Why Animal Exploiters Attack Big Cat Rescue Online
Big Cat Rescue is the largest sanctuary devoted exclusively to big cats that is accredited by GFAS, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. BCR has been held out by GFAS as a model of excellent sanctuary management, both financially and operationally. We have held seminars on our practices for other GFAS sanctuaries and for the sanctuary managers of one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the world.
Charity Navigator is the leading independent evaluating body for nonprofit organizations. BCR has earned their highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” every year since we were first evaluated by them in 2010. Per their rating letter “Only 7% of the charities we rate have received at least 4 consecutive 4-star evaluations. indicating that Big Cat Rescue outperforms most other charities in America.”
GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews for nonprofit organizations, has named Big Cat Rescue has named Big Cat Rescue as one of its “Top-Rated Charities” every year since the beginning of its ratings in 2010. Those who tour BCR give the experience very high ratings on TripAdvisor, Yelp and other social media rating sites. We have at this writing over 1.5 million Facebook followers and our BigCatTV.com YouTube videos have received over 100 million views.
So, why when you Google Big Cat Rescue do you see some pages devoted totally to trashing us and when articles appear that we comment on do you see a few people commenting repeatedly trying to get you to go to those sites?
If our mission was simply to care for the animals we take in those pages would not exist. But our two part mission is much broader. Our first duty is to give the best home we can to the roughly 100 animals we can provide a home for at the sanctuary. But the second part of our mission, to which we devote enormous resources, is to impact the lives of thousands of animals by working to end the widespread mistreatment of big cats in captivity. We do that by taking on the bad guys who are causing these animals misery. We do it in the following ways:
Advocating for stronger regulations. For instance, we have actively worked with a number of the major animal welfare organizations to submit to USDA a 70+ page petition documenting why cub petting is abusive and why USDA should change its rules to forbid it as part of USDA’s mandate under the Animal Welfare Act to create rules to insure humane treatment of animals.
Advocating for laws banning private ownership of big cats in roadside zoos and as pets. We have testified at hearings and organized grass roots campaigns to support state bans. But most of our effort has gone into being one of the leading entities urging Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act that would phase out ownership by roadside zoos and big cats in back yards as pets. Federal bills typically take a number of sessions of Congress to pass, building support momentum over a period of years. At the end of the 2012 session the bill had 60 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. At the end of the 2014 session support had almost doubled to 119, over 25% of the legislators in the House. The bill was introduced in the 2016 session in September 2015. You can read about the bill HEREand help by easily contacting your legislators HERE.
When we detect situations we view as abusive like ripping tiny tiger cubs from their mothers at birth so ‘exhibitors” can make money forcing the often sleep deprived cubs to be petted or even swim with customers, or other traveling displays or circus style acts using big cats, we ask supporters to email and call the venues that allow these displays to show the venues that the majority of people view these as abusive. With the amazing help of our “Advocats” who take the time to make these calls and send these emails, we have gotten the owners of over 200 malls and fairs to no longer allow such displays. Major corporations like Citigroup and Porsche have agreed not to have such displays at corporate events after we educated them about the evils of these displays.
We have sued in federal court what we view as one of the most notorious tiger cub exploiters in the world, won a $1mm judgment, and are currently pursuing him to collect what we can.
Our Founder and staff are regularly interviewed as experts for news stories on issues related to big cats in captivity and we proactively comment online, sometimes positively and sometimes correcting articles that fail to accurately portray the plight of the big cats.
Being a leader in the fight to stop the abuse puts a target on the back of Big Cat Rescue and its Founder. The people who make money exhibiting big cats and selfishly wanting to own them as pets have no arguments that resonate with the public to justify their greed and selfishness. The only defense they can come up with is to try to discredit Big Cat Rescue online by posting lies. The fact that so much time and energy is put into these websites trashing BCR is a testimony to the fact that we are being EFFECTIVE! If we were not, would they spend the time?
A large portion of the bashing brings up the early history of BCR, which we transparently provide right on our own website and in a large sign in the tour waiting area at the sanctuary. In the first few years in the early 90’s, before Carole came to know better, some animals were purchased and bred here. We now lead the fight to end that private breeding. You can click these links to read about the sanctuary’s history and evolution of thought.
One of the things our opponents love to rant about are cats who were born at Big Cat Rescue. In addition to the links above, which explain why ANY cats were born here, it’s most important to note that as of 2016 there are 12 still alive. They are a larger percentage of our population than ever before because they have always had excellent care, so they live longer. The youngest is 17 and the oldest are 21. There are 2 bobcats, 2 caracals, 1 ocelot, 5 servals (all related), a cougar and a leopard. That means we haven’t bred cats here in 17 years, and yet the very people who make the most noise about our past mistakes are still breeding lions, tigers and other big cats.
Opponents complain that we don’t talk a lot about them being born here, and the reason is that people see us as a model sanctuary. If they don’t process our entire message they might think that if BCR ever bred wild cats, then it must be a good thing to do. We want to be sure they don’t leave here or our website, thinking it’s OK to breed wild animals for life in cages; because it’s not.
BCR has been covered positively by the press over 1000 times (click here to see our media coverage). However on three occasions some years ago, in 2006-7 and 2011, the exploiters convinced reporters to print their lies. The latter time the report was based primarily on the exploiter we had sued earlier that year. Because the exploiters constantly drag out those stories and repost them online, we have gone point by point through the lies in them at the sites below:
Eddie Serio of Black Jaguar White Tiger in Mexico – see 911animalabuse.com/black-jaguar-white-tiger/ This is probably the most successful of the scamtuaries. Serio has duped millions of people into thinking he is saving animals when in fact he has a steady stream of cubs showing up in his closets, with no real explanation of where they keep coming from, where their parents are, or where they go when they aren’t fun to play with any more. If he were really rescuing the cats and cubs, there would be videos of the rescue missions and he’d be asking you to help stop those breeders so more cubs aren’t born into cages. He’d fix his cats so they wouldn’t breed and add to the problem, but he refuses to do so.
He’s sending entirely the wrong message by allowing contact with the animals because seeing images like that is what makes people pay to play with cubs, which is what drives almost all of the abuse. As for loving animals, one video shows this jerk kicking an animal just to torment the owner who entrusted the animal to him and now wishes she had never heard of him. As one example of his nonsensical attacks on Big Cat Rescue, he has been distributing a screen shot from our 990 tax form that shows that the line item Animal Care and Educational Programs is 18% of our total expenses and claiming “only 18% goes to the animals” trying to imply we do not use donor funds properly. Pretty funny from a guy who offers no transparency as to revenue or expenses and dupes people into supporting his exploitation.
The line item he points to only includes direct costs like food, veterinary care, maintaining the cages. Does Serio think running a sanctuary just means buying some food and building some cages and having a vet come by? Of course not – he knows better. This item does not include any of the salaries that it takes to run the sanctuary, the insurance, the new cat hospital we built, utilities, housing for the interns we train to in both animal care and the issues, the gift shop that helps fund the sanctuary, the efforts we make to educate the public about the plight of the animals in captivity (e.g. that places like Black Jaguar are NOT sanctuaries and are sending the wrong message), the legal expense we have incurred suing one of the most notorious tiger cub exploiters, or the expenses associated with our effort to pass a federal bill that would end private breeding and possession of big cats to end the suffering that results from private ownership. Serio also points to family members on our staff. We are proud of the fact that we are a family of hard working people dedicated to the cats who work for very reasonable salaries. We are so proud of the way we handle donor funds that we post all of our tax returns and outside audits of those returns here: http://bigcatrescue.org/about/finances/
Charity Navigator is the organization most respected world wide for judging whether nonprofits are good stewards of donor funds. Big Cat Rescue has received their highest four star rating five years in a row, something only 6% of the thousands of nonprofits they rate achieves. Who is a better judge of governance and stewardship of donor funds, Charity Navigator or Eddie Serio? If Serio were rated by Charity Navigator, would he manage to get one star?
The funny thing about Serio’s attacks is that when he sends his lies about BCR out to the millions of people he has duped and they actually take the time to learn what we do, many realize they have been duped and become supporters of ours. That is the silver line in having to deal with his nonsense and false attacks.
Another lie the animal abusers like to tell is that Big Cat Rescue is not a sanctuary. They use this screenshot to mislead their believers, even though we have been addressing this since 2007. We were able to get Florida lawmakers to enact a $10,000 bond requirement to protect people who may be injured by those exhibiting big cats. At that time, the only way to legally own a Class I animal, like a lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar or cougar was to be an exhibitor. The Florida Wildlife Commission has always taken the position that the citizens of the state cannot tell them what to do. They took advantage of the fact that the legislature used the term “exhibit” to create a new category of dangerous animal owners they called “sanctuaries.” They thought that it would exempt those owners, the powerful circus lobby, who often warehouse animals off site when not on the road. We went back to the legislature in 2009 and had them change the word from “exhibit” to “possess” so that everyone who possesses a Class I animal now has to post the bond.
As you can see, the bad guys take some kernel of truth, and then twist it and lie to you so that you will believe them. How many lies do you have to catch them in?
A few other attackers are individuals who may or may not be using their real names to post their attacks. They appear under some of the names below and spend enormous amounts of time building websites and blogs full of nonsense and posting online to try to direct people to them. These include:
No doubt there are people who read the trash posted by those who wish to continue to exploit big cats and do not look further. Thank you for coming to this page to learn the truth. Very simply, as noted above,the repeated posts by these attackers are a clear sign that our advocacy work to stop their exploitation is having an impact. If it was not threatening to them, they would not take the time to falsely try to damage our reputation.
See what our cages are really like:
More Lies the Bad Guys Tell
People like Eddie Serio of Black Jaguar White Tiger tell their minions to post one star reviews about Big Cat Rescue even though they have never been here. They, and others like them, tell their fans that it’s because Big Cat Rescue pays for good reviews. Find out how they mislead you with an image that actually prooves they are lying here: http://bigcatrescue.org/pay-for-reviews/
He’s in the hospital until we get a clean fecal sample from him. If he doesn’t have hookworms he will be cleared to go out in the 1200 sf enclosure next to Ms Claws. For now you can check in on him here, but be very, very quiet: https://video.nest.com/live/2zgUFP
Cage rest sounds pretty peaceful for the cat, but it’s a real challenge for the caregivers.
See 2 playlists of some of our rehab bobcats
While we do bobcat rescue, rehab and release in Florida, we will not relocate bobcats as state law requires that they be released very near where they were captured. They must be released on at least 40 acres and we must get written permission from the owner of the property. They may not be released into state owned parks (strangely) but rather must be released on privately owned land with the land owner’s consent.
Big Cat Rescue has decades of experience rehabbing and releasing bobcats back to the wild where they belong. We provide huge, naturalistic enclosures where these cats can learn or perfect their hunting skills before being released back to the wild. We have trained staff who are experts at capturing an injured bobcat or hand rearing orphaned bobcats until a surrogate can be found.
We go to great lengths to keep these wild cats from imprinting on humans and monitor their care via surveillance cameras to make sure they are thriving. When they are healed, or old enough for release (about 18 months of age) we find the best habitat possible for sustaining them and set them free to live out the life that nature intended.
If you have a bobcat emergency in a state other than Florida, we can help you find a rehabber or will be a resource to wildlife rehabilitators who need help with bobcats, lynx or cougars. When you are searching for a bobcat rehabber ask the following questions:
1. Do they have experience with bobcats?
2. How big are their rehab enclosures? (Ours start at 1200 square feet and some are double that)
3. Do they feed a live diet of prey to insure that the cats will be able to hunt for themselves?
4. Do they keep people, including themselves to the extent possible, away from the bobcat so that they do not imprint on people and end up approaching humans after release?
5. Do they have a vet on staff or on call 24/7 for emergencies?
Rehabbing and releasing bobcats is much more difficult that the rehabilitation of most wildlife. These magnificent little wildcats need every opportunity to fulfill their role in nature and Big Cat Rescue is here to give them that second chance.
We are thinking the bobcat rehab rebuild is going to run $345,000.00
The area that would be most suitable on our property would allow a foot print of about 200 feet by 800 feet and would give us about 1/3 of that in thick woods and 2/3 in grassy runs. The woods are a blessing and a curse when we are talking chain link boxes.
Click map to see larger
The pink areas are our permanent big cat residents. The green shaded area is where we want to move our bobcat rehab facilities. It will be the opposite end of our property from the new hotel that is going in on Easy Street.
The 18 acre lake was dug out by the previous owner and then he was filling it in, starting w/ the green shaded area, with concrete and construction materials from demolition sites. He dug the lake down to 30 feet in places, so we could have that much concrete to drill through.
Wild bobcats DO dig, so we have to have a floor. That’s why I was thinking that a big chain link box, complete with roof and floor, might actually work there. It would have to be 1 in mesh and at least 11.5 gauge to meet state standards and keep their live rats from escaping. We would put dirt, grass and shrubs over the flooring after install.
This year we had 7 bobcats in rehab, which is the most we’ve had at one time, but as our reputation for successful releases grows, more cats seem to end up here, so we need to be ready for that growing demand.
We are confident that we can end the practice of private ownership of big cats, so the wildlife rehab work will expand as the need for big cat sanctuaries decreases with our legislative wins.
We own the three houses and two barns that are south of the green shaded area, so there is water, power and Internet nearby. The main house and the two barns have a life estate by the elderly owner though, so I’d have to build something for indoor care of injured cats, but it wouldn’t have to be huge because of the opportunity to take over the existing structures soon.
Currently the intensive care is done in our on site Cat Hospitals, but it would really be nice to have the wild bobcats totally away from the hubbub of the sanctuary, in their own recovery facilities adjoining the outdoor runs.
What I envision here are 8 long, narrow runs, maybe 20 by 230 each, that could be opened up into 4 that are 20 x 470 when there are 4 or fewer cats. Still puzzling about how to make the space expandable, without shared walls, which are just a tragedy waiting to happen.
Whether a bobcat comes to us injured or orphaned, they usually go through these stages:
1. Inside intensive care
2. Outside, small (low) cages so they don’t climb and fall.
3. 1000 -2500 square feet of space to perfect their hunting, climbing, hiding skills.
Another factor that I haven’t quite figured out yet, is how to mount cameras so that we can make sure the cats are doing well, and to engage the public. Our Bobcat Rehab camera is very popular at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release and a great way to engage people in caring about wildlife, so I want to build it with a goal of it being a good virtual visual experience.
Each cage will require 27,120 sf of 1 in chain link mesh. Or roughly 64,750 linear feet of 8 foot high chain link mesh.
Below are mockups by Kenni Pedersen of what the bobcat rehab runs will look like.
These web cams are usually on domestic cat kittens that we are fostering for adoption, but are sometimes on the exotic cats in our on site Cat Hospital so that we can monitor their progress when they are recovering. We do not breed exotic cats. Find out why no legitimate sanctuary breeds animals.
We took in our first foster kittens on 4/5/2013. We take in kittens that the Humane Society cannot yet put on the floor for adoption. This is usually moms with babies, bottle feeder kittens, kittens under 2 lbs (the legal weight to spay & neuter them), and feral kittens that need socialized. Interns keep and care for them at their housing.
When the kittens are old enough to have their first vaccines and have been SNAP tested (for Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia), they can spend their days in the Kitten Cabana while the interns are working at the sanctuary. While there, volunteers who have had the Kitten Playtime Class can go in to play with, and socialize them.
People can help by donating to the foster program. It can be in the form of money, Purina Kitten Chow, plain clay litter (no clumping), wet food, soft blankets, towels, toys, beds, heating pads and kitten nursing supplies.
You can also help by spreading the word to adopt, not buy, and please spay and neuter pets.
You can help support our foster program by feeding all of our big cats.
One of the best ways to help is through general donations that can be used however it is most needed at the time.To make a general donation just click the Donate Now button below. This is the best way to give as it has the lowest credit card processing fees and is immediate help for the cats.
Big Cat Rescue will not share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations.
If you prefer to donate via Pay Pal, please use this link: Pay Pal This link will take you through our Salsa portal so we can properly track and thank you for your donations.
Get your tickets now because the Wildcat Walkabout ALWAYS sells out! On Oct 1, 2016 you can walk about the sanctuary at your own pace, take all the photos and videos you want, and have the benefit of knowing that your admission will go to conserving exotic cats in the wild.
When: Oct 1, 2016 11AM enter parking area | Noon – 3PM enter sanctuary.
Price: $25.00 per person. No discounts, as this is a fundraising day for conservation in the wild.
Walkabout Time Table:
11AM: Sign in and check out the food trucks till noon and the Trading Post gift shop
Noon: Gates open to the sanctuary where you can walk about and commune with the cats at your own pace.
3PM: Gates close and everyone must be outside.
Get your tickets now!
See some of the projects we have already funded to get an idea of the great work you can be part of by attending the Wildcat Walkabout: http://bigcatrescue.org/insitu
Did you know that Big Cat Rescue has two Pokemon gyms and four Pokemon stops on our 67 acre sanctuary property? The pokemon spawn randomly, so there’s no telling what will show up specifically, but we’ve located some pretty good areas on the grounds to find them. We are creating unique badges for players too!
Dear Big Cat Rescue supporter and Wildcat Walkabout Guest,
We are so happy that you will be joining us for this fun and exciting event, Wildcat Walkabout. Please take a moment to review the following information regarding the big day.
Parking and Check-In:
Check-In will be open from 11 AM – 2 PM. You must arrive no later than 2 PM in order to gain access to the Tour Path to see the cats.
Do not drive to Big Cat Rescue’s main entrance. All Wildcat Walkabout attendees will be parking at an off-site parking lot near the end of our entrance road. Event parking is located at Citrus Park Crossings – address: 12750 Citrus Park Lane, Tampa, FL 33625. This parking lot is located behind the McDonald’s gas station on the paved road that runs parallel to Easy Street in between the walking trail and the McDonald’s gas station.
Once parked, head to the Check-In table located at the parking lot gate on the west wall of the parking lot.
You MUST bring your printed receipt including the QR code (that funny square thing) or have it on your smart phone for us to scan. If there are multiple people in your group, who all paid on one receipt, you need to all check in at the same time.
You will receive a special wristband for entrance, be sure to wear this throughout the event so you get access to the Tour Path to see the cats.
After you have checked in; leave all unnecessary items in your vehicle then walk down Easy Street from the off-site parking area to Big Cat Rescue. The Big Cat Rescue activity area is located in the parking lot of Big Cat Rescue. There will be gourmet food trucks, gift shop items, a raffle for great prizes, and a selfie booth. Bring a form of payment with you should you wish to purchase any of these items. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.
The Tour Path:
The Tour Path will be open at 12:00 PM. The path should take a leisurely 30-40 minutes to complete. Wear sturdy shoes as the path is dirt and gravel.
The Tour Path entrance is located on the South wall of the parking lot directly in front of the main entrance. The first cats you will meet are Hoover and TJ the tigers and Windstar the bobcat. As you make your way around our beautiful lake you will find Max and MaryAnn the bobcats and Kali, Keisha, and Zeus the tigers. Follow the path along past our star couple Cameron the lion and Zabu the tiger to see our huge 2.5 acre Vacation Rotation Enclosure where Andre and Arthur will be. Next is Nikita the massive lioness. Continue on to visit the cougars Ares, and Orion followed by Gilligan & Skipper the Canada Lynx and Apollo the Siberian Lynx. The Tour Path will end at Moses and Bailey the bobcats leading into our gift shop. Please note the Entrance and Exit gates to the Tour Path are one-way.
You can only enter the Tour Path at TJ and Windstar and exit the Tour Path at the gift shop. We have to ask you to follow that path so we can be sure no one is left on property at the end of the event.
Big Cat Rescue volunteers will be stationed throughout the tour path for security purposes. (Please do not ask questions about the animals as these volunteers need to be monitoring guests on the property and should not be distracted.) There is a free smart phone app available with all of the cats’ stories for iPhone here: https://goo.gl/CQUzKj and Android here: https://goo.gl/kioC9Q
Portable Restrooms are available in the parking lot.
Children must remain under the direct supervision of their parents, do not allow children to wander, walk ahead, or lag behind. No horseplay, running or yelling. Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for the cats, so please do not disturb them by whistling, calling “Here Kitty, Kitty”, or making other noises to get their attention. Do not litter. Do not touch the barricades, nor reach across them with your person or anything you are carrying. Do not wander off the designated path. You are welcome to take photos and videos.
Big Cat Rescue Activity Area:
After you have walked the Tour Path we invite you to visit the Big Cat Rescue Activity Area where you can enjoy the following until 3 PM:
Raffle – Enter for a chance to win great prizes, drawing at 3 PM, must be present to win
Gift Shop – Purchase big cat gift items or event tees (while supplies last)
Wildcat Selfie Booth – Pose with fun props and big cat photo cut outs. Our team will take your photo with your own camera or smart phone, or we can use our smart phone and email you the pics. Upload your Wildcat Selfies to social media and “check-in” at Big Cat Rescue to help spread the word about the great work we are doing to save cats in captivity and in the wild!
Call of the Wild – Our friendly staff will assist you with making the Call of the Wild to your legislator asking them to champion the Big Cat Safety Act through congress. Each participant will receive a free gift to commemorate their action. (while supplies last)
Maybe the Humane Society Adoption Bus – Mobile adoption unit to find fur-ever homes for unwanted animals. And much, much more!
Be prepared for rain, bugs and summer sun. The event cannot continue in the presence of lightning.
A bone-crunching wild time you will never forget! Join us for dinner at Big Cat Rescue. The 1 hour Feeding Tour is a short tour that focuses only on the cats on a designated feeding route. It is followed by a short and informal chat session with one of our big cat keepers.
Watch big cat keepers feed tigers, leopards, cougars and more while observing from just a few feet away. As you walk around the sanctuary with our feeders your guide will tell you about the cats on the feeding route, their diets, and how they hunt in the wild.
The Feeding Tour includes:
Watching the wild cats being fed and learning about their diets.
The diet consists of chunks of beef, chicken and a ground diet.
Each Feeding Tour is unique and different, so you never know fully what to expect, besides a roaring good time!
This tour is a great lead in to a regular Day Tour. On the Day Tour you will see a greater selection of cats representing all of the species residing at the sanctuary.
The tour is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00AM. Space for this Tour is extremely limited, so advanced booking is required. Participants in the Feeding Tour must be 10 years of age or older.
Be sure to read the following before booking your tour:
Michael Miller has created all of the audio files for the big cat bios on this page and for our Vox guided tour system. He has been a true joy to work with and has a passion for protecting cats. If you need any kind of voice over work, we highly recommend Michael, not only for his talent, but because of his integrity and his inspiring sense of gratitude.