This question is one of the top five most asked questions so it tells me that people just don’t know the laws of nature or the laws of governments.
Law of Nature
In the wild kittens or cubs stay with their mothers from a year and a half to 5 years, depending on the species of wildcat and the environment. During that time the mother may nurse them for a year or more, while also teaching them how to hunt. Being able to kill something does not mean that a cat is a good enough hunter to survive in the wild.
The mother cat teaches them the ways of nature and that you should only kill enough to feed yourself and your family, so that there will be food left for the coming weeks and years. There have been some spectacular failures where people have tried to raise big cats in fenced areas, and have taught the cats to kill, but the cats then proceeded to kill everything that moved, even if they had eaten plenty. That’s not good for the environment and the cats were never able to be released to the wild, despite millions of dollars being spent on the ill fated project.
A wild mother cat teaches her kittens and cubs to stay away from people. Even the most gentle natured, captive born exotic cat, who may have been handled since a cub herself, will teach her kittens to despise humans. Instinct, as well as her personal experience with being held hostage, inspires her to encourage her kittens to fight for their lives if they come in contact with humans. In April 2016 USDA adopted the position that cubs should be left with their mothers for at least the first 4 weeks of life, which makes them too feral to handle for cub petting schemes. USDA should follow Nature’s guidance, which keeps the cubs with their mothers for well over a year.
Even with this training from their mothers in captivity, the kittens or cubs have so many more life lessons that can only be taught in the wild. These include finding the best mates to insure longevity of the clan and how to protect their territories from those who would run them out or kill them. If you have ever watched shows in the Big Cat Diary series you will see that mothers teach their young about the perils of the wild; from how to hide, how to cover your scent, how to know when to fight and when to flee, how to stalk prey and save all your energy for the pounce and kill. There is so much to being a wild cat that just cannot be replicated in a cage, even if that cage were many square miles in size. Consider that a bobcat will patrol more than 5 square miles and a tiger can maintain a territory of more than 400 square miles.
Law of the Land
It’s illegal to release a non native wild animal. That’s true in the U.S. and would make sense in other countries. The reason you cannot release a non native animal (an animal that doesn’t normally exist in an area) is because doing so upsets the entire balance of nature. Nature is flawless, where man has not intervened, because there is a symphony of interconnected animals and plants that all work together in harmony; even if it also includes predators who maintain the balance.
A perfect example of what goes wrong when non native species are released into an area, that they do not typically inhabit, is the case of Florida allowing people to buy pet pythons, which never turn out well as pets once they are hundreds of pounds and can eat small children and pets. People don’t want to euthanize the exotic pets they raised, so they turn them loose, even though it is against the law. Florida has since outlawed a number of pythons as pets, but the damage was already done because scientists and biologists all report that our most pristine forests, in the Everglades, are now devoid of almost all animal life (other than the snakes). The animals who originally lived in the Everglades had never seen predators such as these pythons that were 15-20 feet long and none of the animals who lived there were able to prey on such huge invaders.
To a lesser extent we would see the same thing happen with bobcats. Big Cat Rescue is allowed, by law, to rehab and release bobcats who were born in the wild in Florida, back to the wild in Florida. Florida rehabbers are NOT allowed to rehab bobcats from Georgia (or any other state) for release into Florida. The reason is that bobcats from other states are bigger, have different hunting skills and different instincts than those native to FL, so introducing them could wipe out the Florida bobcat, or infiltrate the gene pool sufficiently to make a mess of things. You could argue that at state lines bobcats may cross back and forth on their own, but you have to draw the line somewhere (for enforcement’s sake) so governments draw it at their state or federal lines.
Law of Common Sense
(OK, well there should be such a law) Last, but not least, most of the wild cats in captivity were born from generations of captive wild cats who have been selectively bred for characteristics that do not enhance survival. They have been inbred to create white coats, which results in a plethora of other birth defects and mental retardation. They have been bred to be used as ego props, with breeders preferring the ones who are the least apt to struggle against being held. That’s not a good trait when you have to fight for survival in the wild. Many have been mutilated by having their claws and teeth removed.
Almost all captive bred exotic cats suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Since lion and tiger cub pimps want to use cubs for pay to play schemes, they pull them from their mothers when they are only hours old so that they do not bond with their mothers. They are fed a diet that is insufficient for their nutritional needs because you can’t get canned tiger milk and tigers aren’t puppies, kittens, cows or goats. This insufficient diet often results in bones that are frail and break from a simple jump. It almost always results in nutritional cataracts and no one knows for sure how much damage is done to their eyes from the near constant flashes from cameras as they are paraded as props to hold for selfies.
All of these reasons are why “they can’t just be set free”
Captive born wild cats have been dealt a lousy hand. They are hardwired to desire freedom and yet are denied it by those who breed them for life in cages. We hate it and are glad you do too. So, lets put our energy where it can make a difference and end the practice of breeding wild cats for life in cages. You can take action RIGHT NOW at CatLaws.com no matter who you are, or where you live.
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 about a quarter of a million dollars.
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. http://www.yourfencestore.com/ lists 10 gauge, 1 inch mesh for 11.14 per linear foot which means a retail cost.
Below are mockups by Kenni Pedersen of what the bobcat rehab runs will look like.
1. Poaching of tigers and their prey is driving decreases in tiger populations throughout their range, along with poaching of their prey and degradation of their habitat.
2. Inadequate law enforcement and residual demand for tiger products pose the greatest near-term threats to the survival of wild tigers.
3. Even talk of reopening trade in farmed (or captive-bred) tiger products has helped sustain residual demand, prompted investors to stockpile tiger skins and bones, and caused police in some Asian countries to take tiger trafficking less seriously.
4. Tiger farms (and other Intensive tiger breeding operations) must be phased out immediately while, at the same time, intelligence-led wildlife law enforcement and demand-reduction campaigns are intensified.
5. Demand reduction campaigns do work, but they have not yet been given adequate support to do so.
6. Intelligence-led law enforcement does work, but it has not been given adequate support to do so.
7. Governments should provide urgently needed support to increase capacity of national, regional and international law enforcement and intelligence exchange mechanisms, especially the coordinating capacities of INTERPOL, the CITES Secretariat and the World Customs Organization.
8. To increase the likelihood to stopping tiger trade from all sources, national, regional and international wildlife law enforcement agencies should compile and share with one another all information on tiger crime.
9. The number of tigers on China’s tiger farms alone has surpassed 6,000, while similar intensive tiger breeding operations are starting up in Southeast Asia. Investors in these farms depend on demand for tiger parts and products to increase. In fact, if wild tigers go extinct, these investors will enjoy a monopoly for supplying tiger-bone wine and tiger skins to China and, perhaps, the world.
10. Registration systems for intensive tiger breeding operations, including those using DNA, will not reduce demand for tiger products. Tiger farms and other intensive tiger breeding operations must be phased out to reduce this grave threat to wild tigers. The mere existence of these facilities sustains consumer demand.
11. China banned domestic tiger trade in 1993 because it was undermining the CITES ban on international tiger trade. The potential for domestic tiger trade in China to undermine CITES is now exponentially greater due to growth of human populations and per capita buying power.
12. The 2010 Chinese Year of the Tiger is offering unprecedented opportunities for policymakers in Asia and around the world to take action to bring back wild tigers. If they do not take immediate and bold new action, there may be no wild tigers left when the Year of the Tiger comes around again in 12 years.
13. Concern for saving “face” among tiger range and consuming counties should not supersede discussing “sensitive” issues that must be addressed if the world is to avoid losing wild tigers.
14. Wild tigers are emblematic of all of nature’s abundance (species and ecosystems) now endangered by degradation and overexploitation. People say, ‘when tigers disappear, forest fall,’ which robs people of livelihoods, food, water and health security.
Other important links include:
CITES Res. Conf. 12.5
CITES Dec. 14.69
CITES Notifications related to Dec. 14.69
EU proposal to amend 12.5 at CITES CoP15
China’s CoP14 report on tigers
New EIA report on tiger trade in China
“If we can’t save the tiger from extinction, we can’t save anything!” was repeated in a myriad of ways over the past week in Washington, DC by conservation experts from around the world. Einstein’s definition of insanity is to do the same thing, over and over and expect a different result. That has been “conservation as usual” to use the slang bantered about at this two day event that has been formally described as, “The most important conservation initiative undertaken in the history of the world to conserve wild tigers.” What makes this initiative unlike all of the past programs is two fold. 39 major conservation groups, including Big Cat Rescue, have joined forces with one common goal: Save the tiger in the wild. There have been other joint efforts, but none this large and never before has an entity as powerful as the World Bank been a committed partner in saving wild places for wild animals.
Harrison Ford, one of Hollywood’s hottest actors, thanks to his latest Indiana Jones movie breaking records in theaters, is on the board of Conservation International and spoke at the June 9th launch. Also in attendance were our friend, the beautiful Bo Derek, who won the Wildlife Guardian Award at the Fur Ball last year, and Robert Duvall. HSUS brought Tiger Kids to the launch and this photo is from their participation as a ITC members. See these celebrities up close and purrsonal in the most important roles of their lives in this video we shot and find out more about how the World Bank and the International Tiger Coalition plan to save the tiger.
Big Cat Rescue has been accepted into the International Tiger Coalition based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild. We keep the most accurate and up to date information on tigers in captivity, from attacks, maulings and escapes to proper care for tigers who have been bred for life in cages. We will be working with the team members of the International Tiger Coalition to stop the private possession and trafficking in tigers through better laws.
The US is the 2nd largest consumer of tiger parts. As China continues to defy world policy on tiger protection through their determination to farm tigers for their parts, it would create a legal market in China for tiger bones, organs and skins. When tigers are bred for photo opportunities in the US they outgrow their usefulness in just a few short months. If the trade of tigers in China is legalized, it gives US breeders a loop hole to sell their babies into slaughterhouse situations. While such slaughter is illegal in the US it is easy for those, who are so unscrupulous as to breed tigers in the first place, to exploit.
This is how they do it:
There is no cooperation between states to track tiger movement. Those who wish to exploit this lack of governance will license themselves in two states. Each state only cares about what happens in their own jurisdiction. Once the cat crosses a state line, no one is tracking what happens next. That way they can quietly disappear. This is why people in the industry are trying so hard to stop federal laws that would require them to be accountable from birth to death.
If a cat is owned by someone in one state, who is also licensed in a second state, and they want to get rid of the cat, all they have to do is tell the state where the cat is currently located that they are sending him to their out of state facility. USDA only tracks movement of tigers (sporadically) from one owner to another and not within the same ownership, even if in two different states. No one in the other state is alerted that the cat should be arriving and typically never does. This is how the the worst of the abusers bury the trail with the cat.
If big cat breeders and dealers will use a cub and shoot them when they are through it only stands to reason that they would leap at the opportunity to sell the tiger into underground slaughterhouses. Help Big Cat Rescue and the International Tiger Coalition put an end to tiger farming.
Who Cares About Tigers?
The International Tiger Coalition is an alliance of many organizations representing more than 40 organizations across the globe, united under the common aim of stopping trade in tiger parts and products from all sources. Members include:
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
This unprecedented coalition, made up of environmental, zoo and animal protection organizations as well as the traditional Chinese medicine community, has come together to speak with one voice in calling for an end to trade in tiger parts and products through increased intelligence-led law enforcement and strengthening existing tiger-trade bans. Furthermore, the coalition joins leaders of the international traditional Chinese medicine industry in asking China to make its successful 14-year tiger-trade ban permanent.
Read the Ten in Ten Plan to save 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years HERE and see how you can help.
Get the 60 page report by TRAFFIC on the role of the U.S. Captive tigers in the trade of tiger parts HERE
The aim of the coalition is to coordinate research, communications and awareness-raising efforts in order to provide an organized response to the organized crime that sustains illegal tiger trade and endangers all wild tigers. www.endtigertrade.org
Timeline of the International Tiger Coalition
A loose coalition of NGO’s began working together in 2007 and had achieved some unprecedented goals by 2009 when Big Cat Rescue joined the coalition.
2009 Big Cat Rescue attended the launch of the World Bank’s involvement in Washington, D.C. which was emceed by Harrison Ford and attended by Bo Derek and Robert Duvall.
2010 Big Cat Rescue sponsored the ITC booth at CITES and sponsored the attendance of the ITC Moderator, Judy Mills at the Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Open Letter to Participants in the 58th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee Get the PDF
June 24, 2009
From the 40 Member Organizations of the International Tiger Coalition Re: Response to Notification to the Parties Number 2008/059 on Tiger Breeding Operations
In 2007, the CITES Parties agreed by consensus that “Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives.” (Decision 14.69)
In 2008, the CITES Standing Committee decided to ask relevant Parties to report on implementation of Decision 14.69. To this end, the Standing Committee established a working group to assist the CITES Secretariat in developing language for a Notification to the Parties requesting reports, with specific content, from relevant Parties.
Notification number 2008/059, issued on October 8, 2008, asked relevant Parties to report on their implementation of Decision 14.69, specifically:
a) the establishment of a national individual animal registration process incorporating a marking system;
b) the segregation of sexes to prevent further breeding;
c) the development of a strategic plan for the phasing-out of intensive breeding operations on a commercial scale or their conversion to operations devoted solely to the conservation of tigers; and,
d) the development of a policy with regard to what will happen to tigers currently in intensive breeding operations.
The undersigned 40 members of the International Tiger Coalition (ITC) are concerned that no country to which this Notification applies has responded meaningfully, i.e. with the information requested by the Standing Committee.
The only Party to respond at all was China. The ITC welcomes the fact that China responded.
However, Chinese authorities did not report specifically on their implementation of Decision 14.69 and did not address the four aforementioned issues specified in the Notification. Furthermore, the ITC is disappointed that other relevant Parties did not respond to the Notification in any form.
The ITC urges the Standing Committee to mandate the CITES Secretariat to take all appropriate measures to verify progress by relevant Parties to implement Decision 14.69, and to take appropriate steps if reports are not forthcoming within 90 days of the 58th Standing Committee meeting (SC58). Measures should include sending a delegation to relevant countries to assess their actions to implement the Decision and reporting to the next Standing Committee meeting, directly before the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties. The ITC also calls for donors to support such missions.
CITES Parties have endorsed the view that tiger farming for commercial purposes is a threat to the survival of wild tigers and needs to be stopped. We urge the Standing Committee, the CITES Secretariat and all relevant Parties to ensure full implementation of Decision 14.69 and full reporting on progress towards doing so as requested under the Notification. The CITES Parties were unanimous at CoP14 in their concerns for the future of wild tigers. That future requires a serious and timely response to this critical issue.
We thank you for your consideration,
International Tiger Coalition
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Animal Welfare Institute
Wildlife Trust of India
Animals Asia Foundation
Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Big Cat Rescue
Born Free Foundation
Born Free USA
British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Care for the Wild International
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
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 10AM 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:
10AM: 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.
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
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 10 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.
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 are a sanctuary, not a zoo, so our animals come first. We do not allow people to wander around unescorted. Our tours are all guided and provide an educational experience that includes the plight of big cats in the wild and in captivity and what you can do to save them. You will be expected to follow these Tour Rules.
In Florida, weather is always an issue. In the summer it rains frequently, but often only for a few minutes. If you have paid for a tour and get rained out during your tour, we will give you a free pass to come back. Because the cats are spooked by umbrellas, they are not allowed but you should bring a rain coat or poncho if it looks like rain. Tours will be canceled during lightening storms. Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended.
You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.
You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or purchase a private tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phone calls and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.
If you are traveling with pets, you cannot bring them onto the property. Florida law (and common sense) prohibit you from leaving them in your car, even with the A/C running.