Bobcat Rehab

Bobcat Rehab

Big Cat Rescue Rehabilitates Bobcats

for Release Back to the Wild

Watch our Rehab Bobcats LIVE on this explore.org web cam: http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

My Bobcat is in Rehab TEE BlackSee who is in rehab now:

Ms Claws http://bigcatrescue.org/the-claws

Find out more about some of our recent bobcat rescues, rehab and their release:

Thor http://bigcatrescue.org/thor

 

Rain and Dancer http://bigcatrescue.org/release-of-rain-and-dancer-bobcats/

Phoenix and Captiva:  http://bigcatrescue.org/phoenix-rehab/ and here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/4-bobcat-kittens/

Mr Claws http://bigcatrescue.org/the-claws

 

Give to Big Cat Rescue

 

Donate to make this bobcat rehab work possible.

 

What Do Rehab Bobcats Do All Day?

How to Care for Rehab Bobcat

 

 

Cage rest sounds pretty peaceful for the cat, but it’s a real challenge for the caregivers.

 

See 2 playlists of some of our rehab bobcats

 

While we do bobcat rescue, rehab and release in Florida, we will not relocate bobcats as state law requires that they be released very near where they were captured. They must be released on at least 40 acres and we must get written permission from the owner of the property. They may not be released into state owned parks (strangely) but rather must be released on privately owned land with the land owner’s consent.

Big Cat Rescue has decades of experience rehabbing and releasing bobcats back to the wild where they belong. We provide huge, naturalistic enclosures where these cats can learn or perfect their hunting skills before being released back to the wild. We have trained staff who are experts at capturing an injured bobcat or hand rearing orphaned bobcats until a surrogate can be found.

We go to great lengths to keep these wild cats from imprinting on humans and monitor their care via surveillance cameras to make sure they are thriving. When they are healed, or old enough for release (about 18 months of age) we find the best habitat possible for sustaining them and set them free to live out the life that nature intended.

If you have a bobcat emergency in a state other than Florida, we can help you find a rehabber or will be a resource to wildlife rehabilitators who need help with bobcats, lynx or cougars. When you are searching for a bobcat rehabber ask the following questions:

1. Do they have experience with bobcats?

2. How big are their rehab enclosures? (Ours start at 1200 square feet and some are double that)

3. Do they feed a live diet of prey to insure that the cats will be able to hunt for themselves?

4. Do they keep people, including themselves to the extent possible, away from the bobcat so that they do not imprint on people and end up approaching humans after release?

5. Do they have a vet on staff or on call 24/7 for emergencies?

Rehabbing and releasing bobcats is much more difficult that the rehabilitation of most wildlife. These magnificent little wildcats need every opportunity to fulfill their role in nature and Big Cat Rescue is here to give them that second chance.

Donate to make this bobcat rehab work possible.

No one is allowed to trap and relocate bobcats so anyone who tells you that they will do that is probably trapping them to use as bait for training dogs.

Read more about why relocating wildcats doesn’t work:  http://bigcatrescue.org/relocating-bobcats-and-cougars/

Get the flier to share with your neighbors about Living With Bobcats http://bigcatrescue.org/000news/pdf/2009/BCR_FLBobcat_Brochure_Web.pdf

More Bobcat Rehab Success Stories

 

2003-2016 Big Cat Rescue has had 29 cats come through the rehab program. In addition we have gone on 2 calls where we have seen the injured bobcat, but were unable to catch it.

2003 – 1

Faith – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released (1st attempt at rehabbing and releasing a weaning kitten)

2007 – 4

Chance – Injured & birth defects, surgery to repair hernia, rehabbed, released

Will – Brain damaged juvenile, not releasable, permanent resident

Kennedy – Brain damaged juvenile, not releasable, permanent resident, died from seizure

Ace – Emaciated adult, FIV positive, not permitted to release, permanent resident, died from FIV

2008 – 1

Hope – Orphaned nursing kitten, utilized foster domestic mom and kittens, rehabbed til grown and released (1st attempt at rehabbing and releasing a nursing kitten)

2009 – 4

Dante – Hit by car, broken jaw, rehabbed, released

Bellona – Hit by car, broken leg & tail, plate surgery at Blue Pearl, follow up knee surgery at Blue
Pearl, rehabbed released

Flash – Injured, no vet care needed, rehabbed, released

Christmas – Hit by car, injuries too severe, euthanized

2010 – 4

Skip – Hit by car, broken pelvis, surgery w/ Dr. Hay, rehabbed, pelvis healed too narrow, permanent resident, died from seizure

Midnight – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper

Rain – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper

Storm – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper and congenital heart disease

2012 – 2

Gator – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released

Copter – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released

2013 – 2

Khaleesi – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released

Fencer – Caught in fence, broken toe, rehabbed, released

2014 – 2

Cypress – Broken pelvis, FHO surgery at Blue Pearl, pelvis did not heal, euthanized

Ivan – Both front legs amputated, suspected trap, euthanized

2015 – 7

Journey – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper

Phoenix – Orphaned kitten, burned in brush fire, rehabbed, released

Captiva – Orphaned kitten, rehabbed, released

Rain – Orphaned kitten, rehabbed, released

Dancer – Orphaned kitten, rehabbed, released

Mr. Claws – Orphaned juvenile, broken leg, plate surgery at Humane Society, rehabbed, released

Mrs. Claws – Orphaned kitten, injury to head, stunted growth, still in rehab

2016 – 2

Poseidon – Severe parasite and mange infestation, died as a result

Thor – Broken jaw, eye socket, and shoulder blade, jaw surgery at Humane Society, rehabbed released

http://bigcatrescue.org/a-baby-bobcat-named-faith/

http://bigcatrescue.org/a-boatload-of-bobcats-turns-big-cat-rescue-into-modern-day-ark/

 

Hope the Bobcat

Episode 1 https://youtu.be/BcNZVF4ayDc

Episode 2 https://youtu.be/3afjaPdvJ38

Episode 3 https://youtu.be/68GjuVogId8

Episode 4 https://youtu.be/jKVDhfVtgao

Episode 5 https://youtu.be/PNPO5iCeU54

Episode 6 https://youtu.be/xtvIxx6dEe8

Episode 7 https://youtu.be/GJa-NqeJG14

Episode 8 https://youtu.be/3sbsRoAdfsU

Episode 9 https://youtu.be/ZMrki7Jy3Fk

Episode 10 https://youtu.be/Sfl_T3aF_ZA

Episode 11 https://youtu.be/noiygWDCo5o

Episode 12 https://youtu.be/CHnz3w7YQVo

Episode 13 https://youtu.be/oW7pmvv_Dmo

Episode 14 https://youtu.be/iXPjBTpZx1U

Help Expand Bobcat Rehab Capacity

We are thinking the bobcat rehab rebuild is going to run about a quarter of a million dollars.

The area that would be most suitable on our property would allow a foot print of about 200 feet by 800 feet and would give us about 1/3 of that in thick woods and 2/3 in grassy runs. The woods are a blessing and a curse when we are talking chain link boxes.

Bobcat Rehab Site

Click map to see larger

The pink areas are our permanent big cat residents. The green shaded area is where we want to move our bobcat rehab facilities. It will be the opposite end of our property from the new hotel that is going in on Easy Street.

The 18 acre lake was dug out by the previous owner and then he was filling it in, starting w/ the green shaded area, with concrete and construction materials from demolition sites. He dug the lake down to 30 feet in places, so we could have that much concrete to drill through.

Wild bobcats DO dig, so we have to have a floor. That’s why I was thinking that a big chain link box, complete with roof and floor, might actually work there. It would have to be 1 in mesh and at least 11.5 gauge to meet state standards and keep their live rats from escaping. We would put dirt, grass and shrubs over the flooring after install.

This year we had 7 bobcats in rehab, which is the most we’ve had at one time, but as our reputation for successful releases grows, more cats seem to end up here, so we need to be ready for that growing demand.

We are confident that we can end the practice of private ownership of big cats, so the wildlife rehab work will expand as the need for big cat sanctuaries decreases with our legislative wins.

We own the three houses and two barns that are south of the green shaded area, so there is water, power and Internet nearby. The main house and the two barns have a life estate by the elderly owner though, so I’d have to build something for indoor care of injured cats, but it wouldn’t have to be huge because of the opportunity to take over the existing structures soon.

Currently the intensive care is done in our on site Cat Hospitals, but it would really be nice to have the wild bobcats totally away from the hubbub of the sanctuary, in their own recovery facilities adjoining the outdoor runs.

What I envision here are 8 long, narrow runs, maybe 20 by 230 each, that could be opened up into 4 that are 20 x 470 when there are 4 or fewer cats. Still puzzling about how to make the space expandable, without shared walls, which are just a tragedy waiting to happen.

Whether a bobcat comes to us injured or orphaned, they usually go through these stages:

Give to Big Cat Rescue1. Inside intensive care
2. Outside, small (low) cages so they don’t climb and fall.
3. 1000 -2500 square feet of space to perfect their hunting, climbing, hiding skills.

Another factor that I haven’t quite figured out yet, is how to mount cameras so that we can make sure the cats are doing well, and to engage the public. Our Bobcat Rehab camera is very popular at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release and a great way to engage people in caring about wildlife, so I want to build it with a goal of it being a good virtual visual experience.

Plans-Bobcat Rehab Center

Each cage will require 27,120 sf of 1 in chain link mesh.  Or roughly 64,750 linear feet of 8 foot high chain link mesh.  http://www.yourfencestore.com/ lists 10 gauge, 1 inch mesh for 11.14 per linear foot which means a retail cost.

Below are mockups by Kenni Pedersen of what the bobcat rehab runs will look like.

3D-Bobcat

Kenni’s working on an animated version.

3D-Bobcat overlay

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

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?

 

 

Hoover

Hoover

Watch Hoover LIVE 24/7

http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-vacation-rotation

At this link you will see TJ Tiger in the lakefront cage to the left and Hoover to the right of the brown fence through the water.

Here is some great footage of him from the above webcam:

THE SAD STORY OF HOOVER THE CIRCUS TIGER HAS A FAIRYTALE ENDING…

Hoover Tiger arrived at Big Cat Rescue on Saturday, April 23rd, which was his 12th Birthday!!

Fairy Tales HooverHome

Thank you TroySovich.com for this graphic

#HooverHome

We are very excited to let everyone know that Big Cat Rescue is the forever home for a former circus tiger named Hoover from Peru!! Hoover arrived on his 12th birthday, Saturday, April 23, 2016 to a huge party in his honor!

In April of 2015 Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Peruvian wildlife officials seized Hoover from the circus. ADI contacted Big Cat Rescue about becoming Hoover’s forever home and we quickly agreed. However, the process of importing a tiger into the U.S. turned out to be a year long process and we finally received the green light from USFWS just last week.

ADI had been on track to remove Hoover and another tiger from the Peruvian circus in a nationwide law enforcement operation in 2014, but the circus went underground. Hoover’s road to freedom finally began when, after months of searching, a member of the public tipped off ADI’s team to the location of the illegal wild animal circus. A dramatic rescue ensued.

See National Geographic’s article on Hoover:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160421-tiger-hoover-circus-rescue/

See USA Today’s article on Hoover’s rescue: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2016/04/22/rescued-circus-tiger-hoover-miami-airport/83379482/

See Fox 13’s piece on the Hoover Tiger:  http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/130966764-story

See Bay News 9 article: http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2016/4/23/big_cat_rescue_welco.html

Read Tampa Tribune article about Hoover:  http://www.tbo.com/news/breaking-news/hoover-the-tiger-finds-forever-home-in-tampa-20160423/

Hoover is an 12 year old tiger who was owned by Circo Africano, a circus in northwestern Peru, where for many years he was forced to perform in circus acts and live and travel in a tiny, barren cage.

 

Hoover Tee ShirtSadly, Hoover is the sole survivor of between six and 12 tigers that were kept by Circo Africano in Peru. He arrived at ADI’s rescue center frightened, sick and emaciated. But after months of intensive veterinary care, rehabilitation and exercise, Hoover has recovered and is ready to start the next chapter of his life in America at Big Cat Rescue.

Big Cat Rescue is forever grateful that ADI rescued Hoover and will be transporting him to our sanctuary. Hoover will be flown to his new home at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa and is expected to arrive mid April.

Hoover’s days will now be spent relaxing in the sunshine, lounging up on his platforms and cooling off in Big Cat Rescue’s lake. He will reside in a huge enclosure with lots of trees, foliage and shade. He will literally be a world away from the abuse he suffered most of his life.

Can we count on you to help us fund Hoover’s ongoing care at Big Cat Rescue? It costs us about $10,000 per year for food and veterinary care for a tiger. It’s because of wonderful donors like YOU that we can continue to rescue and provide a permanent home for exotic cats like Hoover!  Thank you!

Donate to Big Cat Rescue

Read South Florida Reporter:  http://southfloridareporter.com/circus-tiger-rescued-peru-animal-defenders-international-arriving-mia/

See Examiner article about Hoover Tiger:  http://www.examiner.com/article/abused-tiger-retiring-to-florida-sanctuary-after-south-american-circus-rescue

Read Mother Nature Network’s article about Hoover:  http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/abused-circus-tiger-gets-happy-ending

See WOKC’s piece on Hoover:  http://www.wokc.com/?p=30038 and here:  http://www.wokc.com/?p=29959

Read Miami Airport’s announcement about Hoover the Tiger:  http://www.miami-airport.com/hoovermia.asp

See Don411’s post:  http://don411.com/former-circus-tiger-rescued-in-peru-by-animal-defenders-international-arriving-at-mia-and-being-transported-to-his-forever-home-at-big-cat-rescue/#.Vxy8e6MrI8Y

Read Wold Animal News:  http://www.worldanimalnews.com/content.php?content_ID=771

Patch in California wrote about Hoover: http://patch.com/california/westhollywood/abused-tiger-retiring-florida-sanctuary-after-south-american-circus-rescue

Read the Democratic Underground:  http://www.democraticunderground.com/110849605

Local Channel 10 did a story on Hoover:  http://www.local10.com/news/tiger-rescued-from-peru-circus-to-arrive-in-miami-on-earth-day

I Iz Cat did a blog post about Hoover’s arrival:  http://www.iizcat.com/post/3543/Lifetime-abused-circus-tiger-gets-his-fairy-tale-ending

True Viral News ran with Hoover’s story: http://trueviralnews.com/?p=74357

2015 article by ADI about Hoover’s rescue:  http://www.ad-international.org/animal_rescues/go.php?id=3927&ssi=24

Hoover flies into Miami International Airport (MIA) this evening and will arrive to a hero’s welcome! Join Big Cat Rescue in thanking everyone at MIA for welcoming Hoover with this 78-foot sign over the entrance to the airport!!

Hoover Home MIA Jumbo Tron700

#HooverHome @IflyMIA

Miami International Airport (MIA) arranged for elementary school children in the Miami area to write letters and create drawings welcoming Hoover tiger to his new Florida home at Big Cat Rescue!  #HooverHome  @IflyMIA

Kids Letters Welcome HooverHome

More about Hoover’s rescue in Peru below.

 

Hoover at the ADI Rescue Center in Peru

HooverADIRescueCenter1 HooverADIRescueCenter2 HooverFBFreedomSongADI

Hoover Tiger’s New Home at Big Cat Rescue

Hoover Tiger Lakeside

Note to the Press.  You can download the high res version of the above video by clicking Vimeo above, right and selecting the download icon on the page.  Feel free to cut the video into your own footage of Hoover’s arrival so that you can show your audience Hoover’s new world through his own perspective.

HooverTigersNewHomeDenPlatformSide HooverTigersNewHomeLake HooverTigersNewHomeLakeside HooverTigersNewHomePlatform HooverTigersNewHomeSwamp HooverTigersNewHomeWoods

HooverMensTeeBrown Hoover Tee Shirt

Donate now to help feed Hoover at https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9319

And more press on Hoover Tiger:

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Clay Center Dispatch – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Hastings Tribune – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Bryan-College Station Eagle – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog) – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) — A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. AnimalDefenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

TCPalm – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

NewsOK.com – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) — A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. AnimalDefenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

wflx – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

NBC2 News – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

News965 – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the catwas sick and emaciated and …

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Palm Beach Post – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

Rescued circus tiger from Peru gets new life at sanctuary

Washington Times – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
MIAMI (AP) – A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa. Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. The animal rescue group says the cat was sick and …

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

The Republic – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

Greenfield Daily Reporter – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
Animal Defenders International seized Hoover last year to enforce Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses. Theanimal rescue group says the cat was sick and emaciated and lived at a temporary rescue facility in Lima where he was rehabilitated for the 

A circus tiger from Peru is heading to his new home at a rescue facility in Tampa

Daily Journal – ‎Apr 23, 2016‎
He was flown into the Miami airport Friday night and taken to Big Cat Rescue Saturday. The 12-year-old tiger will enjoy a very spacious enclosure with lots of shady trees and grass. He’ll also have access to a spring-fed lake for swimming. Hoover’s 
Bengali

Bengali

hear big cats

Bengali

Male Siberian/Bengal Tiger

DOB 1/1/93 – 5/31/16

Arrived at Big Cat Rescue 12/5/2000

Bengali was First to Arrive and the Last to Leave

It was either late 1997 or maybe 1998 when a friend of mine walked into my office and said, “You have to see this!”
FlavioTigerTransportToBeastWagon

That led to a road trip to secretly meet with an elephant keeper who said that he just hated tigers and would do anything to get rid of them.  He was angry because his well hidden plot of dirt, where used elephants go to disappear, had been taken over by a long row of circus wagons full of tigers.  I could not believe my eyes when I saw circus wagon after wagon, each with a lone tiger and a water bowl and nothing else.

No shade, no toys, no place to lay except on the hot, hard floors of the iron barred cages.  The keeper said the cats had been there for a couple of years because they wouldn’t perform any more and that USDA was all over them about the conditions, but nobody wanted to spend money on building a retirement center for them because, unlike the elephants, breeding them wasn’t as lucrative.  There were plenty of back yard breeders who were using cubs for photo ops and then selling them to the circuses to be used.

That began 2 or 3 years of negotiations between me and the circus to get these cats out of the beast wagons and into our sanctuary.  I’d just lost my husband and the courts had seized our assets because we didn’t know where he’d gone, or if he’d be back.  His kids by a former wife didn’t want any more of “their money” being wasted on feeding and caring for lions, tigers and the other hundred or so exotic cats at the sanctuary.  I had to learn how to ask for money and help because I could only access a limited allowance, which was a third of what it cost to actually run the rescue.  There was no way I could afford to take the 20 tigers from the circus when I knew that each cat would cost me 7500.00 in just food and vet care (back then).

Enrichment-Tiger-Bengali-Halloween-Mummy_1177The negotiations ended with the agreement that the circus would build the cages and supply the food and vet care costs and I would take the cats who were currently sitting in Williston, FL and the rest of the tigers as they got ill or stopped performing until all 19 tigers and 1 leopard were here.  The caveat was that I could not tell anyone the name of the circus or they could take the cats back.  I held good to that promise because I shudder at the thought of where these cats could end up.

Just before Christmas in the year 2000 the first six tigers arrived: “the bengal” (because he never had a name and was just referred to by his breed), his brother, S.A.R.M.O.T.I., Nini, Axel, Buffy and Conan.  We added the i to Bengal to give him a proper name of Bengali.  Bengali and S.A.R.M.O.T.I. had been reported to have been born at the infamous Siegfried and Roy nightclub in Las Vegas, but because they were the “wrong” color (golden instead of white) they were handed off to the circus. They rode in a chariot behind horses, which had to be a torment to the horses, as well as the tigers, who were restrained (use your imagination for how, but I guarantee it wasn’t “positive reinforcement”) from doing what they would naturally do to horses.

Getting records from circuses and private owners always proves challenging.  The paperwork they arrived with said Bengali had been born in 1995, but later, one of the circus vets said they had records on him going back to 1993.  We discovered that back in 2013 when his brother S.A.R.M.O.T.I. died.  Whether he was 5 or 7 when he arrived; he was still a youngster.  Tigers usually don’t begin killing their owners and trainers until they are somewhere between 5 and 7, even though they can look full grown at a year or two.  When Bengali arrived his trainers said he was treacherous and would surely kill someone, but as soon as he had 2,000 square feet of space to himself, with a pond, cave, trees, bushes and grass, he became one of the happiest and most beloved of tigers who ever stepped foot on Tampa soil.

VR-Bengali-2014-12-11 09.47.58It was clear, as I tried to walk off the morning’s events, and saw ALL of our volunteers and interns crying, from one end of this 67 acre refuge to the other, that Bengal was leaving a hole in our hearts that nothing would ever fill.  Bengali’s health has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for the past several years.  He’s been treated for a recurring ear infection, and each time has bounced back, but a week or so ago he had a seizure and bit his tongue.  After that he didn’t want to eat and we couldn’t get him to take his meds.  Without his pain management meds, for all of his old cat issues, he felt worse.  The worse he felt, the less inclined he was to eat or take his pills.  When he had a second seizure and bit the other side of his tongue we knew that it was time to let him go.  He was the last of the cats from that circus.

We don’t know if he’s 21 or 23, but in either event, it’s twice as long as tigers usually live.  Bengali got to spend most of that surrounded by people who love him.  As we kneeled beside him for his last breaths I noticed again the scars on his elbows from the years of pacing around in the tiny circus wagon.  I couldn’t hold back the tears. None of us could. If you knew Bengali, then I know you are crying too.

Please don’t let his life in the circus, and that of all the cats who have lived and died in miserable little cages for the amusement of ignorant people, be in vain.  Please take the pledge to never go to a circus that uses wild animals and help end the suffering.  http://nocircustigers.com

 

More history of Bengali Tiger

A circus commissioned Big Cat Rescue to build him, as well as several other big cats, a 2,000 square foot enclosure with a den, pool, and lots of space to lay out by the lake and soak up the Florida sunshine. They could have sold him into the pet trade or worse, but instead they sent Bengali here.

Bengali used to ride on a horse drawn chariot in the circus. When he arrived we were told that he was very dangerous because he was so confrontational. It is amazing what a change in living conditions have done for this tiger. Since his days are no longer spent on the road living in a cramped transport crate, but rather playing with his giant red ball, soaking in his pool, napping high on top of his jungle gym platform, or chuffing at his visitors, he is a very happy tiger.

Bengali loves operant conditioning sessions. Operant conditioning is a form of training that utilizes positive reinforcement to encourage natural behaviors such as “sit” and “down.” Being able to have cats like Bengali perform these behaviors on command allows our veterinarians to get a much closer and hands off look during routine examinations.

Several years ago Bengali became ill. He had been losing interest in food and was losing weight. Thanks to Bengali’s operant conditioning the vet was able to draw blood from his tail without having to sedate him. His keepers asked Bengali to lay down and kept his focus on food rewards during the entire procedure.

 

 

 

Sponsor Bengali http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat

See More About Bengali Tiger:

September 2014 Video: Natalia Borrego, a doctoral research student from the University of Miami, conducts a research experiment with Bengali and some of the other tigers around the sanctuary. Turns out, Bengali is one smart feline (but we already knew that)! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd1jyaymOhg

See Jamie and Carole build a tunnel to get Bengali Tiger home from “vacation” in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 – http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-april-25-2014/

July 2013 Video: Independence Day at Big Cat Rescue! Watch Bengali, Shere Khan & China Doll create some purr-fect artwork to celebrate the 4th of July! *Using non-toxic paint and 4ft x 4ft canvases the tigers had a grrreat time making “art”!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNL-KeDlPAc

Video 45 seconds: Bengali loves his big red ball.  He is working hard trying to get it through the doorway between his two enclosures.  The ball is bigger than the door but Bengali is determined. http://bigcatrescue.org/bengali-the-tiger-tries-to-push-ball/

Photo: Bengali gets a new pool http://bigcatrescue.org/bengali-loves-new-cat-a-tat-and-pool/

December 2008 Video: Bengali has a habit of “playing” with his water bowl which actually means desctroying it.  His water bowl has been replaced a few times, watch this funny video to see how he keeps destroying his water bowl and what the staff has done to try to ‘fix’ the issue.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1ro89JLu_I

November 2006 Video: Bengali the tiger gets some new dirt and scratchin’ logs in his enclosure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mir6rAwsTTs

 

Teisha

Teisha

Final Report on Teisha Tiger

Teisha TigerMy hands were shaking, all the way up my arms and vibrating my torso.  It was the emotional tension of what was going to happen next and the physical tension of holding the Y pole in such a way to ensure that the vet wouldn’t take a bite to her face and making sure that the touch against Teisha’s neck was only feather light.  She had been sedated twenty minutes earlier and appeared to be completely unconscious but you just never know when a big cat will wake with no warning or if some muscle spasm might cause them to chomp at the air. Usually this was Jamie’s roll, but she was inbound on a flight from St. Kitts, where she and Dr. Justin Boorstein, her husband and our other volunteer vet, had been lecturing to the 200 vet students there.  Gale is much more experienced as a vet tech, and was assisting by holding off a vein to cause it to bulge enough so that Dr. Wynn could inject the pink liquid that would ease Teisha to whatever comes next.

The needle was thin, so I could see Dr. Wynn successfully struggling against the thick fluid.  She was trying desperately to make this last moment that Teisha had on this planet one that was filled with peace and a feeling of being surrounded by souls who loved her.  As usual, when cats are sedated, I was breathing in rhythm with her and watching every heart beat, in its tiniest movement of her thick fur and whiskers.  If you have ever had to euthanize a beloved pet, or sat by the bedside of a loved one who was dying, you know that mere seconds feel like an eternity.  A wash of memories flooded over me.

Years ago when Ohio finally outlawed the private possession of lions, tigers and other big cats, in the wake of the Zanesville massacre, there were a couple of loud mouths who vowed they would never comply with the law.  The reasons they gave, in the ensuing legal battles, was that there was no where for their cats to go.  I always assume these big cat breeders and exploiters are lying, but give them the benefit of the doubt and contact them to let them know that there are accredited sanctuaries who will make sure the cats will find permanent homes.  I contacted Stapleton but he didn’t return my emails or posts to his social pages.

When the Ohio Department of Agriculture enforced the law in 2015 I let them know that we and other sanctuaries, who are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, were standing by and willing to help.  Having dealt with us before, ODA knew that we were the best equipped to deal with the health issues they were seeing in one of Stapleton’s five tigers.  At the time of confiscation they noticed that she did not stand, even when darted.  When they asked if she was suffering some sort of disability, it’s reported that her owner casually said that she couldn’t walk because her cage mates beat her up all the time.

Once back at the state holding facility they treated her for deep punctures to her neck and back that appeared to have been from the other tigers biting her.  They noticed that she couldn’t walk and would lay in her own waste.  Because their temporary enclosures were cement floored, ODA asked if we would take her.  They knew that we have soft earthen floors, an amazing vet team, an abundance of professional animal care givers and the funding provided by our donors that would give Teisha every chance at recovery.  On October 21, 2015 our rescue team set out on the 15 hour drive to bring Teisha Tiger to Florida.

It’s been seven months, but it feels like it was yesterday that our team rolled Teisha out of the transport trailer and up to the side of the area that would be her new home. It took Teisha 3 hours to stand up and make it down the ramp we built from her rolling cage, which was only about 20 inches off the ground, to the deep soft sand of her 1200 square foot home.  She was exhausted from the ride and 60 pounds overweight, from getting a lousy diet and no exercise, for who knows how long.  Our first goal was to bring her weight down and see if that would enable her to walk.

Teisha TAs the pounds came off Teisha was able to go from dragging her back legs to actually standing on them and taking a few steps.  As she got stronger she was able to pull herself into and out of her pool and delighted everyone with her antics.  She would hold her breath and try to catch the little fish and would blow bubbles out her nose.  I remember Teisha getting her first Halloween pumpkin.  I loved seeing her enjoy a life, free from the abuse that had surely been inflicted on her by people and cage mates in that tiny, barren cage she lived in her 13 years prior.  All was seeming to progress well, albeit slowly for her, but then she began to relapse.  She walked less and less and by the end of April had begun to drag her back legs.

We had done X-rays that showed a narrowing of the spine, but couldn’t find a veterinarian who could do such delicate work without the benefit of an MRI.  On May 2, 2016 we found a vet who said she could do the surgery, and wanted the MRI to be done at her local facility in Gainesville.  We had reached the end of our ability to help Teisha.  As much as we hated the idea of loading her up for the 2.5 hour trip to the University of Florida’s Large Animal Hospital, we knew it was her only chance.  I never expected her to return from that trip as the stress of the MRI and surgery, either one, could be the end of her.

What the MRI showed was that there were 15 places along her back that had bulging discs and defects pinching her spinal cord.  The vet said they were so bad and had been going on for so long that there was nothing she could do surgically.  We thought that would be the end of it, but she encouraged us by suggesting that treating her with steroids could reduce the inflammation enough to give her relief and make it possible for her to walk again.

Teisha seemed game to try so we gave it our best.  She was a champ; always taking her meds (no easy feat as cats are notoriously hard to pill) and eating well.  Her keepers tried to use feeding time as physical therapy time to get her on her feet and maybe take a step or two so that her muscles wouldn’t atrophy.  Like before, she had a modest gain, but then relapsed again.  On May 24, 2016 she nearly choked to death because she couldn’t keep herself upright while eating.  Once she fell on her side, she could barely breathe well enough to cough the little square of meat back up.  We had to cut her food into tiny, tiny pieces to keep that from happening again.

On Friday she made her last tumbling, dragging walk from the side of her enclosure where she and the cat next door would chat, to the pool area lakeside.  Teisha laid there in the misting breeze of her fan, and looked out over the lake. She continued to eat and took her meds but her body was failing and she could no longer walk. When we saw that she was unable to get our of her own waste, we called the vet to come assess her condition.  Dr. Wynn was torn between knowing that euthanasia was the humane thing to do and the concern that Dr. Boorstein, who had been tending to Teisha during most of this, might feel that he should be here; but he was on a plane somewhere east of Cuba.  Teisha couldn’t bathe herself and flies were gathering.  I didn’t want even one more fly to land on this precious tiger.  I told her Dr. Justin would be fine with our decision to end the suffering.

So here we were.  It’s one of those awful decisions that has to be made because an animal just can’t go another hour or another day, but it fell on Memorial Day.  Like Simba Tiger, all those years ago on Thanksgiving, a holiday just makes the situation worse because you are sure to re live it every year on that day.  As hard as it was for everyone involved here, we all loved Teisha too much to make her wait.

Her breathing stopped, and I found myself holding my breath, until I realized that it was her last.  Dr. Wynn checked her heart with the stethoscope, but I could see there was no more gentle thumping beneath the fur.  Teisha was gone and the only thing that kept me from breaking down and sobbing over her lifeless body was the anger I felt at a society that allowed her abuse.  Teisha’s passing furthers my resolve to end the private possession of big cats.  No tiger should ever be bred to be used as an ego prop and then relegated to a nasty backyard cage to be denied everything that makes tigers the regal, untouchable creatures they were designed to be.

Take Action buttonIf Teisha’s story touched your heart, please call your legislator today and ask them to champion the BigCatAct.com  Don’t let her suffering have all been in vain.

Tributes to Teisha Tiger:  https://sites.google.com/site/bigcattributes/home/teisha-tiger

Below was the rescue story and updates on Teisha

Big Cat Rescuers Have Rescued a 13-Year-Old Tiger Named Teisha from Ohio…


DONATE HERE TO HELP US CONTINUE TO RESCUE CATS LIKE TEISHA

On Monday, October 5, 2015, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office took possession of 5 tigers from Mike Stapleton, owner of Paws & Claws Animal Sanctuary near Columbus.

Stapleton has been battling state officials to keep his tigers ever since Ohio legislators enacted an exotic animal law that went into effect almost two years ago. Authorities arrived prepared to seize Stapleton’s cats after he had vowed to never give up his cats, but in the end Stapleton peacefully surrendered his cats. All 5 cats will be placed in approved sanctuaries outside of Ohio.

Teisha TigerWhen we learned that Teisha – a 13-year-old tiger, in such bad shape that she was unable to walk, and didn’t move even during the chaos and darting when authorities took possession of her two weeks ago – we immediately offered to bring Teisha to Big Cat Rescue where we can provide her with the best possible medical and dental care and nutrition.

It is our understanding that Stapleton told people on the scene Teisha had been injured by the other tigers in the cage, who constantly picked on her. It’s doubtful that a vet ever examined Teisha before ODA rescued her.  The ODA vets treated her for deep puncture wounds, and heavy parasite loads upon arrival.

Four Big Cat Rescuers left Tampa on Wednesday, October 21, for the 15-hour drive up to Ohio with our transport carrier. They drove straight through and met with Ohio authorities this morning and took possession of Teisha. They are now en route back to Tampa with their precious cargo.

Until we get Teisha to Big Cat Rescue on Friday, and our vets can examine her at our Windsong Memorial Hospital, we are not sure what her exact condition is and how serious her injuries are.

We do know that for the first week after she was rescued by ODA, she did not stand and just peed and defecated while laying down. The ODA vets put her on pain medication and she has begun getting up and walking a little bit. It’s heartbreaking to speculate how long Teisha has been in pain but not receiving any medication while owned by Stapleton.

ODA also told us Teisha may have some bad teeth, which is sadly very common for cats who are pulled from their mothers at birth to be used as photo props and fed an improper diet. When big cats lack calcium, they pull it from their bones before pulling it from their own teeth. This is nature’s way as tigers would not be able to survive if they can’t chew. So that means tigers like Teisha who have bad teeth also suffer from very fragile bones. This may be why she can’t walk.

We will post updates about Teisha and her prognosis as we can. It is only because of our amazing donors like YOU that Big Cat Rescue can save these cats! THANK YOU for your continuing support of our work and our sanctuary!

DONATE HERE TO HELP US CONTINUE TO RESCUE CATS LIKE TEISHA


Rescue Photos

 

See all of the photos of Teisha the tiger as we get them here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153390842851919.1073741904.595786918&type=1&l=33a4b86167

#bigcatrescue @bigcatrescue #truth

Update 5/30/16

Even with the steroid therapy, recommended after seeing the results of her MRI, Teisha Tiger continued to worsen.  On May 24 she nearly choked to death because she wasn’t mobile enough to cough up small chunk of meat.  We began cutting her food into even smaller pieces, and feeding her on a stick to make it easier on her, but on Friday, the 27th she took her last walk.  She walked out to her pool, where she could lay in the misting breeze of her fan, and look out over the lake.  She continued to eat and took her meds but her body was failing and she could no longer walk.  When we saw that she was unable to get our of her own waste, we called the vet to come ease her to the other side. Her transition was peaceful and her suffering has ended, but we will miss her gentle spirit.

Take Action buttonDon’t let Teisha’s suffering be in vain. You should know that whenever someone poses with a cub for a photo, or pays to see cubs on display, that they have contributed to this sort of suffering that goes on behind closed gates all around the world.  

Update 5/5/16

This video clip is 3 days after Teisha’s MRI.

Tiesha Tiger has had mobility issues since she was rescued from Ohio in October of 2015.  These could have been caused from inbreeding, poor nutrition due to being pulled from her mother to be a plaything, injuries from being passed around, and from being beaten up by her cage mates when she was no longer a cute cub. When she first arrived she was too heavy and unhealthy to sedate, so we put her on a diet to get her a little bit leaner so we could sedate her.

The x-rays showed she had arthritis all along her spine. She was put on medication to help with inflammation and pain. Still, her condition worsened, so we decided to take her to the University of Florida for a full exam.

There she had an MRI which showed she had several bulging discs putting pressure all along her spine especially in her neck.  The specialist said that surgery was not an option because of the number of areas that would have to be repaired, however they did think that steroids would help her greatly.  The vet said that Teisha has been in this condition for many years.

Since her return those who have seen her may have noticed that she is a lot worse than when she left.  She can barely move her back legs and she cannot stand up and walk on her own.  This can be a result of being sedated and manipulated for the exam and MRI.

If you think about if any of you have had a hurt back in the past know that if you move a certain way it will hurt so you either brace yourself or move a different way.  Being sedated Tiesha may have been moved in ways that put pressure on her spine increasing Inflammation or worst-case furthering the damage to her spinal cord.  It could take several days for the inflammation to go down and for her to go back to normal for her.  In the meantime we have her on the new medication which can take up to two weeks to show their full effects.

Our vets will be watching her closely over the next few days and observing her quality-of-life.  We may be trying K-laser therapy as well.  If it seems that she is not going to improve we will have to make the decision to let her go.

 

Update 5/2/2016

There’s just something about Teisha.  I fell in love with her at first glance and she’s had a similar effect on just about everyone she has met.  You see in her such a playful peaceful spirit, despite having been treated so badly by humans and her own kind.  Cats hate diets as much as people do; maybe more, because eating is the highlight in their day.  It’s been especially hard to restrict her food, and bring her down to a weight that her pinched spine can support, because she looks at you with those enormous golden eyes, that plead, “Just one more, please?”

Most places feed fat scraps to their cats because they can get it for free, but the result is cats that are morbidly obese, like Teisha and her cage mates all were. Even without the spinal injuries, it would have been very hard for her bones and back to carry so much weight, so she had to lose some weight.  From Oct till April she’s gone from looking like a beached whale (361 lbs) to looking like a fit tiger (326 lbs), but her ability to get around has only improved slightly.  Even with those improvements she has bad days where all she can do is drag her back end.  Since her arrival our vets have been in consultation with specialists from all over trying to find someone who could do the delicate spinal surgery if an MRI shows that could improve her condition.

Thanks to wonderful donors we were able to do the X-rays on site, in our own Windsong Memorial Hospital, and we see a narrowing of the spine that could be the culprit.  It’s just impossible to tell if that would be operable without an MRI, so this morning, after weeks of arrangements were finalized, Teisha Tiger is on her way to the University of Florida’s state of the art, large animal veterinary hospital.  Because the MRI takes so long, and keeping a big cat sedated is such a dangerous proposition for the cat, they will probably do the MRI today and then, if they think she is operable, will do the operation tomorrow.  Our President, Jamie Veronica, and her husband and vet, Dr. Justin Boorstein will stay with her in Gainesville.

Teisha’s prognosis is not good.  I tearfully said “goodbye” to her as we shut the trailer doors, because I don’t expect to see her again.  Everything about this is hard for her.  The trip is long and miserable, even though she has A/C, C02 monitors and CCTV.  Sedation is extremely dangerous in big cats and that alone can kill them.  Our vets know what they are doing, but UF probably will insist that only their vets be in charge, and they probably don’t treat as many tigers as our vets do.  Spinal surgery, if that is the option they choose, has all of its own risks, that are further complicated by the sedation for such a long, tedious process.  Then there is that long ride home, after just having had surgery.  It’s all a rotten hand that Teisha has been dealt, but if we can give her a good quality of life in the end, it will be worth it.  And it will be worth the $6,000 that UF said it might cost us.

Give to Big Cat Rescue

Donating to our general food fund helps us cover the daily costs of caring for so many big cats so that we can afford to give Teisha the medical care that could save her life.

 

Video Update on Teisha 10 25 15

 


WHY Change Name from Keisha to Teisha?

We always try to keep a cat’s name, but at Big Cat Rescue we have protocols that demand every Keeper post observations to a database that shares the info with the CEO, President, Ops Mgr, maintenance crew and the Vets if it is a medical related post. Each cat has to have a unique name in the database.

We have had cats with the same name before, like Cleo Cougar, Cleo Serval and Cleo Bobcat, but we already had a Keisha Tiger. Calling the new cat Teisha Tiger makes sure that her observations records are unique to her and sounds similar enough to her that we hope she will just pass it off as a regional accent.

Cats are masters at hiding symptoms when they are ill. Daily observations are crucially important to managing health. That observations database is vital part of the daily care so a unique name is a must.

Teisha is an Arabic name that means Alive and Well, which is our goal for her.


October 25, 2015 Teisha got her first perfume tube and she certainly enjoyed sinking her claws and teeth into it.

New rescue tiger, Teisha, enjoyed her first perfume tube.


 


UPDATE: When we first saw how crippled she was, we thought we would have to sedate her, yet again, to do Xrays and maybe an MRI, but on the same pain management drugs that our other arthritic cats are on, she’s doing great, so we will just watch her closely and see how she does as she loses all of that excess weight.


VIDEO – Join the crew on the road trip to pick up Teisha and see how she is doing now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPhX5t18zSQ


Early November 2015 – Teisha’s 1st Pumpkin at Big Cat Rescue.

Teisha T


November 8, 2015 – Teisha Tiger is settling in nicely. She is beginning to look forward to her enrichment goodies and is learning which keepers clean and which keepers bring treats and what time breakfast is etc.

Teisha Tiger is settling in nicely. She is beginning to look forward to her enrichment goodies and is learning which keepers clean and which keepers bring treats and what time breakfast is etc.


November 12th, 2015 – Teisha mastered getting in and out of her pool yesterday.  Today, she has been in and out a few times. HAPPY TIGER

Teisha-1st-time-in-pool-IMG_0008-WP

Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmaVJ-qdawk


 

 

InSitu

InSitu

Big Cat Rescue’s In Situ Conservation Work

2016 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats

International Tiger Day July 29th

International-Tiger-DayIn celebration of International Tiger Day 2016, Big Cat Rescue and Clemson University Tigers for Tigers are teaming 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 onJuly 29th, Big Cat Rescue and Clemson T4T have 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

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.