Dr Justin, Jamie and Gale Putting an ecollar on Santino Serval at Big Cat Rescue to keep him from licking at the injection site on his back where he was treated for liver inflammation. Today at Big Cat Rescue Jan 28 2013
Santino Serval has been on Marin for the past year and eagerly takes his meds in meat each night, so when he didn’t want to get up for Angie last night, she called Gale, who called Dr Wynn, resulting in a request to bring him in to Ehrlich Animal Hospital. Gale easily netted him as he felt to bad to put up a fight and she and Chris scooted him into the squeeze cage.
Upon arrival, Santino was sedated by Dr Danielson so that all would be ready to roll as Dr Wynn arrived. Heather Wade drew blood, did X-rays and helped with the sonogram. The liver and one kidney were enlarged so he is being treated with antibiotics until his pathology slide results come in, which probably won’t be until Wednesday. During the sonogram Dr Wynn found fluid filled cysts in the liver and was able to aspirate some of the fluid for testing.
He had a temperature of 103 so it looks like his body is trying to fight this, which is a good indicator that it won’t be cancer. That is what we are hoping, anyway.
Gerrard Larriett Announces Partnership with Charles the Monarch
to Raise Funds for Big Cat Rescue
New York, NY (January 24, 2013), Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care announces their partnership with Charles the Monarch to raise funds for Big Cat Rescue. The partnership aims to raise $10,000 for Big Cat Rescue by donating 10% of the proceeds from the sale of Gerrard Larriett products. In addition, customers will receive 25% off of the purchase of Gerrard Larriett grooming products from their website www.gerrardlarriett.com with promo code “Charles.”
“We were very excited to be partnering together with our wonderful friends at Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care, Charles Painter and the now world renown Charles the Monarch,” said Jeff Kremer, Big Cat Rescue’s Director of Donor Appreciation. “The sanctuary envisions a world where the animals we share it with are treated with compassion and respect and it is only by working “hand in hand” with like-minded friends that Big Cat Rescue is able to continue to make a positive difference in both the animal as well as human world we share”.
Charles the Monarch is the now world-famous dog, whose owner Charles Painter had him groomed to resemble the Old Dominion University mascot, a lion. The Labrador-poodle mix recently made headlines when several people in his home town of Norfolk, Virginia mistook him for an actual lion resulting in numerous 911 calls.
Big Cat Rescue is the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. Many of these cats are endangered and would stand no chance in the wild. Currently Big Cat rescue is caring for over 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species that have been abandoned, abused, orphaned or saved from poachers. Since 1992, Big Cat Rescue has been the lifeline for these at risk cats and now Gerrard Larriett and Charles the Monarch have stepped up to strengthen that lifeline.
Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care is an in home spa experience for pets that therapeutically tackles the odors that come along with pet ownership. The line includes pet shampoo and pet conditioner, pet freshening and shining spray and handmade deodorizing soy candles for the home. The scents have been personally chosen and each grooming product is designed to be adored by even the most demanding cat, dog or pet parent. Larriett explains, “The collection is presented as an array of top quality fragrances that span pet shampoo & conditioner, pet freshening and shining spray and handmade deodorizing soy candles for the home. Now your pet and you can share a soothing aromatherapy experience with each bath, touch-up spray or candle burn.”
For further press information or images please contact Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care
Today at Big Cat Rescue Jan 25 2013
GUYANA GOVERNMENT AND PANTHERA SIGN HISTORIC JAGUAR CONSERVATION AGREEMENT
MOU with Panthera Launches Guyana’s First Jaguar Conservation Framework
New York, NY – The jaguars of Guyana gained significant ground yesterday with the establishment of the country’s first official jaguar-focused agreement by the government of Guyana and wild cat conservation organization, Panthera.
Gathering in Georgetown, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Honorable Robert M. Persaud, presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Joslyn McKenzie, and Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. Serving as Panthera’s fifth jaguar conservation agreement with a Latin American government, this MOU marks an official commitment by both parties to collaboratively undertake research and conservation initiatives that ensure the protection of Guyana’s national animal, jaguar conservation education among its people, and mitigation of human-jaguar conflicts in the country.
Launching this agreement provides a framework through which Panthera, in partnership with Guyana’s Protected Areas and National Parks Commissions, can strengthen the effectiveness of the country’s Protected Areas System for wildlife, and outline the most effective initiatives to conserve the nation’s jaguars. Several initial activities to be undertaken through the agreement include mapping of the presence and distribution of jaguars across Guyana, and implementing a human-jaguar conflict response team that helps ranchers in livestock husbandry techniques and assesses conflict hotspots to better focus mitigation efforts and reduce conflict.
At the ceremony, the Honorable Robert M. Persaud stated, “We are proud of our new partnership with Panthera to secure the continuity of our sustainable development efforts while conserving our national symbol, the jaguar.”
Panthera’s CEO and jaguar expert, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, continued, “Historically, Guyana has achieved incredible success in sustainably balancing the country’s economic development, natural resource management, the livelihoods of its people, and the preservation of its unique wildlife and wild places. The signing of this jaguar conservation agreement demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to its legacy of conservation alongside economic progress and diversification.”
Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, with Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Honorable Robert M. Persaud, the day of the signing of an historic jaguar conservation agreement between Panthera and the government of Guyana – Jan 2013
Unlike most other Latin American and developing nations rich in natural resources, Guyana has maintained an exemplary model of habitat preservation, assisted by sparse human populations in the southern half of the country and a strong ethic for sustainable development, aided by important regulatory frameworks. In recent years, Guyana has implemented a Low Carbon Development Strategy to protect its 16 million hectares of rainforests and adhere to the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD). Additionally, in 2011, Guyana committed to the establishment of the national Protected Areas Act, providing a framework for the management of the country’s preserved landscapes, including those within the Jaguar Corridor.
Such dedication to environmental conservation, along with its unique placement rooted between Venezuela to the north, Brazil to the west and south, and Suriname to the east, has established Guyana’s pristine forest and savanna landscape system as a critical connecting block for jaguar populations in northern South America, and through the Jaguar Corridor. Conceptualized by Dr. Rabinowitz, the Jaguar Corridor Initiative is the backbone of Panthera’s Jaguar Program, which seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations ranging from Mexico to Argentina to ensure the species’ genetic diversity and survival.
Today, Guyana represents one of 18 Latin American countries that is home to the jaguar, and one of 13 countries in which Panthera is conducting jaguar conservation science. In fact, the signing of this MOU comes at the heels of a ten-day exploratory expedition of Guyana’s Rewa River by Panthera’s jaguar scientists, including Vice President and legendary biologist Dr. George Schaller, Northern South America Jaguar Program Regional Director Dr. Esteban Payan, and grantee, Dr. Evi Paemelaere. Along with assessing the state of biodiversity and threats facing this watershed, Panthera’s team made a milestone sighting of the notoriously elusive ‘forest jaguar’ during the trip, indicating the potentially healthy condition of the riparian forests bordering the Rewa River.
“Being able to have a forest jaguar sighting in 10 days in the river is a testament to the good health of this forest. Sometimes years pass without seeing a jaguar in a perfectly sound forest environment,” commented Dr. Payan.
Since 2011, Dr. Paemelaere has led Panthera’s jaguar conservation initiatives in southern Guyana, concentrating on the Karanambu and Dadanawa Ranches of the Rupununi savannas. Traversed by the Rupununi River, these savannas serve as an extraordinary hotspot of biological diversity and an essential element of the Jaguar Corridor, potentially connecting Guyana’s jaguars with those of the Amazons.
A male jaguar on Karanambu Ranch in Guyana’s Rupununi savanna. This jaguar was observed swimming across the Rupununi River on multiple occasions. 2011.
Panthera’s partnership with theKaranambu Trust and Lodge – a former cattle ranch emblematic of historic Guyana turned eco-tourism operation – established the country’s first jaguar monitoring site and first mammal-focused biodiversity survey in the country. Often working on horseback, Panthera’s jaguar scientists conducted surveys on both Karanambu and Dadanawa ranches using camera traps and interviews to determine jaguar density, and assess the extent of human-jaguar conflict and unique threats facing the species.
“A jaguar density of three to four individuals per 100 km2 for the Rupununi savannas means these habitats are as important as rainforests for the conservation of the jaguar,” said Dr. Payan. In partnership with the Karanambu Trust and WWF Guyana, Panthera has also contributed to capacity-building with local Amerindian communities.
In 2013, Panthera is working to assess the state and presence of jaguars inside a logging concession between the Iwokrama Reserve and Central Suriname Nature Reserve, also embedded in the Jaguar Corridor.
What is a “typical” day at Big Cat Rescue like in 2013?
1. How many people work on an average day?
The Full Time staff work 5 day weeks and volunteer on their days off to keep up their privileges to work with the cats. Our volunteer program requires a minimum of 4 hrs per week for Red, 6 hours per week for Yellow and 8 hours per week for Green. Only Green can take care of the lions, tigers and leopards. All of our staff currently keep up Green level hours in addition to paid hours because they want to be able to work with the lions, tigers and leopards. All animal care work is volunteer work.
So, what that means is that on M,T,W & F there are usually 10 staff and 5-10 volunteers and interns. On Thursday there are a lot more because we are closed to the public and volunteers really want to work with cats; not people, so more come in. On weekends there are usually 10 staff and 20-40 volunteers each day because more people are off on weekends to help out. This past weekend Fullsail college sent 80 volunteers out to help us, so we have a lot of those kinds of corporate volunteer groups on week ends as well.
Yes. We are only closed on Thursdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving, but our workers are here everyday.
4. What is your busiest time?
Oct – May for visitors, the rest of the work is steady
5. What is a typical day like?
Every day the volunteers show up at 7:30 am to start cleaning cages, scrubbing water bowls and scrubbing feeding blocks. They break at noon for lunch and then have about an hour to do projects: like building a boma for a cat to hide in, hand out enrichment, landscaping projects, winterizing or summerizing dens with hay, or removing it, digging ditches, hauling dirt into cages to build up areas so that the cats aren’t standing on wire, or laying in the mud.
2pm M,T,W,F they begin moving to the Gift Shop area to check in guests for tours and then give tours until about 4:30 when they start getting the cats dinners ready for them and then handing out the food and leading Feeding Tours.
On weekends the days start at the same time, but there are tours at 9am, 10am, 1pm and then Keeper Tour at 2pm and the Feeding Tour at 4:30 pm. There is a night tour at dark on the last Friday of each month.
We have so many more volunteers on week ends than on week days that a lot more projects get done, like building ramps and tree houses for the cats, painting cages, bigger maintenance projects, mowing, revamping or building a cage, etc. Those things are all going on simultaneously with the tours. Visitors on week ends really get a sense of visiting a real sanctuary in action.
Our Education Department does outreach programs to schools (no good place takes wild animals to schools, so please don’t even ask), and they have bus loads of 60-80 kids showing up for tours at random times. We also do a lot of outreach to Rotary groups, civic groups and have group tours for disabled veterans, mentally handicapped and other groups. We do about 70-100 of these each year and usually do 12-20 such tours for free.
What makes every day different is that we have 80+ volunteers who have to keep up a minimum of 4 hrs per week, so there is always a different mix of people, although Green level people are obviously here more since they are putting in 8 hrs per week and many put in far more hrs per week.
The stuff that happens randomly, that can really throw a wrench into planning are:
The meat truck shows up with 7,000 lbs of frozen meat to offload
The wire truck shows up with thousands of pounds of wire caging material to offload with the tractors
A cat has to be caught and examined for some minor thing, like a stick stuck across the roof of their mouth
A cat has to be rushed to the vet (all but 4 of our cats are already older than these cats usually live (10-12), so we have a lot of that as these cats are into their late teens and early twenties) We have to start about an hour before feeding each night, just to hand out all of the meds for the geriatric cats so that they don’t suffer from achy joints or other age related ailments.
A tree falls on a cage, on the road into the sanctuary, on the tour path, on the fence
The neighbors start shooting at their farm animals and stray bullets come through the fence so the police are called. This actually happened several times. There is an illegal horse slaughter place next door that has been in the news recently and another neighbor has twin teenage boys who used to shoot paint balls at our cats, so we put up a solid wall, but now they shoot real bullets through it.
Someone passes out on a tour
The cats have to be vaccinated, or dewormed, or treated for fleas
A water moccasin gets into a tiger pool and we have to fish it out without anyone getting bitten
The bug guy comes to spray and bait for mosquitos and rats. We had a year long battle with Crazy Ants and finally won, but that was like the battle of our lives here as they were coming from the pig farm next door.
There are cats in our on site Cat Hospital that have to be given intensive care after having gone to the vet
We have native bobcats in rehab that require special care
Stuff breaks down, toilets back up, things get messy and need over hauling, from our tool shed to our records.
The cameras go out
The Point of Sale breaks down in the middle of a busy tour sign in process
A delivery of 20 cases of Tee shirts arrive right when guests arrive
A bobcat gets hit by a car and we are called out to find and rescue them
Someone calls us trying to unload a tiger, cougar, hybrid cat, or some other wild animal they got as a pet. We can only rescue 5 or 6 cats a year.
We investigate exotic cat abuse, like a nearby place that charges people to swim with a tiger cub and then force the cub to stay in water over his head by holding his tail. Or people using cubs in pay to pet schemes at flea markets, or a local dealer who takes adult tigers to bars in circus wagons. We use the evidence we gather to expose the plight of big cats in captivity and to urge people to help us get better laws passed to protect the cats.
Someone calls with a question about how to care for an injured bobcat, or from overseas about some other wild cat they have found
A serval escapes somewhere and the media calls us for quotes and footage of servals running
We have anywhere from 3-17 interns living on property for three months at a time. More in the summer when school is out. These are the Blue shirts and they work 6 days a week, daylight to dark, but are mostly 18-25 year olds and come with their own drama issues since it is the first time that many have been away from home, or have had to work. We have a code of honor that helps us deal with interpersonal issues for all of us, but it is challenging at times. http://bigcatrescue.org/code-of-honor/ We try to make sure they always have some fun stuff to do while here, like taking them all to see the manatees, or take them to another accredited sanctuary for the day, or movie night, etc.
Other things that our people do together:
We have quarterly Volunteer Appreciation meetings where we applaud those who have graduated to higher colors and permissions, monthly SAVE award winners for outstanding performance, monthly STARS awards for putting in more hours than required for their level, and annual awards that are voted on by the volunteers. These quarterly meetings usually include a movie themed event (next month I’m showing a video of the cats back 15 years ago when they were kittens), a Volunteer Challenge event with competitive games, a Halloween Costume party and a Holiday party.
In addition to those quarterly meetings we do monthly get togethers, like everyone goes skating or to a bouncy house, or trips to other sanctuaries to help out, or pot luck dinners.
We have the best trained staff and volunteers in the business and are frequently called upon to help other sanctuaries duplicate our training and animal care management systems. This means that our Teachers are giving classes every day as people are graduating through our program. These training classes include orientation, animal emergency, cleaning, events, first aid, tours, enrichment, feeding and they all have to memorize where all 100+ cats live on a map.
On Wednesday nights our Enrichment Committee meets and there will be anywhere from 10-25 people making treats and toys for the cats; which are handed out throughout the week.
Our vets have been great about offering training to anyone who happens to be here on the day of their visit. They may learn about checking fecal samples, or do a necropsy of a dead bobcat we have retrieved from the side of the road, or one of our own cats who had died. We try to include our volunteers and interns whenever we safely can in our medical procedures. If you view our surgery videos you will often see non staff members helping: http://www.youtube.com/user/BigCatRescue/videos?query=surgery
We have had success in the past in changing FL laws so that people can’t have mountain lions as pets (2007), people who do have big cats have to post a 10k bond (2009) and ending the practice of fox penning. Believe it or not, it was legal in FL to put bobcats, foxes and coyotes in pens and turn dogs loose on them to maul them to death. We put an end to that just a year or so ago by filling the room with animal lovers instead of hunters for the first time ever.
I go to DC and our state capitol a couple times a year and sometimes one or two people go with me and we were the Diamond Sponsor of the Taking Action for Animals conference in DC this past year where a 1,000+ animal lovers come together for 4 days of learning about the issues and then lobbying on the hill.
6. What is something most people don’t know about your sanctuary?
Most people don’t know what a huge difference there is between an accredited sanctuary and the thousands of places that call themselves sanctuaries while they are breeding, buying, selling and exploiting wild animals in ways that cause people to buy them as pets.
There are only a handful of legitimate sanctuaries and they are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Accreditation is free, so all you have to do is NOT be part of the problem and provide decent animal care, and allow inspections of your facilities by the federation. State and federal inspectors are stretched far too thin and often don’t care about animal exploitation, so they can’t possibly separate the good from the bad, but GFAS does.
9. On average, what how many vistors you get a year?
28,000 on site visitors a year. See http://bigcatrescue.org/about/finances/ for details Our website gets 1.5 million new visitors per year and with our recent partnership with Revision3, which is owned by Discovery Channel, our BigCatTV.com channel has been getting more than 1 million views per month.