4/5/2016 USFWS announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since at least 2007 to rescind this loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Read more.
Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USDA since the 90’s and USFWS since at least 2007 to end cub handling and rescind the generic tiger loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. According to their Q&A it sounds like the USFWS may still rubber stamp activities that really don’t help tiger conservation, but it’s a step. USDA only banned the contact with cubs under four weeks, but that is a step too.
So What’s Next?
Regulations can’t work, because USDA and USFWS don’t have the resources nor apparently the will to enforce the weak rules they have, so that is why we need an all out ban on the private possession of big cats. You can help get that done at http://BigCatAct.com
Don’t Forget Your Favorite Mom
These gifts have been hand selected by our online Gift Shop manager to bring you the best gifts for Mom, and in time for her special day if you order now. Shop for Mom and Save Big Cats Too!
To Celebrate Mother’s Day Will You Help Us “Mother” Our Foster Kittens?
Did you know that Big Cat Rescue fosters domestic kittens until they are old enough to be adopted? In the last 3 years our interns and volunteers have mothered literally hundreds of foster kittens! See some of the little cuties and find out more at http://bigcatrescue.org/mother-foster-kittens/
Big Cat Rescue’s In Situ Conservation Work 2016
dOnce a month, a volunteer or intern is selected for outstanding service to the cats. Big Cat Rescue rewards them by making a $1,000 donation to conservation projects in their honor. So far this year Big Cat Rescue has donated to the following projects to save wild cats in the wild.
Big 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.
In February 2016, BCR donated $2,000 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.
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.
Big Cat Rescue donated $1,000 to the first-ever study on the ecology and behavior of the Sand Cat in Morocco. Learn more about these projects at http://bigcatrescue.org/insitu/
We are thrilled to announce a fantastic matching funds opportunity to help Big Cat Rescue purchase a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine so that we can continue to provide the best veterinary care possible.
While our x-ray machine is critical for examining bone structure it has limited capacity for evaluating organs. An ultrasound machine is more suited for examining soft tissue. Currently our vet team relies on a physical exam, blood work and x-rays to determine the cause of a cat’s illness. If the cause is not readily apparent using these tools, they must perform an invasive exploratory surgery.
It is critically important that the person operating the ultrasound machine be trained and have extensive experience reading sonograms. If we purchased a standard ultrasound machine, we would have to incur the logistical issues and cost of bringing in an expert technician each time we needed to use it. This is not practical because in many cases we would not know if we were going to need to do an ultrasound until after we take x-rays. If we did need to do it, we would have to do it immediately while the cat was sedated and would not have time to arrange for a technician.
The specialized machine we need solves this problem in an ingenious way. It has a camera mounted to it and an Internet connection to a board certified technician who will guide our vet via camera to make sure they get the best possible sonogram images and will aid in correctly reading the images.
The specialized one we need for our cats costs $50,000. The great news is that the Reitzel Foundation has stepped up and pledged a dollar-for-dollar match up to $25,000! So your much needed and greatly appreciated donation toward our ultrasound machine for the cats will go twice as far! Thank you for continuing to support our cats and our sanctuary. This ultrasound machine will make a world of difference in the lives of our precious cats.
If you would like to contribute to the matching fund, please donate here. Thanks!
Thor, the bobcat who was hit in the head by a car, and lived to tell about it, has been healing in the onsite cat hospital. The last two items to check off his list are to be sure that the injured eye won’t be a hazard for him and to see him get back into hunting condition. His last eye check by veterinary ophthalmologist, Tammy Miller, indicates that the eye is doing well, even if not visual and you can log in and watch him daily on the Bobcat Rehab webcam provided by explore.org at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release
Hamburger Mary’s Event
It was a gaudy night of fun and bingo last week that raised $1,100.00 for the cats!
YOUR VOICE NEEDED TODAY TO SPEAK OUT FOR TIGER CUBS BEING EXPLOITED!
The notorious Robert Engesser and his traveling roadside zoo Jungle Safari are RIGHT NOW exploiting a tiger cub by charging the public to pose for photos with the cub. Adult tigers as well as many other animals are in tiny cages in the parking lot of the Ozark Shopping Center in Ozark, Alabama. Plus, Dothan’s ABC news station WDHN News aired a “news” piece about the deplorable zoo and gushed about how wonderful it was to have wild animals in a parking lot!
Engesser claims the exhibit is an “educational zoo.” This shopping center is owned and operated by the City of Ozark under the auspices of the Ozark City Council. It’s time to let WDHN as well as the Mayor of Ozark and City Council members know that cub petting is not “educational” or “humane,” and that by supporting it, they’re supporting animal abuse and the wildlife trade.
Have you always wanted a career in wild animal care or management?
Zoo College is modeled after the Keeper Training offered at Big Cat Rescue. It is the only online, virtual training center, where you can test your skills against real life animal care challenges. The lessons you will learn have been tested and improved over more than 20 years in dealing with some of the most dangerous and majestic carnivores on the planet.
Before now, the only way to get this extensive zookeeper training was to volunteer or intern at Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, FL. Minimum time requirements for onsite training range from four hours a week to 16 hours per week. Due to the danger involved in caring for lions, tigers, ligers, leopards and other wild cats, it takes two years of training to achieve proficiency, so it would mean years of commitment for you to progress through that experience.
With Zoo College you can pace yourself and test your knowledge, using all of the same teaching guides, videos and methods, before making such a huge commitment of time or finances for a biology degree that won’t give you any real sense of what it means to care for wild animals in a zoo or sanctuary setting.
Because we are still in Beta and working out the bugs, we are offering the course for only $9 per month. Check it out at Zoo College
Did you know that Big Cat Rescue fosters domestic kittens until they are old enough to be adopted? In the last 3 years our interns and volunteers have mothered literally hundreds of foster kittens!
This includes mommy cats with babies, bottle feeder kittens without mommies, kittens under 2 lbs. (the legal weight to spay & neuter them), and feral kittens that need to be socialized. Big Cat Rescue’s amazing interns – who live on property and ADORE kittens!! – care for the kittens from the time they arrive to the time they are brought back to the Humane Society for adoption. That’s a lot of love, nurturing, care and socializing!
When the kittens are old enough to have their first vaccines and have been SNAP tested (for Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia), they can spend their days in our Kitten Cabana while the interns are working at the sanctuary. Volunteers who have taken our Kitten Playtime Class can go into the Kitten Cabana to play with and socialize them. Playing with kittens! Yippee. Friendly kittens have a much better chance of being adopted. WATCH OUR KITTENS LIVE DURING THE DAY in the Kitten Cabana at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-kitten-cabana
Big Cat Rescue provides the kittens with food, formula, litter, crates, carriers, bottles, toys, cat trees, catnip, heating pads, scales, nebulizers, intern housing, Internet for webcams and emergency care. If YOU would like to help support our Foster Kitten Program and “mother” our tiny charges, DONATE HERE
Or we can always use these supplies for our kittens: Purina Kitten Chow, plain clay litter (no clumping), wet food, soft blankets, towels, toys, beds, heating pads and kitten nursing supplies. Easy to order from our Amazon Wishlist.
SPAY AND PLAY – One more really cool thing…we put our mouth where are paws are! If you bring us an original receipt from your vet showing that you spayed or neutered a pet, or a receipt from an animal shelter showing that you adopted a spayed or neutered pet within the past year, Big Cat Rescue will give you a FREE PASS for our Day Tour. That’s a $36.00 value! If you are the kind of person who cares enough to protect your pet or feral cats from over population and all the horrors that go with it, then you are the kind of person we want to meet! See Day Tours for times and tell the Ticket agent you have a Free Pass to redeem.
“We applaud USDA for taking this first step to put roadside zoos and the public on notice that federal law prohibits using infant cubs for photographic opportunities and interactive experiences,” said Anna Frostic, senior attorney for wildlife & animal research at The Humane Society of the United States, “but it is imperative that the agency take additional action to prohibit public contact with big cats, bears and nonhuman primates of any age.”
As documented in the petition, dozens of facilities across the country routinely breed and acquire exotic feline species – all of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act – to produce an ample supply of cubs for profit. “Both animals and people are put in harm’s way when big cats are used for public contact exhibition – young cubs are particularly susceptible to disease, especially when deprived of necessary maternal care, and cubs quickly grow into dangerous predators that can cause serious injury to adults and children,” said Jeff Flocken, North America regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
In contrast to zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, “there are thousands of big cats in private menageries in the U.S., and these facilities do not have the resources or expertise to safely and responsibly care for dangerous wild animals,” said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society. Conservation professionals agree that endangered and threatened species like tigers, lions, and apes should not be bred for commercial purposes.
“The insatiable demand for cubs and baby primates used at interactive exhibits fuels a vicious cycle of breeding and exploitation. It is standard in this horrific industry to separate babies from their mothers, and then discard them when they grow too big for handling,” explained Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA.
The mass propagation of tigers in the U.S. has resulted in a captive population that is nearly twice the number of tigers that exist in the wild. “Cubs used for petting, if they survive, typically spend many years living in substandard facilities and the few who are lucky enough to eventually end up at good sanctuaries typically arrive with medical issues caused by deficient care,” said Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue.
In addition to these animal welfare, public safety and conservation concerns, “the surplus of exotic animals in roadside zoos and other substandard facilities puts an enormous financial burden on the accredited sanctuaries that provide lifetime care for abandoned and seized animals,” according to Michael Markarian, president of The Fund for Animals.
Investigations have revealed that using tiger cubs for photo ops and play sessions can yield over $20,000 per month for a roadside zoo, fueling demand for more and more cubs – but once the cats mature, their future is uncertain. “There is just not enough space or resources at accredited sanctuaries to support the demand created by this irresponsible breeding,” said Kellie Heckman, executive director of Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Further, “the fate of captive tigers in the U.S. has serious implications for the conservation of tigers in the wild,” said Leigh Henry, senior policy advisor for Wildlife Conservation at World Wildlife Fund, “strengthened regulation of U.S. captive tigers will help ensure that captive-bred tiger parts don’t enter the black market and stimulate the demand that drives the poaching of wild tigers.”
While there is still much more work to be done to fully address the coalition’s petition to completely prohibit public contact with big cats, bears and nonhuman primates of any age, this is a significant step forward for the U.S. to improve its oversight of captive tigers and lead by example to encourage other countries, like China, to reduce the demand for tigers and tiger products.
These web cams are usually on domestic cat kittens that we are fostering for adoption, but are sometimes on the exotic cats in our on site Cat Hospital so that we can monitor their progress when they are recovering. We do not breed exotic cats. Find out why no legitimate sanctuary breeds animals.
Bean was sedated because he was losing his appetite and we thought the culprit may be cancer as he also had a mass that had developed on his foot. We sedated him and removed the mass, and at the time his blood work appeared to be pretty average for an animal his age. We did not find any other possible causes for his inappetence at the time of his exam, so it was thought that perhaps the mass on his foot was painful and that may have led to him not wanting to eat. The mass was removed and tested negative for cancer.
Normally we would have liked him to recover indoors for at least a week before going back to his enclosure, but he was so unhappy in the hospital that we decided to move him back out early. During this time he also had been refusing to eat. Sometimes the animals can get very upset about being kept in a new environment and will refuse to eat. However, when he was moved back out to his enclosure he still refused to eat. We believed that this was most likely due to having been captured, sedated, and kept inside for a couple days and that by moving him back outside it would pass.
When it did not we decided to set up a hospital sized cage for him attached to his own enclosure. This way we could provide him the fluids and medications he needed. (Because he was not eating, he was not taking his meds.) We have to give the fluids and medications a minimum of 2-3 days to take effect. During this time and because he had been refusing to eat we also had to syringe feed him a little food. This was done once a day at the same time as his fluids and meds. The reason this is so important is because if an animal does not eat for a certain period of time their gi tract can actually stop working and even if the animal starts to feel better they will not eat. By giving him some food via syringe it keeps his stomach and intestines functioning until he hopefully would feel better. Syringe feeding is always a last choice after offering a big variety of foods multiple times a day either on a plate or via a long stick. We typically will only syringe feed an animal in this type of situation 2-3 days. Today is Bean’s third day of receiving fluids, medications, and syringe feeding. He still has not turned the corner and so our vet will be examining him later on today. It is likely that we will have to euthanize him as we cannot let him continue to go on without eating. While we are very sad about this outcome, we know that we have done absolutely everything we could have done for him.
If you have followed Thor Bobcat’s rescue. He was a FL bobcat who was hit by a car. He broke several bones in his jaw and face. After having these breaks repaired he absolutely refused to eat. He went days without eating and became very weak. We feared that despite receiving the care he needed to repair his injuries that Thor did not have the will to go on. After trying all of our usual tactics of lots of different kinds of meats both on a plate and at the end of a stick we resorted to syringe feeding him a meat slushie. We did this for a few days and he bounced back and began eating on his own. He is now very strong and healthy and will be released back out into the wild in the coming months.
So as you can see, syringe feeding is sometimes necessary to give the medications a chance to work and to keep the digestive system functioning. Sometimes it works, and other times it does not. When it does work it is completely worth it and saves the animal’s life. When it does not work at least we know there is nothing else we could have done for the animal.
President of Big Cat Rescue –
A permanent sanctuary for big cats &
rehabilitation center for native FL bobcats
We are a sanctuary, not a zoo, so our animals come first. We do not allow people to wander around unescorted. Our tours are all guided and provide an educational experience that includes the plight of big cats in the wild and in captivity and what you can do to save them. You will be expected to follow these Tour Rules.
In Florida, weather is always an issue. In the summer it rains frequently, but often only for a few minutes. If you have paid for a tour and get rained out during your tour, we will give you a free pass to come back. Because the cats are spooked by umbrellas, they are not allowed but you should bring a rain coat or poncho if it looks like rain. Tours will be canceled during lightening storms. Paths are frequently muddy so closed toed, old, comfortable shoes are recommended.
You may bring your own cold drinks or buy ours but either way, be prepared for the heat.
You are welcome to take photos and video on the tour, but leave the tripods at home, or purchase a private tour. We ask everyone on the tour to stay together, no smoking, no cell phone calls and respect the tour guides warnings so that you have the best possible experience.
If you are traveling with pets, you cannot bring them onto the property. Florida law (and common sense) prohibit you from leaving them in your car, even with the A/C running.