a signed approval for release by the owner of the property OR the bobcat has to be killed.

 

Why so many cougar attacks and cougar sightings?

Every day there is a story in a paper somewhere in the U.S. about cougar or mountain lion sightings in areas where the cats have not existed in the wild in over 100 years. Why is that? Could it possibly be that despite the fact that extinction rates are more than 1000 times greater than they should be due to the uncontrolled population growth of man and our extermination of everything in our path, the cougar is making a come back? That is what the fish and game departments across the country are claiming, but that is because they make their money from the issuance of permits to kill big cats. Hunters have wiped out the Jaguar for the most part and the cougar only exists in a few areas. Fish and game “experts” would have us believe that despite the fact that the big cats have been driven to extinction in most of their ranges around the world, that miraculously, the much-prized-trophy-cougar is alive and well and a public menace to boot.

Consider a much more likely scenario: The cougars who are being spotted in areas where they haven’t lived in up to 200 years, who are brazen enough to walk through subdivisions, and nap in trees above the family mini van, and who are living off eating dogs and cats and other domestic animals are the pets and captive born breeders turned loose due to the new law that makes it illegal to sell cougars across state lines. The Captive Wild Animal Safety Act was signed into law in Dec. 2003 by President Bush and immediately there was a flurry of cougar sightings. In every case the stories paint a portrait of a cougar nonchalantly strolling through a neighborhood. This is the behaviour of an animal born and raised around people, not a wild animal.

They had a hard time explaining why one of them who was hit by a car
turned out to be declawed.

Delighted with the prospect of being able to sell permits to shoot the majestic cats the department of natural resources keeps assuring the public that these are wild cougars and that blasting them out of the trees is done in the name of public safety. They had a hard time explaining why one of them who was hit by a car turned out to be declawed.

 

 

 

Big Cat Rescue tracked the calls we received from people trying to get rid of unwanted big cats over the past decade:

	Unwanted	We Took	Found	We Offered	We Took
	Big Cats	These	Homes	To Take	These
			For These
1999	55	13	*	*	7 tigers, 2 cougars, 2 bobcats, 2 servals
2000	54	11	*	*	7 tigers, 2 jungle cats + hybrids
2001	78	10	6	*	2 lions, 4 bobcats + hybrids
2002	74	4	0	*	2 tigers, 1 leopard, 1 bobcat
2003	312	8	4	*	2 jaguars, 1 leopard, 3 bobcats, + hybrids
2004	110	6	3	*	5 tigers, 1 lion
2005	94	9	2	*	6 tigers, 3 cougars; Ares, Artemis, Orion
2006	79	0	0	*	none other than hybrids
2007	67	13	1	*	6 tigers, 2 lions, 5 rehab bobcats *who are not incl in list of abandoned cats
2008	85	3	0	22	2 tigers, 1 liger:  Cookie, Alex, Freckles
2009	50	2	0	17	1 cougar, 1 serval;  Sophia and Desiree
2010	89	9	1	53	3 cougars, Narla, Freddy, Sassy, 5 bobcats and a serval named Servie
	1147	88	17

 

…these cats are being turned loose to fend
for themselves. 

Every year that number was growing dramatically, but in the year following the new law prohibiting the sale of big cats across state lines as pets, the number dropped by 1/3. The only other marginal drop was right after 9/11 and that coincided with a huge drop in discretionary spending.

It is a shame that these cats are being turned loose to fend for themselves. They don’t have the skills and some cases don’t even have the claws, to catch their own food. Those who are not shot will probably starve to death and in time we will start to see a drop in the number of sightings reported. The only good news is that this new federal law has been effective at curbing the number of cougars and lions that are being born for a life of misery and captivity.

People are still getting around the prohibition on big cats as pets by calling themselves educators or sanctuaries. Big Cat Rescue is working hard to close the loopholes in the laws that allow people to exploit big cats for profit. Please bookmark our page on Laws to keep up on the latest efforts to make the world a safer place for people and the exotic cats.

How do the wildlife agencies make it worse?

Nature has become purposely imbalanced by our wildlife agencies in order to insure that there are plenty of animals to be killed for fun and profit. Cougars prefer deer and rabbits to people, but our wildlife departments make money from selling permits to the 5% of our population that enjoying killing the cougar’s natural prey. This is often done in excess so that the cougars appear to be a public menace so that the state’s fish and game departments can then gain public support to sell the permits to kill the highly prized cougars.

Fact:  Only 5% (12.5 million) of our population are hunters, yet they kill over 115
million animals each year for fun.

These are just the animals that licensed hunters report killing and do not include all the animals who are poached each year by those who believe that they are above the law.  Even more despicable are the canned hunts where far too many exotic cats end up when they are discarded from zoos, circus acts and pet owners.  Although it is illegal to kill most endangered species, the practice is common and for the right price and a guarantee of secrecy trophy hunters can kill a tiger or leopard while it sits in a cage.  If this isn’t bad enough consider the fact that they don’t want to ruin the trophy and will therefore aim for areas that cause a slow and painful death.

Wild cats do not purchase hunting licenses and most state wildlife managers draw their pay from revenue derived from the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses.  That, in brief, is what is wrong with wildlife management in America.  In the US the decisions to protect or destroy, conserve or control, restore populations or reduce them are made by the interest of hunters.  The 93% of Americans who do not hunt have been effectively excluded from the decision making process.  Now that more caring people are trying to get involved, the state’s are fighting as never before to keep them out.  Understanding the hunter’s hold on wildlife is the critical first step to loosening that grip.

Hunting and fishing licenses are not simply issued by the state, but sold for a fee. Normally, these fees would be deposited in a state’s general treasury, and from there appropriated to whatever state programs the public, acting through their elected legislators, consider important. Instead, however, the conservation lobby persuaded state legislatures to dedicate hunting and fishing license fees to conservation programs. This means that license fees go directly to the state’s wildlife management agency, effectively insulating it from the legislature’s – and thereby the public’s – most effective means of oversight, the power of the purse. In a very real sense, state wildlife agency staff are not public servants, they are employees of the hunters and fishers whose license fees fund their programs and pay their salaries.

In 2006  12.5 million hunters  spent $23 billion on their sport of which  $642,069,054 went to wildlife agencies. 71 million wildlife watchers spent $45 billion in 2001, nearly twice as much as hunters, a fact generally ignored by state wildlife agencies when they tout the economic benefits of hunting.  Since wildlife watchers do not have to purchase licenses or tags and they do not pay a  tax on their equipment, the percentage of their $45 billion that went to wildlife agencies was exactly zero.  Who do you think the wildlife agencies are working for?

In 2006 Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older fed, observed, or photographed wildlife. These wildlife watchers increased in number by 8% from 2001 to 2006. Their expenditures for wildlife-watching equipment (binoculars, cameras, etc.) increased by 20% and for wildlife-watching trips by 40%.

The mass murder and manipulation of wild animals is just another business.  Hunters are a tiny minority, and it’s crucial to them that the millions of people who don’t hunt not be awakened from their long sleep and become anti hunting. (Williams 1990) In 1995 the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS attempted to compile information about the structure of the wildlife commissions across the nation.  Seventeen states refused to respond, indicating their disdain for animal lover’s involvement in THEIR business.  The remaining states admitted that their boards are dominated by consumptive wildlife users.   Several of these are people who own canned hunting operations. Most important is to note, that by their own admission, none of their commission members are opposed to hunting. Consider now the fact that another poll of the public, taken the same year, showed that 93% do not hunt and that most Americans are opposed to the brutal practice.  Clearly these governing boards are not representing the majority of the people in their wildlife management policies.

The myth that we have been expected to buy into says; “We have to kill animals so that they don’t over populate and starve to death.”  The fact is that habitat is managed for maximum deer and duck numbers; wildlife is trapped and transplanted to the killing fields; fires are set; trees are planted or mown down; fields are flooded and fields are drained all to maximize the numbers of animals available to hunters for the joy of killing.  Natural predators, such as Cougars, Bobcats, Lynx, Wolves and Coyotes are killed by the thousands so that they don’t compete with the hunters.

The predominance of Aldo Leopold’s philosophy in wildlife management assures that our incredible war on wildlife can continue indefinitely. It is, in fact, the only war in history conducted by rules that were deliberately designed to keep it from ending. The conservation philosophy was created to guarantee that animals will continue to suffer and die at the hands of hunters forever. It is a philosophy of animal abuse in perpetuity.

Florida spends more on wildlife law enforcement than it does on wildlife and fisheries management combined.  This is typical of most states.  We expect to pay our officers to protect the unbridled exploitation of our state’s wildlife, but the bulk of the budget is spent to ensure that the licensed hunters and anglers are obeying the law regarding size, weight and number of kills.  These expenditures would be virtually un necessary if there were no hunting.  This fact undermines the assertion made by the hunting industry that it pays for wildlife and parks.  At the very best, hunters pay to produce lots of animals that they want to kill and pay to enforce regulations to keep each other from killing too many of them or in an illegal
manner.

The numbers killed are staggering.  These figures all came from reported kills, in just one recent year,  by licensed hunters and do not include
animals that were killed illegally:  

Bears         25,729

Bobcats     40,008

Cougar       2,109

Coyote     491,298

Deer       6,189,116

Ducks   10,119,700

Fox            367,527

Otter           18,896

Rabbits  11,492,357

As people become more enlightened fewer and fewer people each year are taking up hunting as a sport. To change this trend, the hunters and the state’s wildlife agencies are promoting hunting to children.  Faced with declining numbers of hunters and an increasing population of non consumptive wildlife users, the states are circling the wagons to protect hunting.  Instead of seriously seeking alternative sources of funding, ways to include the non hunting public, and management that emphasizes non hunted species, they are trying to increase hunter numbers so that they don’t have to change the status quo.  Your tax dollars are paying for promotional campaigns to urge children as young as 6 to get involved in trapping and killing animals because it has been discovered that if a child is not exposed to this sort of violence during their formative years, they will be very unlikely to be able to stomach the thought of killing for pleasure as an adult.  Animal abuse is directly linked to human abuse and murder.

For more details read:  Teach Our Children.

Five percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older, 12.5 million people, hunted in 2006. The number of all hunters declined by 4% from 2001 to 2006.  Wildlife agencies are now targeting children as young as 10 and women as the hunters of the future by portraying the killing of animals as a way to feel empowered in their world.  See USFWS 2006 report.

What can we do to stop the violence?

The answer lies in becoming active and speaking out.  Most of us feel the same way, but we aren’t being heard, because we are standing idly by waiting for someone else to do the right thing.  Most wildlife commissioners are appointed by the governor.

Use your state’s freedom of information act to find out how members are appointed to your board and what their position really is on wildlife protection.  Make sure that plenty of non hunters attend each meeting of your wildlife commission.  Make sure that they attend to important issues like hound hunting, baiting, long trap check intervals, hunting contests, children recruitment policies and how animals are identified as being so unworthy of protection that there is unlimited, open season on their killing.

Speak out calmly and professionally.  To act irrational and thus label all people who care as being unstable won’t help the animals.  Ask the commission to schedule votes on these issues and to go on the record about their support of them.  Get the press involved to cover the meetings and the failure of the commission to act in favour of reasonable wildlife protection measures.  The media wants to print articles that will be favourable to the masses and the masses have said that they are not in favour of hunting.

Work to change the composition of the commission to include members who are not hunters.  Lobby the governor’s office to appoint qualified candidates who represent the majority of the people in your state.  If these candidates are continually passed over in favour of less
qualified hunters, then let the media know about it.  Work with your state legislator so see if perhaps a ballot initiative might be implemented to restructure the commission. 

Lobby members of the appropriate committees in your state legislature to earmark general funds for the support of the wildlife department.  With enough funding we can demand that our concerns be seriously addressed by the commission and the department.

If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can find them on line by clicking on the lion at the left.

115 million animals are counting on YOU to speak out for them this year.

Susan Bass

Susan Bass

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Susan-BassSUSAN BASS

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

Contact Susan Bass, Director of Public Relations, at Susan.Bass@BigCatRescue.org or 813-431-2720.

Susan Bass has been the Director of Public Relations at Big Cat Rescue since 2011.

Susan’s primary role is expanding the reach of the sanctuary’s advocacy work and developing strategies and initiatives to bring the issues of big cats in captivity and in the wild to the forefront of the public and media.

Susan has 17 years of public relations experience and has worked at major PR firms in New York City, Miami and Tampa.

Hear and Interview with Susan Bass 

Hear Briar Lee Mitchell interviewing Susan Bass

Article by Susan Bass http://www.just-do-something.org/our-blog-by-just-do-something-org/guest-blogger-susan-bass-bigcatrescue-org/

Susan Bass quoted in USA Today

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

Big Cat Fences

Big Cat Fences

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Building Fences to Protect Big Cats

The Corbett Foundation is a charitable, non-profit and non-governmental organization solely committed to the conservation of wildlife. They work towards a harmonious coexistence between human beings and wildlife across some of the most important wildlife habitats in India, namely Corbett Tiger Reserve, Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves, Kaziranga Tiger Reserve and around the Greater Rann of Kutch. Local Communities and wildlife share natural ecosystems and this often raises conflict, so the health and wellbeing of these communities are often directly linked to their willingness to participate in wildlife conservation efforts. The Corbett foundation has implemented its programs in over 400 villages in the last decade.

tiger falls in well

One specific area the Corbett foundation is working on is the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Open farm wells, dug by villagers, in the buffer zone of the Reserve, are proving to be a deathtrap for wild animals, with several cases having been reported of animals, including tigers and leopards, drowning by accidentally falling into the open wells. Currently around 2500 of these open farm wells exist, many in the core zone of the Tiger Reserve. The Corbett Foundation with the support of Exodus Travels Ltd UK, has initiated a project to install chain-link fencing around such open farm wells to prevent any further accidental drowning. In the first phase of the project, 200 fences have already been built around wells closest to the core of the reserve.

In March 2016, Big Cat Rescue donated $5,000 to assist with this initiative. The cost of one fence is 7500 Indian Rupees so approximately $111, meaning from the $5000 donated, between 40-45 fences can be built.

You can read more about the other great work done by Corbett Foundation here: http://www.corbettfoundation.org/what-we-do.php#wildlife-conservation

Building Fences to Save Big Cats with Corbett

Part of the problem in protecting big cats in range states is that they usually don’t even know what kind of animal they are.  This is a leopard in a well, not a tiger, but our fences would prohibit this from happening.

This is a lion, not a tiger, but you get the idea:

Find out more about in situ work being done by Big Cat Rescue at:  http://bigcatrescue.org/insitu

See more pictures of tigers, leopards and lions who have fallen in wells.

Leopard FallenInWell2016b

 

Larry Wallach Exploiting Cubs

Larry Wallach Exploiting Cubs

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This is Larry Wallach from New York.

 

Larry Wallach Exploiting Tiger CubHe has been exploiting tiger cubs and charging the public to hold them for over a decade. In 2012, USDA filed a complaint against Larry Wallach for a litany of animal welfare violations, including failure to provide vet care to the cats and stressing out his tiger cubs with the constant cub handling.

He was set up at the Cacklebery Campground in New Smyrna Beach, FL with 2 young tiger cubs but after hearing from 1,495 of you, they asked him to leave!

They say he’s moved off their property and setting up shop on Main Street.  We are trying to find out the owner of the property, so we can let them know that animal lovers hate this sort of abuse.

He’s preying upon the hundreds of thousands of visitors in the area for Bike Week. Florida Fish & Wildlife sent an investigator but unfortunately said what he’s doing is legal. But we know you agree with us that just because it’s legal does NOT make it right.

How can someone like Wallach with a long list of USDA violations dating back to 2008 STILL BE OPERATING AND EXPLOITING CUBS? How can USDA and the Florida Wildlife Commission look at the raw, oozing sore on the cub’s nose, from frantically dragging his face back and forth across the cage wire, and not treat it as a violation of the Endangered Species Act?  It’s heartbreaking. But we CAN end this abuse with the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

TAKE ACTION!

Take action here:  http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17851

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 12.10.09 PM

Big Cat Act

Big Cat Act

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Big Cat Act

The Big Cat and Public Safety Act has been reintroduced we are asking you to call your lawmaker.

 

Hello, my name is __________ and my zip code is _______. Please ask your boss to cosponsor The Big Cat Public Safety Act

 

You can send an email to your member of congress here, but please call them too as that makes much more of an impact.

 

 

Read the official bill language here.

 

Most Important Big Cat Bill Ever

 

This bill, called the Big Cats and Public Safety Act HR3546/S2541, is the most important piece of legislation to ever be introduced to protect lions, tigers and other exotic wild cats from being kept as pets and in miserable roadside zoos.  Ask your member of Congress to Co-Sponsor this bill now!

 

 

Send a quick and easy letter to your lawmaker using our sample letter asking them to support BigCatLaws.com

 

 

Previous Version from 2014:

Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 1998 and S 1381

 

On May 15, 2013, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1998, and in July 2013 Senator Blumenthal introduced S 1381, to prohibit the private possession and breeding of big cats. The bill will insure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats – which are kept as pets and exploited in roadside zoos and traveling exhibits – do not threaten public safety, diminish the global big cat conservation efforts, or end up living in deplorable conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty.

White Tiger cub crying for his motherThe debate over private ownership of big cats garnered national attention in October 2011 when the owner of a backyard menagerie in Zanesville, Ohio, opened the cages of his tigers, leopards, lions, wolves, bears and monkeys before committing suicide. Local police, who were neither trained nor properly equipped to deal with a situation of that magnitude, were forced to shoot and kill nearly 50 animals—38 of them big cats—before they could enter populated areas.

The bill would make it illegal to possess any big cat except at accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries where they can be properly cared for and sheltered, and would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions. Current owners would be allowed to keep the cats they currently have provided they register their cats with USDA but they would not be allowed to acquire or breed more. This “grandfather” clause is necessary because there is no place for the animals to go if owners were forced to give them up, and the prospect of confiscation might create an incentive to kill animals and illegally sell their parts. Violators of the law could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their activity, and could face stiff penalties including fines up to $20,000 and up to five years in jail.

 

Public Safety.

 

It is estimated that there are 10,000 to 20,000 big cats currently held in private ownership in the U.S., although the exact number remains a mystery. In the past 21 years, U.S. incidents involving captive big cats—including tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and lion/tiger hybrids—have resulted in the deaths of 22 humans, 248 maulings, 260 escapes, 144 big cats deaths and 131 confiscations.

 

 

Illegal trade in big cat parts and impact on conservation in the wild.

 

Despite the claims of breeders who profit from selling these animals, the rampant breeding of big cats in private hands to exploit in exhibits or inappropriately keep as pets does absolutely nothing to further conservation in the wild. In fact, the opposite is true. In the case of tigers, of the estimated 5000 in this country, only about 250 are pure bred subspecies and those are housed in AZA accredited zoos. All of the rest are “generic,” i.e. cross bred between two or more subspecies, and have no conservation value whatsoever. Undercover operations by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over the last decade and as recently as January 2012 have demonstrated that there is an illegal trade in big cat parts, including skins and bones. According to the International Tiger Coalition, the more these parts are supplied from the captive big cat population, the more the market for these parts grows, and the more demand grows for the “real” or premium product, i.e. parts from big cats poached from the wild.

 

 

Deplorable conditions are the rule, not the exception.

 

sad tiger cubIn the case of big cats owned as pets, i.e. not exhibited to the public, there is no federal regulation governing how they are kept. State laws vary from no restrictions, to simply requiring registration, to some states banning ownership as pets. But, the bans are often ineffective because the states that ban ownership as pets often do so by exempting those who hold USDA licenses as commercial exhibitors. According to a 2010 audit of USDA by OIG, 70% of private owners with four or less cats were actually pet owners simply using USDA registration to evade the state law. So, individuals buy cute cubs that grow up to be dangerous, unmanageable and expensive to feed. They end up in tiny, barren cages in back yards, abandoned to sanctuaries that are struggling financially to support the steady flow of unwanted cats, or in the illegal trade for their parts. Cats owned by exhibitors do fall under the regulations promulgated by USDA under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), but they fare no better. The USDA sets minimum standards that allow these cats to spend their entire lives in small, concrete and chain link cages that in effect are prison cells. And even these minimal standards are totally impractical to enforce. USDA has about 100 inspectors to police over 2700 exotic animal exhibitors and thousands of other animal facilities. Horrible facilities are cited year after year and only a few of the very worst are ever shut down. As a result, the vast majority of big cats live in conditions that any compassionate person would view as cruel and inhumane.

HR 1998 and S 1381 would avert unnecessary human suffering from deaths and injuries from these inherently dangerous animals, stop the illegal trade in captive animal parts that encourages poaching of the wild population, and end the widespread misery these majestic animals endure in private hands when exploited for exhibition or inappropriately kept as pets. This bill is supported by Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Big Cat Rescue, Born Free USA, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS, Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), ROAR Foundation and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

 

Download the Big Cats Act Factsheet to share with your friends and your lawmakers.Big Cat Ban Save the Cubs

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Version of the bill:

 

Th bill below died in Congress in 2012 due to the Fiscal Cliff being the only issue that congress was focused on even though there were more than 60 bi partisan co sponsors for both a House 4122 and Senate 3257 bill.  Press Release from IFAW  Congressman McKeon and Congresswoman Sanchez Introduce Bipartisan Bill.

 

Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 4122

 

Big Cats and Public Safety Protection

Big Cats and Public Safety Protection

Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act.”  Unfortunately, an alarming number of wild cats have been bred and sold as domestic pets in the U.S. This trend threatens public safety and often results in the mistreatment of these animals.  Just recently, the tragic events in Zanesville, Ohio, where 49 wild animals were killed after they were let loose on an unlicensed wild animal preserve, showcases the dangerous implications of this trend.  Currently, only nine states have laws enforcing “no wild animals permitted,” and the remaining states have weak or no laws in existence. This bi-partisan bill will ensure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats, do not threaten public safety, diminish global big cat conservation efforts, or end up living in horrible conditions where they can be subject to mistreatment and cruelty.

The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act would prohibit private possession of big cats except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and restrained.  Also, since nobody, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), state agencies, and local first responders knows exactly how many dangerous big cats are being kept in private hands, under what conditions, and in what locations, the bill would require any persons who currently possess big cats to register those animals with USDA in order to keep the cats they currently own.  The bill would also outlaw the breeding of any big cat except at accredited zoos and research and educational institutions.  Violators of the law could have their animals confiscated along with any vehicles or equipment used to aid in their illegal activity, and could face stiff penalties including fines as much as $20,000, and up to five years in jail.

“No matter how many times people try to do it, wildcats such as lions, tigers, panthers, cheetahs are impossible to domesticate for personal possession and require much higher living standards compared to a domestic house cat,” said Congressman McKeon.  “When accidents happen and these wild cats are released into our neighborhoods, it causes panic, puts a strain on our local public safety responders and is extremely dangerous. This bill is a step forward in protecting the public and ensuring that wildcats reside in proper living conditions.”

“The events in Ohio last year showed the tragedy that can occur when exotic animals are privately owned by individuals, with little to no oversight,” said Congresswoman Sanchez.  “Wild animals are dangerous and we clearly need better laws limiting their ownership.  Exotic species should be regulated to high quality facilities with the ability to properly care for them.”

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is working on introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

“It’s a little hard to believe that there’s a crazy patchwork of regulations governing people who try to keep wild cats as pets,” said Senator Kerry.  “I know it sounds like something you just read about when there’s a tragic news story, but it’s all too real for first responders who respond to a 911 call and are surprised to come face to face with a Bengal tiger.  This bill will ensure that these endangered creatures are kept in secure, professional facilities like wildlife sanctuaries rather than in small cages in someone’s backyard or apartment building.”

This legislation is supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Born Free USA, Humane Society of United States, and Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, FL.

 

 

Contact Congress and tell them that you support this bill.

 

Here is the actual language of the Big Cats Act bill from 2014.  New markup for 2015-2016 coming soon.

 

US Big Cats Legislation (Lacey Act markup)

§ 3371. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter:

(g) Prohibited wildlife species–The term “prohibited wildlife species” means any live species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such a species.

 

§ 3372. Prohibited acts

(a) Offenses other than marking offenses

It is unlawful for any person–

(1) to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States or in violation of any Indian tribal law;

(2) to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce–

(A) any fish or wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State or in violation of any foreign law; or

(B) any plant–

(i) taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State, or any foreign law, that protects plants or that regulates–

(I) the theft of plants;

(II) the taking of plants from a park, forest reserve, or other officially protected area;

(III) the taking of plants from an officially designated area; or

(IV) the taking of plants without, or contrary to, required authorization;

(ii) taken, possessed, transported, or sold without the payment of appropriate royalties, taxes, or stumpage fees required for the plant by any law or regulation of any State or any foreign law; or

(iii) taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any limitation under any law or regulation of any State, or under any foreign law, governing the export or transshipment of plants; or

(C) any prohibited wildlife species (subject to subsection (e) of this section);

(3) within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States (as defined in section 7 of Title 18)–

(A) to possess any fish or wildlife taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State or in violation of any foreign law or Indian tribal law, or

(B) to possess any plant–

(i) taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law or regulation of any State, or any foreign law, that protects plants or that regulates–

(I) the theft of plants;

II) the taking of plants from a park, forest reserve, or other officially protected area;

(III) the taking of plants from an officially designated area; or

(IV) the taking of plants without, or contrary to, required authorization;

(ii) taken, possessed, transported, or sold without the payment of appropriate royalties, taxes, or stumpage fees required for the plant by any law or regulation of any State or any foreign law; or

(iii) taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any limitation under any law or regulation of any State, or under any foreign law, governing the export or transshipment of plants; or

(4) Subject to subsection (e), to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, purchase, breed, possess or own any prohibited wildlife species; or

(4) (5) to attempt to commit any act described in paragraphs (1) through (3) (1) through (4).

(e) Nonapplicability of prohibited wildlife species offense.

(1) In general, Subsection (a)(2)(C) (a)(4) of this section does not apply to –

(A) importation, exportation, transportation, sale, receipt, acquisition, breeding, possession, ownership, or purchase of an animal of a prohibited wildlife species, by a person that, under regulations prescribed under paragraph (3), is described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) with respect to that species; and

(B) transportation, possession, or ownership of an animal of a prohibited wildlife species, by a person that, under regulations prescribed under paragraph (3), is described in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (2) with respect to that animal.

(2) Persons described

A person is described in this paragraph, if the person–

(A) is licensed or registered, and inspected, by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or any other Federal agency with respect to that species is a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums;

(B) is a State college, university, or agency, State-licensed wildlife rehabilitator, or State-licensed veterinarian;

C) is an accredited is a wildlife sanctuary that cares for prohibited wildlife species and–

(i) is a corporation that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of Title 26 and described in sections 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of Title 26;

(ii) does not commercially trade in animals listed in section 3371(g) of this title, including offspring, parts, and byproducts of such animals;

(iii) does not propagate animals listed in section 3371(g) of this title; and

(iv) does not allow direct contact between the public and animals; or and

(v)  does not allow the transport and display of animals off-site;

(D) has custody of the animal solely for the purpose of expeditiously transporting the animal to a person described in this paragraph with respect to the species.;or

(E) is in possession of one or more animals of a prohibited wildlife species, that–

 

            (i) were born before the dates of enactment of this subparagraph; and

 

(ii) are registered with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service within 6 months after the date of promulgation of regulations implementing this subparagraph by the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture.

 

§ 3373. Penalties and sanctions

(a) Civil penalties

(1) Any person who engages in conduct prohibited by any provision of this chapter (other than subsections (a)(4), (b), (d) and (f) of section 3372 of this title) and in the exercise of due care should know that the fish or wildlife or plants were taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of, or in a manner unlawful under, any underlying law, treaty, or regulation, and any person who knowingly violates subsection (d) subsections (a)(4), (d), of section 3372 of this title, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $10,000 for each such violation: Provided, That when the violation involves fish or wildlife or plants with a market value of less than $350, and involves only the transportation, acquisition, or receipt of fish or wildlife or plants taken or possessed in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States, any Indian tribal law, any foreign law, or any law or regulation of any State, the penalty assessed shall not exceed the maximum provided for violation of said law, treaty, or regulation, or $10,000, whichever is less.

(2) Any person who violates subsection (b) or (f) of section 3372 of this title, except as provided in paragraph (1), may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $250.

(3) For purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), any reference to a provision of this chapter or to a section of this chapter shall be treated as including any regulation issued to carry out any such provision or section.

(4) No civil penalty may be assessed under this subsection unless the person accused of the violation is given notice and opportunity for a hearing with respect to the violation. Each violation shall be a separate offense and the offense shall be deemed to have been committed not only in the district where the violation first occurred, but also in any district in which a person may have taken or been in possession of the said fish or wildlife or plants.

(5) Any civil penalty assessed under this subsection may be remitted or mitigated by the Secretary.

(6) In determining the amount of any penalty assessed pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2), the Secretary shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the prohibited act committed, and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require.

(b) Hearings

Hearings held during proceedings for the assessment of civil penalties shall be conducted in accordance with section 554 of Title 5. The administrative law judge may issue subpoenas for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of relevant papers, books, or documents, and may administer oaths. Witnesses summoned shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid to witnesses in the courts of the United States. In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena issued pursuant to this paragraph and served upon any person, the district court of the United States for any district in which such person is found, resides, or transacts business, upon application by the United States and after notice to such person, shall have jurisdiction to issue an order requiring such person to appear and give testimony before the administrative law judge or to appear and produce documents before the administrative law judge, or both, and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof.

(c) Review of civil penalty

Any person against whom a civil penalty is assessed under this section may obtain review thereof in the appropriate District Court of the United States by filing a complaint in such court within 30 days after the date of such order and by simultaneously serving a copy of the complaint by certified mail on the Secretary, the Attorney General, and the appropriate United States attorney. The Secretary shall promptly file in such court a certified copy of the record upon which such violation was found or such penalty imposed, as provided in section 2112 of Title 28. If any person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty after it has become a final and unappealable order or after the appropriate court has entered final judgment in favor of the Secretary, the Secretary may request the Attorney General of the United States to institute a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States to collect the penalty, and such court shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide any such action. In hearing such action, the court shall have authority to review the violation and the assessment of the civil penalty de novo.

(d) Criminal penalties

(1) Any person who–

(A) knowingly imports or exports any fish or wildlife or plants in violation of any provision of this chapter (other than subsections (b), (d) and (f) of section 3372 of this title), or

(B) knowingly violates paragraph (4) of section 3(a), or

(B) (C) violates any provision of this chapter (other than subsections (b), (d) and (f) of section 3372 of this title) by knowingly engaging in conduct that involves the sale or purchase of, the offer of sale or purchase of, or the intent to sell or purchase, fish or wildlife or plants with a market value in excess of $350, knowing that the fish or wildlife or plants were taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of, or in a manner unlawful under, any underlying law, treaty or regulation, shall be fined not more than $20,000, or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both. Each violation shall be a separate offense and the offense shall be deemed to have been committed not only in the district where the violation first occurred, but also in any district in which the defendant may have taken or been in possession of the said fish or wildlife or plants.

(2) Any person who knowingly engages in conduct prohibited by any provision of this chapter (other than subsections (b), (d), and (f) of section 3372 of this title) and in the exercise of due care should know that the fish or wildlife or plants were taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of, or in a manner unlawful under, any underlying law, treaty or regulation, or in the exercise of due care should know that the conduct violates paragraph 4 of section 3(a) shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. Each violation shall be a separate offense and the offense shall be deemed to have been committed not only in the district where the violation first occurred, but also in any district in which the defendant may have taken or been in possession of the said fish or wildlife or plants.

(3) Any person who knowingly violates subsection (d) or (f) of section 3372 of this title–

(A) shall be fined under Title 18, or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if the offense involves–

(i) the importation or exportation of fish or wildlife or plants; or

(ii) the sale or purchase, offer of sale or purchase, or commission of an act with intent to sell or purchase fish or wildlife or plants with a market value greater than $350; and

(B) shall be fined under Title 18, or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both, if the offense does not involve conduct described in subparagraph (A).

(e) Permit sanctions

The Secretary may also suspend, modify, or cancel any Federal hunting or fishing license, permit, or stamp, or any license or permit authorizing a person to import or export fish or wildlife or plants (other than a permit or license issued pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act [16 U.S.C.A. § 1801 et seq.]), or to operate a quarantine station or rescue center for imported wildlife or plants, issued to any person who is convicted of a criminal violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation issued hereunder. The Secretary shall not be liable for the payments of any compensation, reimbursement, or damages in connection with the modification, suspension, or revocation of any licenses, permits, stamps, or other agreements pursuant to this section.

§ 3374. Forfeiture

(a) In general

(1) All fish or wildlife or plants imported, exported, transported, sold, received, acquired, bred, possessed, owned, or purchased contrary to the provisions of section 3372 of this title (other than section 3372(b) of this title), or any regulation issued pursuant thereto, shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States notwithstanding any culpability requirements for civil penalty assessment or criminal prosecution included in section 3373 of this title.

(2) All vessels, vehicles, aircraft, and other equipment used to aid in the importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, breeding, possessing, owning, or purchasing of fish or wildlife or plants in a criminal violation of this chapter for which a felony conviction is obtained shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States if (A) the owner of such vessel, vehicle, aircraft, or equipment was at the time of the alleged illegal act a consenting party or privy thereto or in the exercise of due care should have known that such vessel, vehicle, aircraft, or equipment would be used in a criminal violation of this chapter, and (B) the violation involved the sale or purchase of, the offer of sale or purchase of, or the intent to sell or purchase, fish or wildlife or plants, or involved the breeding, possession, or ownership of a prohibited wildlife species.

(b) Application of customs laws

All provisions of law relating to the seizure, forfeiture, and condemnation of property for violation of the customs laws, the disposition of such property or the proceeds from the sale thereof, and the remission or mitigation of such forfeiture, shall apply to the seizures and forfeitures incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, under the provisions of this chapter, insofar as such provisions of law are applicable and not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, except that all powers, rights, and duties conferred or imposed by the customs laws upon any officer or employee of the Treasury Department may, for the purposes of this chapter, also be exercised or performed by the Secretary or by such persons as he may designate: Provided, That any warrant for search or seizure shall be issued in accordance with rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(c) Storage cost

Any person convicted of an offense, or assessed a civil penalty, under section 3373 of this title shall be liable for the costs incurred in the storage, care, and maintenance of any fish or wildlife or plant seized in connection with the violation concerned.

(d) Civil forfeitures

Civil forfeitures under this section shall be governed by the provisions of chapter 46 of Title 18.