USDA Cub Handling Third Comment Period

USDA Cub Handling Third Comment Period

USDA Reopening Comment Period

on Legal Petition Submitted by Big Cat Rescue and Coalition

to Prohibit the Public Contact with Big Cats and Cubs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it is reopening the comment period on a legal petition submitted by Big Cat Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of organizations (HSUS, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) to completely prohibit exhibition facilities from allowing members of the public to come into direct contact with dangerous wild animals.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/bulletins/1512904

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-14976.pdf

Big Cat Rescue and the coalition applaud USDA for taking this action to solicit information that would support a regulation prohibiting these inhumane and unsafe interactive experiences with big cats, bears and nonhuman primates. “We are very pleased that USDA is requesting further input from the public and see it as a positive sign that USDA is considering taking the action requested in our petition”, said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue.

The action follows a determination by USDA in April 2016 that public contact with infant exotic cats violates the Animal Welfare Act, making clear that it is illegal for cubs to be immediately pulled from their mothers after birth to be hand-reared and bottle-fed by members of the public before their immune systems have even developed.

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2016/04/usda-tiger-cub-abuse-roadside-zoos-040416.html?credit=web_id93480558]

Comprehensive action to eliminate this dangerous practice is essential – for example, Dade City’s Wild Things in Dade City, Florida is currently under USDA investigation for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including stress on infant and young tiger cubs handled and forced to swim with the public.

In addition, PETA yesterday filed an intent to sue Dade City’s Wild Things under the Endangered Species Act. PETA contends that prematurely separating infant tigers from their mothers, forcing them to interact with members of the public, and confining them to nearly barren concrete pens all constitute unlawful “takes,” defined by the Endangered Species Act as harming, harassing, and/or wounding an animal. http://www.peta.org/blog/nightmarish-tiger-sweatshop-gets-notice-petas-intent-sue/

Here is the email we got from USDA today:

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is considering whether to revise the Animal Welfare Act regulations governing the handling of (and public contact with) dangerous animals.

In 2012, a coalition of animal advocacy organizations petitioned APHIS to ban all public contact with dangerous animals exhibited under the Animal Welfare Act. The agency published the petition and received more than 15,000 comments. APHIS is now reopening the comment period until August 31, 2016, as it seeks the public’s input on additional questions that will help the agency better determine its course of action.

The questions are included in a notice, which is available for public inspection on the Federal Register page at: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.

Interested stakeholders can view the questions and submit comments beginning at:  http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0107

APHIS will host three listening sessions, using these additional questions, in an effort to gather targeted public feedback. The schedule for these sessions and participant information is as follows:

Wednesday, June 29; 1-3 p.m. (EDT); please register here

Wednesday, July 6; 1-3 p.m. (EDT); please register here

Thursday August 4; 1-3 p.m. (EDT); please register here

YOUR Voice Matters

All you have to say is your name and that you are opposed to public contact with exotic cats of any age.  That’s it.

You may register for multiple listening sessions, but you must register for each one separately. After registering, you will receive an email containing the call-in number, access code and an identification code specific to each participant. Please do not share your identification code with anyone because this will impede your ability to connect to the listening session.

During the listening sessions, an operator will provide instructions for those participants who wish to speak. We ask that each speaker please limit their comments to three minutes or less. Thank you.

If you have any problems registering (or connecting), please email Dave Sacks at david.sacks@aphis.usda.gov.

We have created a webpage to serve as our information hub regarding the feedback we are soliciting on handling dangerous animals. The site, located , features the eight questions APHIS is asking as well as instructions on registering for the listening sessions. The site will subsequently feature audio recordings and written transcripts of the listening sessions.

Thank you for your interest in animal welfare and your willingness to participate in this process. APHIS will use the public comments it receives as it considers possible actions to protect animals from any potential harm that can result from being handled by humans. Please feel free to share this stakeholder message with anyone you think would be interested in participating.

At USDA Animal Care, ensuring the welfare of the animals we regulate is at the heart of everything we do.

CITES CoP17 PreInfo

CITES CoP17 PreInfo

I get a notice, once a day, of all the stuff that’s going on with the Federal Register.  Today I was looking for some good news, that I don’t see posted yet, but more on that later.

Buried in pages and pages about everything you can imagine was a pretty good synopsis of what you have to do if you care about protecting endangered species.  Since only a minute number of animal advocates will ever see this, I figured I’d post part of it here, for those searching the Internet for a way to understand how CITES works and what they can do.  Warning, it isn’t easy reading, since it’s created by the government.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018; 96300-1671-0000-R4]


Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); 
Seventeenth Regular Meeting; Provisional Agenda; Announcement of Public 
Meeting

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States, as a Party to the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 
(CITES), will attend the seventeenth regular meeting of the Conference 
of the Parties to CITES

[[Page 40901]]

(CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24 to October 5, 2016. 
Currently, the United States is developing its negotiating positions on 
proposed resolutions, decisions, and amendments to the CITES Appendices 
(species proposals), as well as other agenda items that have been 
submitted by other Parties, the permanent CITES committees, and the 
CITES Secretariat for consideration at CoP17. With this notice we 
announce the provisional agenda for CoP17, solicit your comments on the 
items on the provisional agenda, and announce a public meeting to 
discuss the items on the provisional agenda.

DATES: 
    Public meeting: The public meeting will be held on July 19, 2016, 
at 1:00 p.m.
    Comment submission: In developing the U.S. negotiating positions on 
species proposals and proposed resolutions, decisions, and other agenda 
items submitted by other Parties, the permanent CITES committees, and 
the CITES Secretariat for consideration at CoP17, we will consider 
written information and comments you submit if we receive them by 
August 8, 2016.

ADDRESSES: 

Public Meeting

    The public meeting will be held in the South Interior Building 
Auditorium at 1951 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. Directions 
to the building can be obtained by contacting the Division of 
Management Authority (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). For more 
information about the meeting, see ``Announcement of Public Meeting'' 
under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

Comment Submission

    You may submit comments pertaining to items on the provisional 
agenda for discussion at CoP17 by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-HQ-
IA-2014-0018 (the docket number for this notice).
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-HQ-IA-2014-0018; Division of Policy, Performance, and 
Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg 
Pike, MS BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041.
    We will not consider comments sent by email or fax or to an address 
not listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire comment, including any personal 
identifying information, will be posted on the Web site. If you submit 
a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you 
may request at the top of your document that we withhold this 
information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov. Comments and materials we receive, as well as 
supporting documentation, will be available for public inspection on 
http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, between 8 a.m. and 4 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, at: U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service Headquarters, Division of Management Authority, 5275 
Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; telephone 703-358-2095.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information pertaining to 
resolutions, decisions, and other agenda items, contact: Craig Hoover, 
Chief, Division of Management Authority; telephone 703-358-2095; 
facsimile 703-358-2298. For information pertaining to species 
proposals, contact: Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, Division of Scientific 
Authority; telephone 703-358-1708; fascsimile 703-358-2276.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild 
Fauna and Flora, hereinafter referred to as CITES or the Convention, is 
an international treaty designed to control and regulate international 
trade in certain animal and plant species that are now or potentially 
may become threatened with extinction. These species are listed in 
Appendices to CITES, which are available on the CITES Secretariat's Web 
site at http://www.cites.org/eng/app/index.php.
    Currently 181 countries and the European Union have ratified, 
accepted, approved, or acceded to CITES; these 182 entities are known 
as Parties. The Convention calls for regular biennial meetings of the 
Conference of the Parties, unless the Conference of the Parties decides 
otherwise. At these meetings, the Parties review the implementation of 
CITES, make provisions enabling the CITES Secretariat in Switzerland to 
carry out its functions, consider amendments to the lists of species in 
Appendices I and II, consider reports presented by the Secretariat and 
the permanent CITES committees (Standing, Animals, and Plants 
Committees), and make recommendations for the improved effectiveness of 
CITES. Any country that is a Party to CITES may propose amendments to 
Appendices I and II, resolutions, decisions, and other agenda items for 
consideration by all of the Parties at the meetings.
    This is our fifth in a series of Federal Register notices that, 
together with the announced public meeting, provide you with an 
opportunity to participate in the development of U.S. negotiating 
positions for the seventeenth regular meeting of the Conference of the 
Parties to CITES (CoP17). We published our first CoP17-related Federal 
Register notice on June 27, 2014 (79 FR 36550), in which we requested 
information and recommendations on species proposals for the United 
States to consider submitting for consideration at CoP17. In that 
notice, we also described the U.S. approach to preparations for CoP17. 
We published our second such Federal Register notice on May 11, 2015 
(80 FR 26948), in which we requested information and recommendations on 
proposed resolutions, decisions, and other agenda items for the United 
States to consider submitting for consideration at CoP17, and provided 
preliminary information on how to request approved observer status for 
non-governmental organizations that wish to attend the meeting. In our 
third CoP17-related Federal Register notice, published on August 26, 
2015 (80 FR 51830), we requested public comments and information on 
species proposals that the United States is considering submitting for 
consideration at CoP17; and in our fourth such notice, published on 
December 4, 2015 (80 FR 75873), we requested public comments and 
information on proposed resolutions, decisions, and other agenda items 
that the United States was considering submitting for consideration at 
CoP17, and provided more information on how to request approved 
observer status for non-governmental organizations that wish to attend 
the meeting. A link to the complete list of those Federal Register 
notices, along with information on U.S. preparations for CoP17, can be 
found at http://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17. You may obtain 
additional information on those Federal Register notices from the 
following sources: For information on proposed resolutions, decisions, 
and other agenda items, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Division of Management Authority, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS-IA, Falls 
Church, VA 22041; and for information on species proposals, contact the 
Division of Scientific Authority, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS-IA, Falls 
Church, VA 22041. Our

[[Page 40902]]

regulations governing this public process are found in 50 CFR 23.87.
    On April 26 and 27, 2016, the United States submitted to the CITES 
Secretariat, for consideration at CoP17, its species proposals, 
proposed resolutions, proposed decisions, and other agenda items. These 
documents are available on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17.

Announcement of Provisional Agenda for CoP17

    The provisional agenda for CoP17 is currently available on the 
CITES Secretariat's Web site at http://www.cites.org/eng/cop/17/doc/index.php. The working documents associated with the items on the 
provisional agenda, including proposed resolutions, proposed decisions, 
and discussion documents, are also available on the Secretariat's Web 
site. To view the working document associated with a particular agenda 
item, access the provisional agenda at the above Web site, locate the 
particular agenda item, and click on the document link for that agenda 
item in the column entitled ``Document.'' Finally, the species 
proposals that will be considered at CoP17 are available on the 
Secretariat's Web site. Proposals for amendment of Appendices I and II 
can be accessed at the web address given above. We look forward to 
receiving your comments on the items on the provisional agenda.

Announcement of Public Meeting

    We will hold a public meeting to discuss the items on the 
provisional agenda for CoP17. The public meeting will be held on the 
date specified in the DATES section and at the address specified in the 
ADDRESSES section. You can obtain directions to the building by 
contacting the Division of Management Authority (see the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section above). Please note that the South Interior 
Building Auditorium is accessible to the handicapped and all persons 
planning to attend the meeting will be required to present photo 
identification when entering the building. Persons who plan to attend 
the meeting and who require interpretation for the hearing impaired 
must notify the Division of Management Authority by July 5, 2016. For 
those who cannot attend the public meeting but are interested in 
watching via live stream please go to our Web site http://www.fws.gov/international/cites/cop17/index.html, and look for the link to the live 
feed.

Future Actions

    Through an additional notice and Web site posting in advance of 
CoP17, we will inform you about tentative U.S. negotiating positions on 
species proposals, proposed resolutions, proposed decisions, and agenda 
items that were submitted by other Parties, the permanent CITES 
committees, and the CITES Secretariat for consideration at CoP17.

    Authority: The primary author of this notice is Clifton A. 
Horton, Division of Management Authority; under the authority of the 
U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.).

    Dated: June 9, 2016.
Stephen Guertin,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-14870 Filed 6-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

cams

cams

Big Cat Rescue is LIVE 24/7 on webcams

Our best quality webcams are provided by explore.org and are located at these links:

BigCatCam.com is the easy URL link to get you to our main page of webcams on explore.org’s site

Tiger Lake for tigers who can swim in the lake  http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-tiger-lake

Vacation Rotation  explore.org/bigcatrescue AKA http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

Feeding Station for lions and tigers http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-feeding-station

Nikita Lioness http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-lioness-nikita

Kitten Cabana (domestic foster kittens as BCR doesn’t condone breeding big cats for cages) http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-kitten-cabana

Bobcat Rehab (warning live prey hunting as these cats are being prepared for release back to the wild) http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

We have Nest Cams that are not as clear, but have sound, at these easy to remember links:

KittenCam1.com This is the video feed inside the Cool Cat Cave which is the building you can see from the Kitten Cabana cam.  Kittens go in here for air conditioning / heat.

KittenCam2.com This points to Nikita Lion’s feeding area.  It is also at https://video.nest.com/live/4dASyt

KittenCam3.com is currently pointing to Joseph Lion.  Note this is just one section of his 5 section enclosure.

Bobcat or Ocelot could be watching Little Feather Bobcat or PurrFection Ocelot.

LionSelfie.com is also pointing to Joseph Lion.  Note this is just a different angle on one section of his 5 section enclosure.

Recovery Room at West Boensch Hospital for cats who are in Intensive Care.

We have two UStream channels in use at times when there are cats recovering in the onsite hospital at:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bigcathospital

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bigcatrescue  This one iscurrently pointing to Joseph Lion.  Note this is just one section of his 5 section enclosure.

Every Wednesday night at around 6PM our wonderful volunteers come in and make enrichment for the cats.  Sometimes we do live events, where we will answer your questions, or let you make suggestions to them on what to make for the cats, but most of the time it is just a one way window.  We use Facebook for the two way interaction, when there is someone who can manage it.

https://video.nest.com/live/HKdQDE

Temporary Access to Other Webcams

Sometimes we turn on other webcams temporarily for people to enjoy.  If you go to these links and they aren’t playing it is because we have them turned off until we have something to show:

Food Prep https://video.nest.com/live/JH0Vdh

What do you want?

We will be adding more cameras and opportunities for live interaction.  Let us know in the comment below what you would like to see.

Lies

Lies

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” four years in a row as of 2014. 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.”

The Independent Charities of America has certified Big Cat Rescue as one of the Best in America Charities every year since 2008.

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:

  • Howard-Carole-Baskin-DC-2013-Capitol-stepsAdvocating 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 HERE and 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:

Howard-Carole-Baskin-DC-2013-Monument2007 http://bigcatrescue.org/carole-baskin-takes-on-big-cat-fight-with-exotic-pet-owners/

2007 http://bigcatrescue.org/response-to-bay-news-9-story/

2011 http://bigcatrescue.org/channel-10-repeats-big-cat-abusers-lies/ (based largely on lies of the exploiter we sued that year)

Some of the handful of attackers are people who run road side zoos like:

Joe Schreibvogel of GW Zoo in Oklahoma (the one we sued) – see TigerCubAbuse.com

Kathy Stearns of Dade City Wild Things in Tampa – see TigerCubAbuse2.com

A few others 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:

 

Juan Garcia Big Cat Rescue Watch Tim Stark Joe Exotic Schreibvogel karencatsz
Barbara Hoffmann TopCatsRoar Jeff Lowe Kathy Stearns Alejandra Gonzalez
“Doc Antle” of T.I.G.E.R.S REXANO Lynn Culver naturelover12012@gmail.com

and others, or other aliases.

 

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:

 

BreedingKills

BreedingKills

Breeding Tigers in the U.S. Kills Tigers in the Wild

Asking how that can be? Here is how.

The private ownership of tigers in the U.S. negatively impacts conservation in a number of ways:

Negative conservation  message. The primary driver of breeding tigers in the U.S. is the need for a constant supply of tiger cubs in order to charge the public to take photos with them, pet them and swim with them. The exhibitors falsely claim that this causes people to be more interested in conservation.  The opposite is true for two reasons.

1) Exhibitors argue that close contact with the animals creates awareness of conservation. Studies with primates have shown the opposite to be true. (Citations).

2) Exhibitors tell people that the tiger is inevitably going extinct in the wild so the only way to “conserve” them is to breed them in captivity.

First, “conservation” is preserving the balance of nature in the wild. Having tigers in a cage to gawk at is not conservation. The only time breeding in captivity has a positive conservation impact is when animals (1) are of pure genetic heritage, (2) are either inherently capable of surviving in the wild or can be taught to survive in the wild (like BCR’s rehab program for orphaned bobcat kittens we teach to hunt and then release) and (3) there is habitat into which the animals can be released. NONE of these criteria are met by the generic tigers that are used for cub petting and display.

Tiger on platform in cage

Second, as opposed to increasing interest in conservation in the wild, the statement that the tigers are going extinct in the wild so we need them in cages to preserve them does the opposite. What this argument “teaches” people in effect is that we don’t have to worry about tigers going extinct in the wild if we have them in cages. So it teaches people NOT to be concerned about preservation of tigers in the wild.

Impairing U.S. credibility in influencing other nations. There are estimated to be 5,000 to 10,000 tigers in private hands in the U.S. Those who have USDA licenses are supposed to keep a census showing acquisitions, dispositions and those they possess at a given time. But the exhibitors only need to keep records for a year and only keep them on hand for inspection. USDA does not collect this data and track it. There is no tracking of private owners of tigers who do not have a USDA license.

An organization called TRAFFIC commissioned a study a few years ago to determine if parts from U.S. tigers might be entering the illegal trade.  The study concluded that there was no way to know how many U.S. tigers end up in the trade for their parts because of the lack of tracking. For instance, two of the most notorious prolific breeders of tiger cubs, one in Wynnewood, OK and one in Myrtle Beach, SC each breed dozens of tigers each year for petting and there is no tracking of where these cubs end up.

There is an international treaty called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Without going into details, the nations meet every few years to report on progress, discuss issues and vote on recommendations. Again to keep it short, China and a few other nations want to change the CITES rules to allow them to breed tigers like we breed cattle or chickens on “tiger farms” and slaughter them to sell their parts and products made from their parts (called derivatives) like tiger bone wine. Those countries falsely argue that if they “supply the market” for these products from the farms then there will be no incentive to poach tigers from the wild. This is absolutely not true for two reasons. First, the wild tiger will always be considered the premium product, particularly when it comes to derivatives that are alleged to have aphrodisiac qualities. So expanding the market by making supply more readily available will create even more demand for the premium wild tiger product. Second, it is simply much cheaper to poach a tiger than to feed and house one for years until it is large enough to slaughter.

The U.S. fortunately opposes tiger farming and sale of tiger parts and derivative, as do many other nations.

So what does this have to do with breeding captive tigers in the U.S. for cub petting and having them end up in back yards and no one knows where?

Recently we were participants in a meeting of NGOs (non governmental organizations) from around the world that are involved in tiger conservation. They universally bemoaned the fact that while the U.S. was an ally in trying to resist efforts by some nations to farm tigers and legalize the sale of parts and derivatives, the U.S. credibility and effectiveness is severely impaired because the nations favoring the legal sale of tiger parts point to our widespread untracked captive population and ask how can the U.S. credibly ask those nations to stop captive breeding when we set such a bad example of rampant breeding in our country with no idea how many tigers here may be killed for their parts and end up in the international trade. The nations with tiger farms point out that at least they know where their tigers are.

Is there something YOU can do to stop tigers from being killed in the wild? YES!WhiteTigerCubsMom2012-05-13 at 6.46.56 PM

We can hugely increase the ability of the United States to influence the international community to prevent the tiger farming and sale of tiger parts and products that will increase the poaching of wild tigers. How? By passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act HR 3546 / S 2541. This law would end most of the private breeding and possession of big cats in this country. Passing this bill into law would show that the U.S. was ending the private breeding here and restore our credibility with the international community.

How can you help? It is easy and takes only a few minutes. Just visit BigCatAct.com and learn how to email or call your Representative and Senators and urge them to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

 

Breeding Tigers Kills Tigers #BreedingKills

Web Cam Cats

Web Cam Cats

Big Cat Rescue Cats Belong on Camera

With about 80 cats of 10 species, Big Cat Rescue always has something interesting going on and we want to share it with the world.  Our limitations have been the high cost of outdoor cameras and enough bandwidth to make it viable.  At the bottom of this page is a map and a video of potential camera locations.

Vacation Rotation Enclosure

The Vacation Rotation enclosure is 2.5 acres where we rotate different lions, tigers and cougars for two week vacations.  At the 18 second mark, if you can imagine being about 15 feet up in the air and looking down at the tiger, is where I would put a web cam so the pond and fountain are up front.  It happens to be the point closest to Internet, which is about 75 feet away.

 

Every two weeks the new cat or cats move in, so there is always a lot of activity that day and then typically a lot of exploring in the early morning and evening hours.  During the heat of the day, it will be cats snoozing, but I could watch that all day.

 

Max and Mary Ann

Max and Mary Ann are two young bobcats who were rescued from different situations, but were young enough to introduce.  Now their favorite spot to be is on top of one of their platforms within just inches of the side wall of the cage.  A camera on the side or above them would have a lot of action in about a 3 foot square space, as that is their favorite spot to groom, play and nap.

Warning, the music will stay in your head the rest of the day.

 

TJ Tiger Pond

TJ the tiger has a 2+ acre enclosure that goes down into our lake.  One of his favorite places to lay is on the lake bank and he loves to splash in the lake.  The camera could be place at the same vantage point from where this was filmed, as we were up on a cat walk above him.

 

Windsong Memorial Hospital

We have a Nest cam in the Windsong Memorial, directly over the operation table.

At the 40 second mark in this video you can see the inside of the hospital. At the 3:09 mark, you can see the ceiling where there is a cut out to the loft above.  This is where the camera has the best view of the surgery.

 

Feeding Time at Big Cat Rescue

One of the things people never get tired of seeing is the cats being fed.  The cats are all fed in small wire enclosures because we have to train them to come into a small space for vet exams and emergencies.  It’s not a very interesting spot, except around 9 am every day, but then it can be just amazing to see and hear a cat crunching through bones.  Probably the best place for a camera would be one of the 3 feeding areas attached to the Vacation Rotation area above because it would always have a different big cat and would be about 300 feet from the other VR camera.

 

Bobcat Rehab Area

You can find out more about our Bobcat Rehab area and see photos and videos of what we capture on CCTVs here: http://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-rehab/

In this video you can see the hospital room where cats go through rehab before being allowed outside.

 

Current Nest Cam

This is currently being used by Nirvana the Ocelot.

 

Logistics

This is an aerial shot of our property, outlined in green.  The red area is the Vacation Rotation area and Intern housing.  Intern housing is on the left 1/3 and the VR is the other 2/3’s of that space.  At the bottom right you can see the cell tower that is paying rent to be on our property, but has no dishes on it.  They have removed most of the supportive gear, generators, etc., so I don’t think they have plans for the site any time soon.  Nextel built it, but a new company pays us rent now.  I’ll find out who, if this helps get us better coverage.  We have Frontier FKA Verizon FIOS through our property at 10 spots (all buildings).

rp_AerialEasyStWest10acRed.jpg

Below is a video where I walked around today and shot the areas that I think would make for the best web cam experiences.

 

Web Cam Locations

Green is our boundary.  Red is the Vacation Rotation area.  If the site has an explore.org live cam, there will be a link.

1. Vacation Rotation 15 feet up w/ view of entire enclosure http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

2. Vacation Rotation feeding area http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-feeding-station

3.  TJ Tiger lake bank http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-tiger-lake

4.  Max and Mary Ann the Bobcats on their platform

5.  Rehab (actually further to the right in a 3 ac parcel adjacent http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

6.  Kitten Cabana for domestic kittens that are always between 6-8 weeks of age http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-kitten-cabana

7.  Vacation Rotation for small cats that is under construction

8.  Nakita Lioness from 15 feet up in the corner of the open area http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-lioness-nikita

9.  Cat Hospitals (one for surgeries, the other for rehab) http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-windsong-memorial-cat-hospital and X-ray http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-x-ray-cam

10.  Alternate feeding station that looks into the cypress bayou for TJ tiger