Cheetah Jaguar

Cheetah Jaguar

Why Big Cat Rescue Doesn’t Have Cheetah or Jaguars

The reason Big Cat Rescue doesn’t have cheetah is they are so inbred that they are virtually identical and don’t live very long, so they don’t end up in need of rescue. They are nearly impossible to breed in captivity so most zoos have to take them from the wild or they buy them from breeders who are not open to the public.

They don’t breed well in zoos because females are very fussy about picking a male, so the breeding farms put a female in a pen and then one by one try her with different males by using a tunnel system, like ours, but much much larger (measured in acres). They have to be in huge pens or they stress and die.  In the wild they patrol home territories of more than 800 square miles so no cage is really going to be suitable.  Any time you introduce adult cats you have a very real threat of them killing each other.

Their severe inbreeding is the result of all cheetah, not just the captive ones, making them all almost identical.

The current theory is that they became inbred when a “natural” disaster dropped their total world population down to less than seven individual cheetahs. They went through a “Genetic Bottleneck”, and their genetic diversity plummeted. They survived only through brother-to-sister or parent-to-child mating.  According to the enzymes, humans rate at about 70% identical. But laboratory rats and cheetahs rate at 97% identical.  Scientist think less than seven individuals, because it has been shown that if a population is reduced to seven individuals and then expands quickly, the offspring still retain about 95% of their genetic variability. But cheetahs have almost zero genetic variability – there’s hardly any difference between them.

If a species does not have much genetic diversity, it will not be able to adapt well to changes in their environment – such a climate change, or new bacteria or viruses. But if they do have a lot of genetic difference from one individual to the next, at least a few of them will be able to survive the changing times.

Because cheetah cost over $50,000 and mostly have to be brought in from the wild, which is a red tape process that takes nearly a year, and then they die young, they almost never end up being dumped into the pet trade. If someone says they have rescued a cheetah, demand to see the paperwork, because that almost never happens without a lot of money changing hands.  While much of the paperwork is marked as a “Donation” you can bet money changes hands when cheetah do.

jaguar on log by water

I haven’t found evidence to support my theories about why jaguar are so rare in captivity. Maybe you can help in the comments. Here’s my best guess:

Jaguar can have four cubs in a litter, but two is more common, so they don’t reproduce nearly as fast as lions and tigers. Jaguar have the superior intelligence of leopards but have far more powerful bites and much more bobcat like personality, so they kill people more often than leopards in captivity do.

Even a jaguar who is too old for breeding will fetch $7500.00 or more in the private sector, because it is so rare that jaguars are dumped from zoos into private hands.  We know that two old circus jaguars were sold to a private collector in Florida for at least that much because we had offered to take them when the circus lost its license.  The end buyer called us to say the circus told her we were bidding 7500. each and she wanted to work out a deal with us where we were not bidding against her.  The circus had lied to her, because we don’t buy animals to rescue them (since the 90s) and we had not offered any money for the cats.  That call from the end buyer did give us a glimpse into how much they are traded for though and the fact that some places claim to rescue rare cats, but are really just buying them.

We know from our work in situ with native tribes that zoos pay people to poach cheetah, jaguars and other rare cats from the wild. The zoo’s PR story will always be that it was a “nuisance” animal that was going to be culled so they rescued it, but that’s almost never the truth when it comes to any exotic cat species.

Local people agree to back up the lie, because that’s how they keep the constant flow of money coming in for their poaching, but if you work amongst them long enough, they will tell you that they are being paid to go find animals for zoo displays. Because the import process takes a long time to get past USFWS rules, the animals languish in tiny, barren cages, and often die and have to be replaced before the day of flight to the U.S.  The only way for them to obtain the valuable cubs is usually to kill their mothers.

Wild cats belong in the wild, so please don’t pay to go see them in cages.  Help us end the private possession of big cats at BigCatAct.com

Cub Petting Shame

Cub Petting Shame

Cub Petting Shame

It wasn’t long ago (2013 or so) that paying to play with cute little tiger cubs, lion cubs or even liger cubs, was considered something people wanted to do and brag about, but now people know better…at least many people know better.  If you have been sent to this page, after sharing your photo of you and a cub, or talking about how you want to pet a big cat, then you should thank the person who had the guts to send you here.  They obviously care about you and don’t want you to make a fool of yourself by perpetuating the abuse that always goes hand in paw with posing with wild cats.

Ever Wonder Why Celebrities Pet Cubs?

People who love animals just shake their heads when they see that another hapless celebrity has fallen for the temptation to show off by posing with tiger cubs, lion cubs or other baby wild animals.  Even celebrities who know better, will often fall for it, when the breeders and dealers try to use their celebrity status to promote animal abuse.  That may tell you something about most celebrities, but you can’t blame them entirely.  The people who profit off the abuse of baby animals know how to manipulate the public and know that celebrities are often the weak link that make it possible.  They have studied Edward Bernays’ methods.  Watch the video below and then check out the celebrities who apparently fell for such manipulation beneath the video.

The only way to undo the damage that celebrities cause, when they fall victim to the animal abusers ploys, is to try and educate them about what they have done, and ask them to take a stand against the abuse.  Failing that, the last resort is a public spanking.

Where do celebrities go to pet cubs?  There are a few backyard breeders in the U.S. but the place that attracts the most, and ignorant celebrities is Black Jaguar White Tiger in Mexico.   The best article so far to debunk BJWT as a sanctuary is at the link below and says, in part, “BJWT may appear to many to be a sanctuary, but its apparent methods of utilizing its animals for donation mongering and notoriety all but nullify its status as anything other than a playground for the rich, famous and ignorant.”  http://www.jacalynbeales.com/outofwilderness/2015/12/22/fooling-millions-with-false-conservation-the-black-jaguar-white-tiger-foundation

You know the public opposes cub breeding and handling when Gizmodo goes after the perpetrators of such cub petting schemes with a vengeance like this article.

Yahoo Celebrity News understands why it’s wrong: https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/celebs-favorite-animal-sanctuary-raises-serious-004456713.html

And bloggers speak out against using cub petting as a way to end cub petting. #BJWT

Spanking Celebrities for Bad Behavior

62 percent say cub petting is cruel or stupidLewis Hamilton found out the hard way that it isn’t cool to pose with cubs, especially from #BJWT as the poll confirms. The British Formula One driver was visiting the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation in Mexico earlier this week when he posted the photographs on his Snapchat account.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/11/lewis-hamilton-criticised-for-foolish-snapchat-tiger-selfies/

Justin Bieber  won’t be attractive to quality women any more, after being caught posing with a tiger on a leash in May 2016.  “Justin Bieber is lucky not to have had his throat torn out by this stressed, captive tiger,” Lisa Lange said. “Tigers used for photo ops are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth.”  Lange added that she believes the tiger was from Ontario’s Bowmansville Zoo — whose director was charged with five counts of animal cruelty earlier this month after video emerged of him appearing to repeatedly whip a different, young tiger.  He didn’t learn his lesson and went on to exploit more cubs so People Magazine called him out on it here: http://www.people.com/article/justin-bieber-alex-the-lion-peta

Floyd Mayweather posted a photo of a tiger, asking fans to name her, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook users are not happy!  Mayweather, the former boxing champion, has been accused of animal cruelty after posting a picture of the 2 month old tiger cub on a leash in Dec 2015.  People quickly responded to Mayweather with angry messages, while one person messaged the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, calling on him to do something about it after the tiger was taken from India. http://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/youre-gonna-hear-me-roar?utm_term=.pq0vV4JQp#.ucgkPX08J

http://time.com/4137867/floyd-mayweather-pet-tiger-cat-rescue/

and  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/floyd-mayweather-tiger-christmas-present-russia-twitter-a6760256.html

Beyonce tiger cubSearch “Beyonce tiger cub” and the first listing is a headline that reads:  Beyonce blasted by animal rights groups over photo of her petting a tiger cub with Jay Z and Blue Ivy in Thailand  Get the rest of the ugly story about how a celebrity showed her ignorance of ethics toward tigers in 2015 at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2899290/Beyonce-blasted-animal-rights-groups-photo-petting-tiger-cub-Jay-Z-Blue-Ivy-Thailand.html

Up next, this article starts out saying, Sorry, Beyoncé — Petting Tigers Is Not Cool https://www.thedodo.com/beyonce-tiger-thailand-tourism-916389560.html

And next, this article’s headline proclaims Here’s One Beyoncé and Jay Z Selfie You Shouldn’t ‘Like’ If You Love Wildlife     http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/01/07/should-beyonc%C3%A9-and-jay-z-have-taken-selfies-tiger-cub

Next headline Beyoncé tiger controversy: World Animal Protection charity disgusted as star uses endangered animal as plaything http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/beyonc-tiger-controversy-world-animal-4926997

And even when it looks like they are going to praise the celebrity, the sub headline reads Looks Like Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Got to Hang Out With a Tiger Cub…And animal rights advocates are not happy with the photo Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a wildlife expert for animal welfare charity World Animal Protection, argues, “A tiger is not a plaything,” so animals’ “health and well-being should not be sacrificed for a photo opportunity.” http://time.com/3656727/beyonce-and-blue-ivy-with-tiger/

Next in line in the google search is a headline that reads Beyonce and Jay Z slammed by animal rights group for tiger cub snap Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/06/beyonce-and-jay-z-slammed-by-animal-rights-group-for-tiger-cub-snap-5011353/#ixzz3gGdY5g3Y

Yahoo News got in on the criticism quoting “Celebrities should set a humane example, not an exploitative one, as their potential for influence is massive,” said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “Tigers can kill, whether wild or captive, and every unwitting child who chooses to pose with a tiger as a result of seeing celebrities do so is at risk. Imagine if Beyoncé and Jay Z decided to expose tigers to the world by supporting their conservation in the wild instead.”  http://news.yahoo.com/beyonc-jay-z-taken-selfies-tiger-cub-153534220.html

Naturally, Big Cat Rescue was one of the first to complain to the star with this open letter:  http://bigcatrescue.org/open-letter-to-beyonce/

It caused enough of an uproar to give Beyonce her own page at the Celebrity Dirty Laundry site.  http://www.celebdirtylaundry.com/2015/beyonce-criticized-wildlife-activists-for-petting-tiger-cub-thailand/

The star bashing headlines go on for pages and pages and are far too many to list here, but suffice it to say the public was outraged and the media went wild.  But was Beyonce the first (or the last) to forego common sense and pay someone to take her picture with a big cat or their cub?  No.

If you were to search “celebrity tiger cub abuse” the first name and article that comes up is Khloe Kardashian couldn’t be more clueless in the Instagram selfie she took posing with a tiger cub in 2015.  https://www.thedodo.com/khloe-kardashian-tiger-cub-1169547978.html

Khloe Kardashian Tiger Cub AbuseNext up for Khloe Kardashian is the headline Khloe Kardashian’s Tiger Cub Pic Causes Another Selfie Controversy

that goes on to say, “After getting slammed for posting a pic of her wearing a niqab face covering during her trip to Dubai, Khloe also came under fire on Thursday when she posted a selfie of her cuddling with a tiger cub.

Fans let Khloe know how they felt posting comments like this one, “I thought you were against it? All for a photo op?” another comments reads. “Disgusting… You should be ashamed!!!”  http://www.etonline.com/news/165253_khloe_kardashian_tiger_cub_selfie_causes_controversy/

Khloe Kardashian’s bad behavior didn’t escape the notice of the Daily Mail who announced Khloe Kardashian slammed by animal rights campaigners after she poses with tiger cub during Dubai trip Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3100115/Khloe-Kardashian-slammed-animal-rights-campaigners-poses-tiger-cub-Dubai-trip.html#ixzz3gGh2jNpq

There were so many news outlets blasting the starlet for her clueless behavior that Yahoo News took note, quoting “We’re disappointed to see yet another celebrity posing with a wild animal,” Silia Smith of World Animal Protection told Daily Mail. “Tiger cubs belong in the wild, with their mothers – not in captivity for use as entertainment or photo props.” https://www.yahoo.com/tv/s/khloe-kardashians-tiger-cub-pic-161300096.html

The Huffington Post was right there too with this headline: The Ugly Truth Behind Khloe Kardashian’s Tiger Cub Selfie http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/28/the-ugly-truth-behind-khl_n_7460810.html

Then again, maybe it is a sign of her need for attention that she did it again.   Wildlife expert Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach said: “Their health and well-being should not be sacrificed for a photo opportunity. When you look behind the scenes, holiday snaps like these support an industry that relies on animal cruelty.  http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/khloe-kardashian-set-spark-outrage-6196302

Again in 2015 Cara Delevingne slammed by wildlife charity for posing with lion cub: ‘They don’t belong draped over a celebrity’  said the Daily Mirror to their  2.7 million readers http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/cara-delevingne-slammed-wildlife-charity-5035579

Cara Delevingne enraged so many people world wide with her antics that Yahoo News picked it up too, saying “Cara Delevingne who is the new ambassador for TAG Heure watches got a lot of criticism after photo shoot with a lion cub.”  https://uk.news.yahoo.com/video/cara-delevingne-slammed-lion-cub-071504429.html

Darnell Dockett tigerIn 2013 Darnell Dockett posed with a tiger and said he bought a cub to bring to the games.  Big Cat Rescue launched an alert and it turned out to have the most response of any action item that year.  People were infuriated that Darnell Dockett would do, or even say, such an absurd thing, so he began back peddling.  The press held him out to be a liar saying,  “Dockett has claimed that he did buy a tiger cub, although it’s been hard to tell whether he actually did or he’s just jerkin’ on our jockstraps. Now, it looks like at least part of Dockett’s tale is fiction, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the entire thing was just made up.”  http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/darnell-docketts-pet-tiger-story-unraveling-cubs-supposed-mom-is-a-dude-6627107

 

 

The celebrity spanking goes on for pages and pages and pages.

 

The rapper Tyga thought he was cool and posed with a tiger cub on a leash.  That lead to the media frenzy that had headlines like RAPPER TYGA BUSTED FOR PET TIGER? http://www.globalanimal.org/2014/05/02/rapper-tyga-busted-for-pet-tiger/ and Authorities Seize Rapper Tyga’s Pet Tiger http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/6773/20140426/authorities-seize-rapper-tygas-pet-tiger.htm

This headline read:  Stop taking ‘tiger selfies’ that fund animal abuse, charity says It went on to report: “Lion and tiger cubs can be found in Cancun, Mexico, while slow lorises are the latest trend in Thailand.  When Rihanna Tiger Abuse on Tinderposted a picture with one online last year, it sparked police raids in Phuket and the arrest of two suspected poachers.”  At least Rihanna’s celebrity status gave the object of her desire for attention an opportunity to be rescued.  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/stop-taking-tiger-selfies-that-fund-animal-abuse-charity-says-9635945.html

Sometimes it isn’t just one celebrity showing their ignorance.  Sometimes it’s a whole team of people who don’t stop and think about how it is that they could be allowed to pet a tiger cub.  The Detroit Tigers were approached by one of the notorious tiger cub exploiters in 2013 in an effort to legitimize a practice that most decent people find appalling.  Members of the team ignorantly posed with the cubs, who had been bred to be used as photo props, and the media latched onto the public outrage that ensued.  The headline read IFAW Calls Foul on Detroit Tigers Photo Op http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/statement-ifaw-calls-foul-detroit-tigers-photo-op

On April 2, 2013 after being pelted with insults and calls for their shame, the Detroit Tigers removed the offensive photos from their Facebook page.  Big Cat Rescue followed up saying, “GRRRREAT NEWS! The Detroit Tigers have removed from their Facebook page the photos of several players at spring training camp last week posing with a baby tiger! Thank you to everyone who posted a comment on the Tiger’s page to educate them and let them know most people do NOT want to see cubs exploited. We applaud the Detroit Tigers for taking this action and doing the right thing!!”  https://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue/posts/296773597119376

Unfortunately the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t learn a lesson from that and in 2014 they made their own bad press with the headline, Toronto Blue Jays under fire for posing with baby lion and tiger http://www.critterfiles.com/toronto-blue-jays-fire-posing-baby-lion-tiger/  Fans commented “Animals are not props. They are not here for our entertainment and have been known to attack and kill trainer/owners/visitors. This is disgusting and disgraceful. It isn’t 1920 anymore. We know better now, so grow up and evolve already.  Animals belong in the wild with their families, not in cages where they can’t express their basic instincts and needs. I’m ashamed this happened in Toronto.”

You don’t have to be a public figure, or a celebrity to make the news with your ill conceived ideas of a good way to entertain the kids.  This mother found herself making headlines after subjecting her child to a tiger mauling.  We didn’t follow the story, but hopefully child services got involved after she paid to let her child to pet a tiger which landed the kid in Intensive Care.  http://bigcatrescue.org/mother-risks-childrens-lives-petting-tigers/

Good Morning America found themselves at the receiving end of a fire storm of rage when they promoted swimming with tiger cubs at Dade City’s Wild Things.  Read the comments and see that most of the commenters expressed their exasperation for the celebrity news staff that were unwittingly drawn into the fray by animal exploiters.  https://www.facebook.com/GoodMorningAmerica/posts/507139979298672

 

Sometimes the heat for posing with wild animals is so hot the celebrities have to publicly apologize for their bad decisions.

Such was the case for Glenn McGrath who Expresses ‘Deep Regret’ Over Africa Hunting  in his case he killed the wild animals and then posed with them, but the public can be pretty forgiving if they believe  the celeb. http://www.buzzfeed.com/simoncrerar/mcgrath-hunting-photos#.mvzGGbxaY

 

Most People Figure Out Cub Handling is Wrong and Won’t Condone It

 

More than 60 malls have pledged to never allow cub handling at their venues due to publicity that started in 2009 about how the cubs are purposely bred to be used as pay to play props and then discarded to pet homes, backyard zoos and even the black market.  PetsMart made it their policy not to let these tiger pimps bring cubs onto any of their properties in the U.S., Canada or Mexico.

In 2014 New York passed a ban on Tiger Selfies and any contact with wild cats or their cubs.

When Porsche announced their Macan in 2014, one of the dealerships had the stupid idea of bringing a live tiger to the car store.  Public outrage was so fast and furious that Porsche sent a letter to all of their dealers asking them to NOT make that mistake again.  http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-rescue-gives-huge-shout-porsche/

Citi joined Porsche and PetsMart in the growing list of influential corporations that have banned the use of wild animals at their events and in their advertising.  Big Cat Rescue had contacted these organization and explained to them why it is so bad to use big cats cubs for photos and ego props and they took immediate action after hearing from our supporters.

Wildlife conservation and forestry departments of northeast China’s Heilongjiang province announced in 2012 that visitors will not be allow to pay for pictures with Siberian tiger cubs in a tiger park.  More at China Bans Cub Petting.

 

Call To Celebrities and Their Agents

 

rp_HarrisonFordTigerLaunchHSUSkids.jpgYou could do some good and regain your standing in the hearts of your fans if you make a public apology for not bothering to do a quick Internet search on the topic before posing with a wild animal or their cub.  Celebrities have a powerful voice and a moral obligation to be thoughtful in their decisions because so many people are looking to them as role models.  The best way you can help is to speak out in favor of the Big Cat and Public Safety Act which would put an end to these backyard breeders and their web of lies about how this is helping conservation.

Using celebrity power to save animals is a hit in Hollywood.  We all know Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, Sarah McLachlan, Pamela Anderson and Bob Barker are staunch supporters of animals. But so are Kristin Davis, Kesha and Hayden Panettiere, January Jones, Kristin Davis, Woody Harrelson, Pink, Kellan Lutz, Twiggy, Harrison Ford, Jorga Fox, Billy McNamarra, Alison Eastwood and more.

 

Should YOU Pose with a Wild Animal Cub?

 

You can find all of the reasons why paying to pet or play with a lion cub, a tiger cub, a liger cub or any other wildcat cub or kitten is ALWAYS abuse at http://bigcatrescue.org/cubs/

We used to try and go easy on people who would proclaim to love big cats and then proceed to brag about having petted one or having their photo with one because the media used to condone the practice.  For those who had been duped by the backyard breeders who use cubs to support themselves, we are sorry they took advantage of you.  Now it’s time to burn those photos and let others know why they should never pay to play with cubs.  Once Big Cat Rescue and other non profits who are dedicated to protecting wild animals were able to saturate the media with the truth about cub handling, it’s now easy to figure out that no one who loves wild animals will pay to pet or pose with them.

Now we are asking for your help.  If you see someone posing with tiger cubs, lion cubs or any other wild cat, please send them a Tiger Selfie using this cool app.  http://bigcatrescue.org/tiger-selfie/  It’s a good way to get the message across without being cross.

 

For any of you who still don’t care; even if you don’t care about protecting wild animals, or their cubs, do you really want everyone to think you are a jerk?

 

 

Cubs and Kids

The horrifying moment a lion grabs a toddler on national television.

Whoever thought placing a hungry lion and a tiny toddler in the same vicinity was a stellar idea probably should have thought again.

http://www.mamamia.com.au/lion-grabs-toddler/

Kittens

Kittens

Vote to Help Our Kittens

It’s easy to vote and could mean $5,000 to help us care for orphaned kittens.  https://www.petpartners.com/animaltarian/2016/entry/big-cat-rescue

LIVE kitten cam

Live Kitten Cams

KittenCam1

KittenCam2

KittenCam3

These web cams are usually on domestic cat kittens that we are fostering for adoption, but are sometimes on the exotic cats in our on site Cat Hospital so that we can monitor their progress when they are recovering.  We do not breed exotic cats.  Find out why no legitimate sanctuary breeds animals.

 

We took in our first foster kittens on 4/5/2013. We take in kittens that the Humane Society cannot yet put on the floor for adoption. This is usually moms with babies, bottle feeder kittens, kittens under 2 lbs (the legal weight to spay & neuter them), and feral kittens that need socialized. Interns keep and care for them at their housing.

When the kittens are old enough to have their first vaccines and have been SNAP tested (for Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia), they can spend their days in the Kitten Cabana while the interns are working at the sanctuary. While there, volunteers who have had the Kitten Playtime Class can go in to play with, and socialize them.

Friendly kittens have a much better chance of being adopted. The Kitten Cabana can also be viewed on http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-kitten-cabana

People can help by donating to the foster program. It can be in the form of money, Purina Kitten Chow, plain clay litter (no clumping), wet food, soft blankets, towels, toys, beds, heating pads and kitten nursing supplies.

If people are interested in adopting, they can adopt through the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

You can also help by spreading the word to adopt, not buy, and please spay and neuter pets.

You can help support our foster program by feeding all of our big cats.

 

Give to Big Cat Rescue
One of the best ways to help is through general donations that can be used however it is most needed at the time.To make a general donation just click the Donate Now button below.  This is the best way to give as it has the lowest credit card processing fees and is immediate help for the cats.

Big Cat Rescue will not share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations.
If you prefer to donate via Pay Pal, please use this link: Pay Pal This link will take you through our Salsa portal so we can properly track and thank you for your donations.

Sample Video from 24/7 Live Kitten Cam

How old is that kitten?

Download this great pictorial chart to determine the age of your kitten.

Want to link to this page with a cute kitten button?  Use the one below and link to http://bigcatrescue.org/kittens/

 

KittenCam

InSitu

InSitu

Big Cat Rescue’s In Situ Conservation Work

2016 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

Sky Island Alliance Ocelots

Ocelot Insitu Project BCRIn July 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated to the Sky Island Alliance, a non profit organization located in Arizona. The Sky Island Alliance started researching ocelots in 2006. In 2009 they documented the first living record of an Ocelot in Arizona and in 2011 they recorded the first evidence of Ocelots breeding in the Sky Islands, with a kitten and mother caught on camera trap film. Sky Island Alliance protects and restores the biodiversity and natural heritage of the Sky Islands using science, education and advocacy to connect the binational landscapes, people and wildlife.

Ocelot Insitu Project BCRFor the past 10 years they have worked to help these elusive and secretive cats stay and thrive. By advocating for Ocelot conservation and promoting greater public understanding they have brought awareness to the importance and benefit of carnivores through Critical Habitat designation; identifying and mapping their best habitat and movement corridors; analyzing motion-activated camera data to determine wild cat activity patterns and behavior; supporting non-invasive wildlife monitoring; and encouraging the designation of new protected areas and privately-owned and managed conservation lands in Sonora, Mexico.

Read more about their work here: http://www.skyislandalliance.org

Andean Cat Alliance

Andean Cat Insitu Project In August 2016 Big CatRescue donated to the Andean Cat Alliance. The Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita) is a small feline found in the high Andes of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru and in the northern portion of the Patagonian steppe in Argentina.

It is one of the least known cats in the world and is considered the most threatened feline in America, being among the five most endangered cats in the world.Though the Andean cat is found across a wide area, its extensive habitat ranges share common characteristics; these include aridity and extreme temperatures, scarce vegetation, heterogeneous geomorphology, and rocky patches in the landscape. Despite what little is known about the Andean cat, it is certain that their habitat is both fragmented and highly fragile. The current distribution of the Andean cat covers four countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile—an area of significant cultural, social, and economic diversity. Human populations also fluctuate greatly in the regions where the Andean cat is found, this presents a challenge in developing conservation strategies since the attitudes and interactions with the Andean cat vary greatly by locality.

Andean Cat Insitu Project Research is a fundamental component of the Andean Cat Alliance because it allows them to obtain information about the presence and distribution of the Andean cat. The coordinated work and establishment of a common database, allowed a study of population genetics of Andean cat and the development of a global distribution model for the Andean cat. Through the systematic use of camera traps, they were able to gain information on habitat use, ecology and diet of a species little is know about.

Greater knowledge about the Andean cat has allowed the members of the Andean Cat Alliance to re-assess the conservation status of the species in each country and propose actions for the development of conservation. Read more about their work here: http://www.gatoandino.org/index.php/en/

 

International Tiger Day July 29th

International-Tiger-DayIn celebration of International Tiger Day 2016, Big Cat Rescue and Clemson University Tigers for Tigers teamed up in a fundraising effort to protect tigers in the wild. Clemson University Tigers for Tigers (t4tclemson.org) is a student-led group dedicated to preserving their mascot through education, research, and service learning on local and global levels. For International Tiger Day on July 29th, Big Cat Rescue and Clemson T4T designed PURR-fect t-shirts, which are available for purchase via SunFrog. 100% of t-shirt revenue will be donated to the International Tiger (ITP). Big Cat Rescue is matching the profits for all t-shirts sold up to $3,000, check out the t-shirts here:

https://www.sunfrog.com/International-Tiger-Day-Tee-Dark-Grey-Guys.html

The International Tiger Project (ITP) is a not-for-profit project supporting Sumatran tiger conservation, rainforest protection, and local community partnerships. With less than 3,200 tigers left in the wild, projects such as this are essential for their continued existence. In the past century, we have lost 97% of tigers in the wild predominantly due to poaching and habitat loss. This loss has created a dire need for increased monitoring and conservation efforts of tiger species and the areas they inhabit. One major strategy employed by ITP to combat these issues is the use of camera traps to monitor tigers. The location of their work is the Bukit Tigapuluh Reserve, which has been identified as one of the priority landscapes for long-term tiger conservation in Sumatra. A Wildlife Protection Unit (WPU), initiated by ITP, adds additional protection for the tigers with an on-the-ground patrol that works with local communities to see that both tigers and humans remain safe and live in harmony. The WPU also provides employment opportunities for the community, thereby increasing the profile of the Sumatran tiger and its importance in the area.

You can read more about the work done by ITP here: http://www.tiger.org.au

Jaguarundi on the US/Mexico Borderline

In May 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated to Felidae Conservation Fund in support of a project they are carrying out on the Jaguarundi. The Jaguarundi species distribution in the borderlands of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas and Southern Arizona is currently unknown and there is a debate regarding recent unconfirmed observations and sightings. The last confirmed sighting in the United States was in April 1986 of a road-killed Jaguarundi. This research project will examine Jaguarundi distribution in the US-Mexico Borderlands (National Park Service lands), with the objective to address the gap in information of Jaguarundi presence. The project will examine habitat use in relation to competition with other felid species and habitat loss resulting from human conversion to mixed-use landscapes. The Project will utilize remote camera technology to yield a thorough evaluation of the species’ distribution in the US-Mexico Borderlands to answer the unresolved question of the presence or absence in this area. The project will also utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to determine home range size and habitat use by individuals.

Fishing Cats in Sri Lanka

In June 2016 Big Cat Rescue donated towards an ongoing in situ project by the Fishing Cat Working Group in support of a project in Sri Lanka. The conservation status of fishing cats according to the IUCN Red List Category & criteria is Endangered. Despite being an endangered species, fishing cats in Sri Lanka, and in most parts of Asia, are a poorly studied species. In Sri Lanka they are most commonly seen inhabiting marshes and other wetlands, including in urban areas. However, with rapid urban development taking place, these wetlands are being filled. Therefore, it is now crucial to understand the ecology and behavior of fishing cats in these urban wetlands, and integrate the conservation of these wetland habitats into urban development plans, as green areas.

In 2006, a pilot study was conducted to confirm and establish the presence of fishing cats in Colombo’s urban wetlands. The study was conducted over a year, during which fishing cats were caught on camera, in several of these wetlands. However, the study had to be concluded due to security issues in Colombo and suburbs, as this was during the last stages of the country’s civil war. In 2013, four years after the war ended, Colombo saw rapid development and many of the urban wetlands were cleared or filled with complete disregard for the importance of these habitats, and their biodiversity. It was therefore decided to reconfirm the presence of cats in the wetlands, and understand if the cats still reside within these wetlands or if they had been pushed out of these habitats due to development practices. You can read more about the project here: http://www.fishing-cat.wild-cat.org

Pallas Cats in Russia

Pallas Cat FactsBig Cat Rescue donated towards an ongoing in situ research project, The Pallas Cat Study and Conservation Program, that started in 2004 in order to collect data pertaining to the true conservation status of the species. The Pallas Cat is one of the least studied wild cats in the world despite having a large habitat ranging across Russia, Mongolia and North-Western China. The habitat of this species has been decreasing over the years, meaning species numbers have dramatically declined. Biology of the species and its adaptations to different landscapes have never been studied adequately, meaning data is lacking on the current spatial distribution, migratory patterns and habitat preference.

The project started initially with interview surveys and snow-tracking research in all the main regions of Russia where the species resides. Since 2009 they have also studied Pallas cats in Kazakhstan, with the north-east region proving to be the most important habitat for the cats, as this is where the majority of the data was obtained. Since 2013, the project has moved its focus to study factors influencing Pallas Cat distribution, clarification of actual and potential threats to the species, population density estimations, pilot studies of Pallas Cat Biology and public awareness. Techniques such as GPS tracking, GIS databases, on foot tracking and the involvement of locals has contributed to the progress thus far for the data collected.  Read more about their work here: http://www.savemanul.org/eng/

Tanzania Lion Illumination Project

Human-animal conflict is an ever growing problem especially in ares where the habitats of humans and animals overlap. With human populations increasing, there is more pressure on wildlife to survive due to habitat loss, and livestock Bomas provide an easy meal for many predators. When predators kill the livestock, the locals retaliate by killing the predators and thus it means, in countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Nairobi, where human-animal conflict is prevalent, lion and leopard populations are dramatically declining.

Big Cat Rescue donated to the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project to aid in a solution for this ever growing problem. The Tanzania Lion Illumination Project is a small, non-profit organization that works out in Tanzania installing “Lion Lights” on to livestock Bomas in areas where they are needed, to help rural communities protect their livestock and reduce retaliatory killings. “Lion lights” are a simple and effective method that involved the installation of LED lights around the tops of livestock bomas. The flashing LED lights are solar powered and help to repel predators, by disorientating them and causing them to flee. To date the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project has installed lights on more than 70 Bomas and the result has shown a dramatic decrease in both livestock loss and retaliatory predator killings.

The Tanzania Lion Illumination Project not only funds the light systems but also trains local people and the native tribes in the installation and upkeep. By doing this they hope to be able to educate them and raise awareness about living in peace with the animals. Read more about their work here: http://www.tanzlight.org/home.html

The Corbett Foundation

China doll the TigerBig Cat Rescue donated $5,000 to The Corbett Foundation, a charitable, non-profit and non-governmental organization solely committed to the conservation of wildlife. They work towards a harmonious coexistence between human beings and wildlife across some of the most important wildlife habitats in India, namely Corbett Tiger Reserve, Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves, Kaziranga Tiger Reserve and around the Greater Rann of Kutch.

Local Communities and wildlife share natural ecosystems and this often raises conflict, so the health and wellbeing of these communities are often directly linked to their willingness to participate in wildlife conservation efforts. The Corbett foundation has implemented its programs in over 400 villages in the last decade. One specific area the Corbett foundation is working on is the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.

Open farm wells, dug by villagers, in the buffer zone of the Reserve, are proving to be a deathtrap for wild animals, with several cases having been reported of animals, including tigers and leopards, drowning by accidentally falling into the open wells. Currently around 2500 of these open farm wells exist, many in the core zone of the Tiger Reserve. The Corbett Foundation with the support of Exodus Travels Ltd UK, has initiated a project to install chain-link fencing around such open farm wells to prevent any further accidental drowning.  More here:  Big Cat Fences

In the first phase of the project, 200 fences have already been built around wells closest to the core of the reserve. The cost of one fence is 7500 Indian Rupees so approximately $111, meaning from the $5000 donated, between 40-45 fences can be built. You can read more about the other great work done by Corbett Foundation here: http://www.corbettfoundation.org/what-we-do.php#wildlife-conservation

The Urban Caracal Project

In February 2016, BCR donated funds to assist the Urban Caracal Project. The Cape Peninsula is a biodiversity hotspot that has lost almost all of its large mammals such as cape lions, leopards and brown hyenas. Caracals as a result may play a major role in maintaining the ecosystem as they are the largest remaining predator in the area.

The Urban Caracal Project, fronted by Dr Laurel Seyries and the Cape Leopard Trust, is a project that aims to establish baseline information about the caracal population in the Cape Peninsula: population size, health of individuals, and the distribution of caracals across the Peninsula. In addition they want to evaluate the effects of urbanization on the behavior, movement patterns, diet, and genetic health of caracals and assess threats to survival of caracals in the Peninsula and potentially beyond to other parts of South Africa. This study is an essential tool to understand how urbanization may be threatening wildlife in other parts of the world affected by similar factors. Read more about the Urban Caracal Project: http://www.urbancaracal.org/about/

See Caracals Living Free

The Black Footed Cat Working Group

In March 2016 BCR donated funds to assist the Black Footed Cat Working Group, with one of the longest running small cat projects that has been in process for over 23 years, conserving the Black Footed Cat population in South Africa. More than 60 cats have been caught and collared over 100 times and what is known today about the species has been found during this field study. The study collects data on the ecology of the species, like home range sizes, home range usage, social organisation, food habits but also mortality, longevity, dispersal and reproduction of the population.

The Black-footed Cat Working Group was formed to publish and share findings from the project and the group consists of 7 biologists and veterinarians that act as a central information source for the species. Read more about The Black Footed Cat Working Group here: http://www.black-footed-cat.wild-cat.org

Sand Cat in Morocco

Big Cat Rescue donated $1,000 towards the first ever study on the ecology and behavior of Sand cats in Morocco, launched in 2015 by Dr Alex Sliwa and Gregory Breton, scientists from Europe. The researchers aimed to study the cats over several years to collect data, throughout the lives of individuals but also across generations. In an attempt to understand the species better the research aims to look at particular ecological aspects such as activity times, size of home range, territory, social and reproductive behaviors, prey species and different hunting methods. The method of the study is for researchers to actively search for Sand Cats. Once located, the animal are caught and sedated, to be measured and given a health check, then fitted with a radio collar. These animals will then be followed with an receiver and antenna to determine their movements.

2015 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

On Father’s Day (Sunday June 21, 2015) Big Cat Rescue hosted our second annual walkabout to fund conservation efforts.

We raised $6,066.63 and donated $3,000 to National Geographic’s Build a Boma project and $3,066.63 to Lion Guardians.

 

2014 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

In 2014 Big Cat Rescue donated $15,000.00 to conservation programs.

$900 to Walk for Lions in Kenya (from our March for Lions event)

$7,000 to Campaign Against Canned Hunting in S. Africa (from our March for Lions event)

$1,000 to Build a Boma via Nat Geo initiative in S. Africa (from our March for Lions event)

$1,100 to Animal Defenders International

$5,000 Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation

March For Lions Tee Shirt

1.  Saving Lions.  March 15th’sMarch for Lions may have just seemed like one heck of a party, but thanks to everyone who came and fundraised for the event, we were able to net $10,000 and we wanted to spend it on ways to help lions outside our gates.   The movers and shakers behind the Global March for Lions were Chris and Bev Mercer of CannedLion.org.  Any time we need the truth on what is happening in Africa regarding lions, we always turn to Chris and Bev.  They have been the leading force against lion hunting and pay to play schemes that pimp out lion cubs, only to sell them into canned hunts as easy targets.  They would never ask for help, but this event made it possible for us to contribute $7,000. to their continued efforts to ban lion hunting.  Chris said this is the equivalent of a small fortune in his world and that he will put it to good use in protecting lions.

2.  We were impressed with Nat Geo’s Cause an Uproar campaign and donated $1,000. to their BuildABoma.org project.  This will build two bomas to help protect lions from being killed for harming livestock.

3.  We have long been impressed by Animal Defenders International because they are a small organization that has been winning huge victories for animals.  What really brought them up on our radar was the amazing work they have done in the past few years to ban circus acts that use wild animals in 40 + countries.  If you saw Blackfish and thought, “big cats need a movie like that,” then you have to see Lion Ark.  We saw it and were so enamored that we sent $1,100. to help with their efforts to free all big cats from circuses.

4.  Before the March for Lions even began we sent the early money we raised, in the amount of $900. to Walking for Lions to be a major sponsor for the cycling event from Kenya to Botswana to raise awareness of the plight of lions.  So, thanks to your generosity we are raising awareness, supporting boots on the ground, giving locals a way to live with lions, rescuing lions from circuses and letting everyone know that when you pay to play with a cub, the cub is always the one who pays with his loss of life and liberty.

5.  Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise, guidance and funding in the expansion of facilities to house jaguars who are rescued from being killed and sent to the Belize Zoo.  The zoo does not breed their cats, but cannot release the jaguars either because there are too many in the area and they get in trouble with people.

6.  Created 22 Intranet sites, which are sort of a sanctuary-in-a-box site, for other sanctuaries to use.  These came complete with every training video, training manual, chart and idea that we use to run Big Cat Rescue.  We do this for free for sanctuaries around the world that do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact w/ wild animals.

 

 

2013 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

In 2013 Big Cat Rescue donated $3,883.91 towards four conservation programs in the FL and in other countries on behalf of our volunteers.

snow leopard half face

$1522.91 to Panthera to save corridors for wild cats to travel safely and outfitting rangers on behalf of our volunteers.

$1000.00 to the Florida Panther Refuge to help protect the Florida Panther.

$850.00 to the Snow Leopard Trust to cover the cost of camera traps and snow leopard monitoring.

$500.00 to the Tiger Trust to protect tigers in India by providing better legal assistance and training for game wardens.

 

1.  Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise and guidance in the development of a rescue center in Spain that will be broadening their focus from primates to now include big cats.  AAP Primadomus is located on more than 400 acres in Villena and currently houses a variety of primates that have been rescued from private ownership, circuses, and laboratories. They are now expanding their focus to also rescue countless lions and tigers that are in need across their country.

In an effort to prepare for this project nearly a dozen experts were invited to a symposium that focused on sharing information regarding the proper care of big cats in captivity, emergency protocol development, and enclosure design. Big Cat Rescue President Jamie Veronica and volunteer veterinarian Justin Boorstein travelled to Spain and joined experts from Italy, South Africa, France, Austria, the Netherlands and all across the United Kingdom.

Over the course of three days the team worked tirelessly to provide as much information as possible to the members of not only AAP Primadomus, but its origin center Stitching AAP. Stitching AAP is a rescue center for apes, monkeys and small exotic animals in the Netherlands that was founded more than 35 years ago.

The symposium was a huge success. Big Cat Rescue will continue to work with AAP remotely throughout the development process. We are so pleased to provide assistance to organizations that are saving big cats across the globe!

See a digital rendition they did from the plans submitted:

 

 

2.  Created 8 Intranet sites, which are sort of a sanctuary-in-a-box site, for other global sanctuaries to use.  These came complete with every training video, training manual, chart and idea that we use to run Big Cat Rescue.  We do this for free for sanctuaries that do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact w/ wild animals.

3.  Presented at Tigers 4 Tigers which is a coalition of all colleges that have tiger mascots who are working to save the tiger.  It was also the last place for the good friend and world famous and much beloved tiger expert Ron Tilson to make a presentation before his untimely death this year.  http://youtu.be/o1ve94nYbP4

 

2012  Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), and hosting their first in person 2 day Workshop in 2011, Patty Finch asked if the board of GFAS could use our facilities for their meeting. We were delighted to meet the members of the board that we had not met before and were proud to show off Big Cat Rescue to all of them.  Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue and I shared how we use google Apps and how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers.

 

 

2011  Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Big Cat Rescue funded a $5,000 GPS tracking collar program that will be monitored by researchers with the Snow Leopard Trust. Founded in 1981, the Snow Leopard Trust is the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard. This collar will allow researchers to track a wild snow leopard in order to study its habits and territory needs.

A GPS tracking collar has been placed on one of the cubs of Khashaa, a female and mother snow leopard, within the study area. The cub, a male, is already pretty big at one and a half years old. We find this so exciting because it will help us begin to answer some of the unanswered questions about snow leopards, including information about dispersal patterns.

Big Cat Rescue has been working with WildTracks this year to provide images of our tigers’ paw prints for entry into their computer program which can determine who a cat is by their tracks when there are enough tracks submitted to use for comparison.  Learn more and see photos of the print collection at http://bigcatrescue.org/2011/today-at-big-cat-rescue-sept-22

Big Cat Rescue offered to sponsor the first ever Florida Panther Festival if they agreed not to use any live cats at their exhibits.  They did not take us up on the offer to sponsor the event, but did assure us that they would not exploit cats this way.  Our camera traps have been set in various locations to monitor wildlife populations and poachers in the area.

After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), Patty asked if we would host their first in person 2 day Workshop. Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue, Jeff Kremer presented on donor recognition while giving the group of 20+ attendees a tour, Chris Poole spoke on social marketing and networking, Patty Ragan shared the value of hiring a coach, Kari Bagnall illustrated how to get the most out of a tabling event, Patty Finch taught grant writing, teaching your board how to be helpful and how to avoid “founder’s syndrome” and I shared how we use google Apps, how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers, why it is important to have a plan and stick to it.

Big Cat Rescue later hosted HSUS Sanctuary CEO’s for their annual retreat and gave them an inside look at how we operate.  In both the GFAS and HSUS workshops we shared our Intranet site along with all of our training documents and all of the assets to create a “sanctuary in a box.”  All of these tools are included on our website behind a $1.00 pay wall so that anyone who wishes to improve their facility has access to everything we do.   Big Cat Rescue also helped the Humane Society Legislative Fund in their work to end puppy mills because the same laws would protect cats and kittens from use in kitten mills as well.

 

2010 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Leonardo DiCaprio Protects TigersBig Cat Rescue continued working with the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 40+ organizations committed to saving the tiger, based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.   The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years.  There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching.  We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.

What makes this initiative unlike all of the past programs is two fold.  40+ 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.  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.  Leonardo DiCaprio attended as well and met with Prime Minister Putin.  DiCaprio donated 1 million dollars to WWF’s fund for saving the tiger.

23 FL Panthers died in 2010 but 90 were born according to FWC.  Big Cat Rescue is stepping up our support of local initiatives to save the Florida Panther.

 

2009 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Big Cat Rescue continued working with the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 39 organizations committed to saving the tiger, based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.   The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years.  There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching.  We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.

 

We assisted in the rehabilitation of an orphaned baby bobcat in NC. Nina Fischesser,  Director, Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, NC had contacted us for advice in rehabbing and releasing an orphaned baby bobcat. Giving cats a second chance at living free is the best part of our day!

We began working with Dr. Wynn’s CO colleague and a Florida Wildlife Commission epidemiologist on research involving FIV in bobcats and FL panthers.  We will begin testing all road kill for FIV, as well as testing bobcats who are reported frequenting human habitation if we can safely trap and release them without too much stress to them.

2008 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

Harrison Ford w/HSUS Tiger KidsBig Cat Rescue was welcomed into the International Tiger Coalition, which is a group of 39 organizations committed to saving the tiger, based upon our unique ability to address the captive issues that imperil tigers in the wild.   The goal is 10,000 tigers in the wild in 10 years.  There are less than 3,000 in the wild currently and we are losing one per day due to poaching.  We persuaded ITC to keep US tiger farming issue as part of their mission to eradicate because legalized trade puts even more pressure on wild populations.

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.

 

2007 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

The Jaguar Trust  Trapping is the furthest thing from our mission, except when it comes to camera traps for tracking and aiding wildlife. Our own Big Cat Rescue president Jamie Veronica went to Guyana, South America with a fellow volunteer on a mission for the sanctuary. Jamie and Justin Boorstein were in Guyana for ten days setting new digital camera traps with video to track Jaguars, Ocelots and Pumas. Our partner, Foster Parrots, tells us that with the recent import ban of all birds into Europe, Guyana now finds herself in a position to change the long practiced wildlife export industry there. Many trappers are finding that there are no markets for their “products”! Many of these trappers now find themselves unemployed and the government may start to look at the potential revenues of eco-tourism to fill the gap. If we can make a concerted effort with our conservation project we hope to serve as an example and to garner the support of Guyana to create the world’s premier rainforest destination. Our plans include the promotion of our project here in the US and a marketing strategy to heighten the visibility of this important move in Guyana.

Visitors to Guyana will have a choice of tour itineraries ranging from an ambitious 3 and 4-day Kanuku Mountains hike that will bring them to the realm of the Harpy Eagle, to more leisurely tours that will encompass sightings of Red Bellied, Scarlet, Red and Green, Blue and Yellow Macaws, Giant Anteaters and a wide variety of primates.   Horseback and canoe excursions will let tour groups experience the wilds of Guyana at an intimate level.  Visitors can also travel to Kaeiteur Falls to witness one of the world’s tallest single-drop waterfalls of 741 feet.   Construction on the first of two planned lodge complexes, located in Nappi Village, has been completed by the local tribes with funds from Foster Parrots and Big Cat Rescue. Contact SaveTheCats@bigcatrescue.org to spend your vacation dollars saving the wildcats in the rainforest.

Africa  President Jamie Veronica and volunteer Barbara Stairs also toured Africa to see the issues first hand that have resulted in game parks being virtually the only lands left that house wild cats.  She will work with relatives there to check out sources for offering handmade products in our gift shop that could help preserve wildlife there as we currently do in the Jaguar Trust.  (Barbara Stairs funded this excursion)

Since 2005 Big Cat Rescue has provided both funds and volunteers to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.  Lewa relocates problematic wildlife to protected areas and provides education to children in the area who would not otherwise be able to read or write.  In addition to the funds that Big Cat Rescue donates, we also provide a U.S. market for Kenya ‘s craftsmen and send clothing with our volunteers to distribute when they visit.  Our volunteers take their skills and attitudes of compassion for all life into these barren regions and share a message of hope.

China, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Pakistan:  Every year since 1997 Big Cat Rescue has donated to the countries that are home to the Himalayan mountain range where the elusive snow leopard is found.  One whole corner of the gift shop explains how the sale of items made by the villagers helps save the snow leopard in the wild.  In 2006, Dr. Tom McCarthy, the Conservation Director for the Snow Leopard Trust, came to Big Cat Rescue to explain just how crucial each sale was to protect of these exquisite cats.

The snow leopard lives in regions where the average person makes the equivalent of $1.00 per day.  Most of the people who share the same highlands with the snow leopard are herders and to them, the loss of one sheep or goat can mean the difference in their survival.  Most of the snow leopards that are killed are retribution killings; meaning that the cat has been blamed for killing one of the herd and the herdsman has killed the next snow leopard he saw.  The herdsman can eat the cat and sell the hide for 25.00 which for them is a month’s wage.  There are many other middle men along the way who are anxious to get their hands on a snow leopard pelt or penis for the Asian medicinal trade or for the black market.   The pelt dramatically becomes more valuable as it goes down the line and can cost $5,000.00 or more to the final buyer.

ligersThe Snow Leopard Trust members in China, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Pakistan work closely with the local people to find out what they need.  In some cases, they can create handicrafts like those we sell and make five times what they can make from herding.

The programs are structured with reducing reliance on Snow Leopard Trust funds for each consecutive year and to remain in the program the community must ensure that no snow leopards are killed.  If anyone in the community kills a snow leopard, the entire community risks losing their right to participate in the program for a year and that is enough to keep everyone watching out for the snow leopard.  Their claims of protection must verified by the game wardens and governmental agencies who actually have incentives to discover poaching because they are often paid a portion of the confiscation if they can catch a poacher.

Big Cat Rescue is the second largest retailer for Snow Leopard Enterprises.

We collected fecal samples from our captive snow leopards for the Snow Leopard Trust to use in training dogs to be able to tell one wild snow leopard from another just by sniffing the scat left behind.  This will greatly enhance conservation efforts and is a cost effective method as well.  The video we produced is being aired on our sites, and also being used as a marketing tool for the new program and the Snow Leopard Trust.

The U.S. State Department enlisted our help in saving the critically endangered Amur Leopard because of our ability to reach so many people who care about wild cats and their habitat.

 

2006 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

When our beloved tiger, Nini, died Brian Czarnik wanted her to live on and so we sponsored a tiger in the wild in Way Kambas Park.  The money donated will help protect the tigers in this critical reserve.  We worked with the Smithsonian Institution in a project to examine the population biology of small carnivores in Gabon, West Africa and Borneo.  We hosted a party and raised more than $1000.00 to aid the campaign that would require the government to provide emergency plans for people who won’t leave their pets. This bill became law in 2006 and will protect America’s pets in times of disaster.  We also sent proceeds from our Fur Ball to Lewa Conservancy in S. Africa and invested in creating eco-tourism in Guyana, South America to protect the wild cats in that area.  At the request of the World Wildlife Fund in Poland we have provided photographs for them to use in creating a handbook for border guards to prevent the illegal trade in exotic cats and their pelts.

2005 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

 

We raised $1000.00 each for conservation programs to save the margay in Brazil, to help start an eco tourism lodge in Guyana and to assist Lewa in Africa.

PURR-IFIC NEW CONTEST TO HELP OUR BIG CATS!

VOTE for Big Cat Rescue to win $5,000 and the title of 2016 Animaltarian of the Year from PetPartners! Visit VoteCats.com to see the cute video Afton created about our domestic foster kitten program in partnership with the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

The first round of voting begins Friday, August 5th, and endsSaturday, September 3rd. You can VOTE ONCE PER DAY at www.VoteCats.com.

You can watch our domestic foster kittens all day here: www.explore.org/kittencabana