Carole Baskin

Carole Baskin

Carole Baskin Founder of Big Cat Rescue

CEO AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. She runs a real estate business and manages 100+ volunteers and interns from around the world and 20 staff and contractors. She has run this Tampa based non profit since 1992 and has garnered international attention to the plight of captive big cats on CNN, Animal Planet, Discovery, U.S. News & World Report, People Magazine, The Today Show, Sports Illustrated, all of the local media outlets and many more national and international programs. She is the host of the Cat Chat Show, a weekly, live interview with cat experts from around the world. 

She has lectured in Costa Rica, Panama and many cities across the U.S. on legislative affairs, and sanctuary standards in Universities, Law Colleges, and in numerous animal association conferences. Her efforts, combined with many others of like mind, have resulted in the 2003 passage of the Captive Wild Animal Safety Act which made it illegal to sell a big cat across state lines as a pet, the 2009 requirement that those in Florida who possess Class I animals must post a $10,000 bond and the reclassification of a cougar to Class I, making it illegal to own as a pet in FL. 

Carole Baskin

As part of the Big Cat Coalition she has worked with The International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, Born Free, the World Wildlife Fund, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Wild Cat Conservation Legal Aid Society, World Council for Animal Rights, the Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, Ian Somerhalder Foundation, and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Together they represent more than 18 million supporters. 

The coalition formed in 2011 and decided on a three prong approach to ending the abuse of tigers including; Closing the generic tiger loophole at the USFWS, Asking USDA to close the 4 week window of cub petting and a federal bill that ends the breeding and trade in big cats outside of AZA zoos. By 2013 the USFWS and the USDA had put the group’s suggestions on the Federal Register for public comment and had received nearly 30,000 comments in support. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, a federal bill to stop public handling of big cats and their cubs and ending the private possession of big cats is gaining momentum and is poised for passage. 

Carole Baskin’s mission is to end the trade in exotic cats and thus put herself out of business.

A typical week in Carole’s life usually includes a bobcat call:  http://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-rescue-sparta-georgia/

Chuck is Carole’s only brother, she is the daughter of Vernon and Barbara, and is Jamie’s mother.  She is married to Howard.

Meet the Big Cat Rescue Team. See a typical day at the sanctuary.

Carole Baskin Speaks Out for the Florida Panther

 

 

 

September 2, 2015 address to the FWC in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Some Articles About Carole Baskin

 

2015  From Exotic Pet Breeder to Big Cat Rescuer: My Journey Towards Understanding One Green Planet

2015  Big Cat Rescue: remembering every large & exotic cat  Animals 24/7

2007 She’s a Tiger  Tampabay CEO Magazine

2006 My Wife is Not a Don’t Glamour Magazine

 

Some High Profile Article’s Quoting Carole Baskin

 

Mario Tabraue expose by Mother Jones

Nat Geo Wild Asks, “Are Sanctuaries Good for Wild Animals?”

National Geographic article on exotic animals as pets called Wild Obsession

 

 

Television Appearances by Carole Baskin

 

Animal Planet’s Fatal Attraction 3 episodes involving tigers from 2011

CNN with Jane Velez Mitchell 2011

Jack Hanna Show 1998

Dateline 1997

More news appearances, videos, articles and quotes here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/media/

 

Books

 

Books written by Carole Baskin or written by others and featuring Carole Baskin and Big Cat Rescue

 

Carole Baskin’s History

Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited rescue facility for exotic cats. She and her family volunteer for Big Cat Rescue as unpaid staff and have 100+ volunteers and a dozen interns from around the world. She has run this Tampa based non profit since 1992 and you may have seen Big Cat Rescue on CNN, Animal Planet, Discovery, People Magazine, The Today Show, Sports Illustrated, all of the local media outlets and many more national and international programs. She has been asked to provide lectures in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, and Australia, as well as countless cities across the U.S. She has lectured on cage construction, legislative affairs, and sanctuary standards in Universities, Law Colleges, and in numerous animal association conferences.

She has successfully rehabbed and released a number of bobcats and other native animals. Big Cat Rescue is accredited by The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and Carole Baskin served as a past President of, The Association of Sanctuaries (a national accrediting body that later folded into GFAS and is to sanctuaries what the American Zoological Association is to zoos.

She previously served on the board of the Humane USA PAC and had been the legislative liaison to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, and was responsible for representing The Association of Sanctuaries at their meetings. She supplies CWAPC with all of the current data on exotic cat issues, including the numbers being displaced, the maulings, escapes and killings of both the public and the cats involved. She scans the media daily for news regarding exotic cats and reports to some 300 people of three different groups with the daily headlines.

In 2005 she was appointed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair as a member of the Animal Advisory Committee to assist Animal Services in their service to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and was unanimously elected as Chairperson the following year. Big Cat Rescue is a member of the International Tiger Coalition, Florida Association of the Restoration of Ethics, a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, The Tampabay Visitors and Convention Bureau, and many other animal welfare groups.

Big Cat Rescue assists other accredited sanctuaries by helping them build cages, train their volunteers and they lend their people and resources to help them recover from natural and man made disasters. Big Cat Rescue is licensed by and in good standing with FWC, USFWS, USDA and is registered with the state of Florida as a charity.

Big Cat Rescue’s founder, Carole Baskin, with members of the  Humane USA’s staff and board of directors.

Transparency Notification:

In their role as a current board member this person is not independent and is a voting member in 2016.

The CEO’s pay is determined based upon others in the industry and her performance, which is reviewed by the board annually.

Howard Baskin

Howard Baskin

HOWARD BASKIN

SECRETARY, TREASURER, ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Howard-Baskin-TigerHoward Baskin is a retired management consultant who worked with early stage and fast growing companies in the areas of strategic planning, finance and operations.  He spent 11 years at Citicorp in various assignments, most recently as Director of Strategic Planning for the Commercial Real Estate Division.  After leaving Citicorp in 1991 he was an equity participant and general manager in three companies, one of which he co-founded.  He now devotes full time to Big Cat Rescue and serves on the Audit Committee.

Other civic activities include serving three years on the Board of Directors of the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and serving as first Chairman of its Performance Oversight and Monitoring Committee and member of it External Relations Committee.  He also is a past member of The Rotary Club of Tampa, serving as Chairman of the Community Service Committee and on the Board of Directors.

Howard received his B.S. cum laude from Union College, Schenectady, NY in 1972, his J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1978 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1980.

Listen to a radio interview with Howard Baskin done by one of the Cox Radio stations in 2012.

Howard met Carole at the launch party for No More Homeless Pets in 2002 and they married in 2004.

Meet the Big Cat Rescue Team. See a typical day at the sanctuary.

 

U.S. News and World Report

Where Work Really Is a Zoo

 

By Kerry Hannon

Posted October 25, 2007

 

Howard Baskin admits that a few homeless cats have won his heart over the years, but saving abandoned and abused lions, lynxes, and leopards was by no means his dream, let alone his passion. When it came to giving to animal causes, he might write a modest check to the Humane Society of the United States. His world was finance and marketing.

Yet there’s no denying that a stroll where he works at the 45-acre Big Cat Rescue, a nonprofit educational sanctuary in Tampa, one of the largest in the world devoted to the big cats, leaves him inspired.

This is where Bengal tigers, African lions, snow leopards, bobcats, and other exotic cats recline gracefully on tree limbs, stretch languidly in their dens, or splash playfully in ponds amid shady oaks and palmettos. In all, there are 140 feline residents with permanent homes here. “Looking at these animals and realizing that I’ve been able to make a difference in the quality of their lives and securing their future is wonderful,” he says.

Baskin, 57, isn’t one of the cats’ caregivers, but he uses his financial acumen to ensure they live a healthful life. With a Harvard M.B.A. and a law degree, he spent the first 11 years of his career at Citicorp, rising to become director of strategic planning for the commercial real-estate division in New York. “Working in a small business had always been my plan, but I kept getting interesting jobs at the bank,” he recalls.

Finally, in 1991, he left Citi to work as a management consultant for a succession of small companies. Eight years later, he opted for a less stressful pace, consulting part time and freeing up time for tennis and leisurely rounds of golf. But something was missing.

And in 2003, just a few years into his semiretired bachelor life, he did an about-face. Before he knew it, he had ramped up to 60-hour workweeks at the sanctuary and agreed to take charge of its finances free. Sure, Baskin is fond of the cats, but it was another love that inspired him. His wife, Carole, whom he met in 2002 and married in 2004, founded the 15-year-old sanctuary and is ceo.

“I kind of married into this transition, although it was of course my choice, not a requirement,” Baskin says. “I fell in love with her. One thing that drew me to her was her passion for the mission and the excitement of working for a cause, not just living.”

Take Nikita, for example. The 6-year-old lioness spent her first year living on a concrete slab, chained to a wall by a drug dealer in Nashville. She was discovered in a raid and arrived at Big Cat five years ago with sores on her elbows the size of tennis balls.

Purrfect fit. Not all of the cats were abused. Some were abandoned by owners who could no longer afford to care for them. Others were retired from circus acts, rescued from fur farms, or obtained from roadside zoos that had fallen on hard times. Baskin came well prepared to bolster the sanctuary’s shaky financial underpinnings. The small firms where he used to work ran the gamut from a bridge builder to a foundry to an audiovisual firm. They were businesses where finances were in disarray when he arrived. Someone had to figure out how to get things organized and create systematic controls.

Visitors who take educational tours of Big Cat have doubled since 2003, to 26,000 last year. Revenues from contributions rose 50 percent in 2006 alone. The annual Fur Ball, the chief fundraiser, brought in an estimated $100,000 in October, up from $17,000 five years ago. Carole has had time to advocate for laws to crack down on illegal animal dealers and implement humane care standards for the cats.

Although Baskin would like to spend a bit more time on the golf course, there’s little other downside. His full-time consulting income, which often topped six figures, had already been trimmed, and he had a thrifty lifestyle, enough savings, and growing retirement funds.

“I don’t take a traditional salary, but, in reality, I get a double payback. I not only get to do something for the cats,” he says as he watches Nikita devour her afternoon “bloodsicle” snack. “I feel like I am contributing to the world. More importantly, I get to make Carole happy. That’s my No. 1 goal.” Spoken like a true newlywed.

http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/careers/2007/10/25/where-work-really-is-a-zoo.html“I don’t take a traditional salary, but, in reality, I get a double payback. I not only get to do something for the cats,” he says as he watches Nikita devour her afternoon “bloodsicle” snack. “I feel like I am contributing to the world. More importantly, I get to make Carole happy. That’s my No. 1 goal.” Spoken like a true newlywed.

Jamie Veronica

Jamie Veronica

JAMIE VERONICA BOORSTEIN

PRESIDENT, VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jamie Veronica

Jamie Veronica is President of Big Cat Rescue, a member of the Board of Directors, and Chair of the Volunteer Committee.  She has served in these capacities for well over ten years. She spent many years developing a sponsorship program whose financial success continues to contribute largely toward meeting our annual budget.

Jamie runs everything involved with the administrative side of the volunteer program including processing promotion applications, running hour reports, follow up with volunteers regarding their hours or classes, keeping the coordinators up to date on volunteers in need of training, keeping our policies and training classes up to date so that our people and animals are safe, coordinates rescues, runs our online gift shop and eBay store, manages the foster kitten program, including scheduling veterinary care, manages enclosure maintenance, coordinates our fundraising events and special online efforts.

2011JamieActionFigurePortraitPaintingAn award-winning photographer, Jamie is the staff photographer and publishes our quarterly Big Cat Times newspaper, distributed to over 80,000 readers.  She creates all of our print and web advertisements, billboards, brochures, books, donor plaques and signage.  She manages all of the discount offers and reciprocal agreements with other attractions. She designed and initially implemented the sanctuary’s worldwide Internship Program.

Jamie is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and manages the sanctuary’s bobcat rehab program.  She has successfully raised, rehabilitated and released many wild Florida bobcats and leads expeditions into the release sites to track and camera trap wild bobcat populations.  She oversees and handles all rescues, veterinary procedures, transfer of animals on the property, and regulatory compliance issues.  Jamie Carole’s daughter, Vernon and Barbara’s grand daughter and is married to Dr. Justin Boorstein, DVM.

Meet the Big Cat Rescue Team. See a typical day at the sanctuary.

See Jamie and Dr. Justin’s wild life here:  https://vimeo.com/41566377

 

 

Newsweek

Bred for profit, the animals are often cruelly deformed by inbreeding.

July 28, 2010
by Ravi SomaiyaAlmost all of America’s 7,000 tigers are born and raised here. Reports from tiger farms suggest there are many unscrupulous breeders, and activists allege that the trade is cruel. What’s clear is that tigers are often kept in small pens, people die when safety is lax, and the cats are hideously inbred to produce valuable white cubs.The trade is not illegal, though a recent law bans the sale or trade of big cats across state lines for the pet trade. But breeders exploit a patchwork of state-by-state rules, and loopholes, to continue to sell cubs. People who rescue unwanted or mistreated tigers estimate that the number of breeders might be in the hundreds. Several alleged traders contacted by NEWSWEEK refused to be interviewed, perhaps because in recent years many operations have been shut down by authorities.

One of the biggest, Savage Kingdom, in Florida, was closed by the Department of Agriculture in 2006. Several accidents had occurred there. In 2001 a handyman named Vincent Lowe went into a cage to repair a dangerously worn-down gate. Colleagues had to watch as a 318-pound male tiger, Tijik, “ripped out [his] throat,” according to the USDA report. They could not rescue him for fear of being attacked themselves.

Jamie Veronica BoorsteinThe tiger was eventually shot by Savage Kingdom’s octogenarian owner, Robert Baudy, who had been in the tiger trade for many decades—he’d even been on The Ed Sullivan Show promoting his animals. “He was from an era before animal welfare,” says Jamie Veronica, who is with the charity Big Cat Rescue and went into the farm after it was closed to try to remove and resettle dozens of tigers (all were eventually moved safely). “When he started out, people just saw animals as a commodity, a way to make money.” The USDA report blamed Baudy for safety failures that led to Lowe’s death. He could not be reached for comment at a number listed for him.Baudy specialized in white tigers, which sell for up to $20,000 per cub. But white tigers are rare genetic mutations, not a different species. According to the San Diego Zoo, every American white tiger is descended from a single father. New cubs must be inbred further. For every healthy, valuable cub, it is thought that many are born with ailments like shortened tendons, club foot, kidney problems, malformed backbones, contorted necks, and twisted faces.

Emily McCormack, a zoologist at Turpentine Creek, a refuge in Arkansas that rescues unwanted or abused big cats, has taken in several deformed cubs. “People don’t want these tigers because they don’t look perfect,” she says. “Who’s to say how many have been born with deformities that have been killed instead of rescued?” Activists also campaign against so-called white-tiger-conservation programs, whose very descriptions, says McCormack, are misleading: “They will never be returned to the wild. They don’t really exist in the wild.”

Siegfried & Roy, the illusionist duo, are famous for their white tigers. They claim on their Web site that they have 38. “For more than 20 years,” they say, “we have been entrusted with the care and preservation of the Royal White Tigers.” A spokesperson for the two did not return calls for comment about their breeding program. A statement from the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which houses many of Siegfried & Roy’s white tigers in an attraction called the Secret Garden, did not directly address the possibility that the program may have bred deformed cubs. It did say that “breeding is done responsibly under strict genetic management.” The Mirage did not respond to NEWSWEEK’s request for more information.

 

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/27/inside-america-s-tiger-breeding-farms.html

Jamie Justin Hurley Wedding

Transparency Notification:

In their role as a current board member this person is not independent and is a voting member in 2016.

 

Cameron

Cameron

hear big catsCameron the Lion

DOB 10/1/00

Rescued 5/3/04

 

lion Cameron

Cameron the lion and Zabu the white tiger are Big Cat Rescue’s odd couple. They were both born at a run down roadside zoo in 2000 and were rescued in 2004.

At the New Hampshire zoo, Cameron had been raised with Zabu, the white tigress, with the hopes of cross breeding them and selling the resulting liger cubs.

People often hybridize lions and tigers because they are either trying to create a novelty that people will pay to come see or trying to avoid the law. Until recently, some state’s laws did not recognize a 500-pound cross between a lion and tiger to be either. Therefore, people would buy them and claim that laws against owning a lion or tiger did not apply to them. We were told that prior to Cameron’s rescue he had lost over 200 lbs. It was up to us to help turn his life around.

Since Cameron and Zabu were true companions, we had to do whatever we could to make a long life together possible for them. The first step was to build a very large enclosure fit for the two energetic big cats.

Next we spayed Zabu so they would not breed and produce any more cats for life in cages.

Over the years Cameron became more and more possessive of Zabu and would not allow keepers near the enclosure to clean or feed. Because Cameron’s behaviors were testosterone driven we had only two choices; separate him from Zabu forever or neuter him. The decision was easy, Cameron was neutered.

Several months later he lost his mane as a result. It does not seem to bother him though. Cameron’s mood has mellowed dramatically and he seems much more comfortable in the hot Florida summers without the extra 15 pounds of fur around his neck. He has even become much more playful since he no longer worries about everything that is going on around his enclosure. His favorite toy is a big yellow ring which he bats and pushes around his enclosure in the early morning and late afternoon. While it was sad to see Cameron lose his mane, it was completely worth it so that he could continue to live with his best friend Zabu.

 

Cameron Lion Mane   

While Cameron tries to sleep most of the day away (as lions do in the wild), Zabu is extremely energetic and is always pestering him to play. She’ll often give up on him and just run and jump and play with her big red Planet Ball. Of course, that’s after she’s tired of playfully stalking her keepers or trying to spray the groups of visitors that stop by everyday.

 

 

Here are some more pages you can find information, photos, videos, and stories about Cameron:

 

Spring 2014: “What’s Up With Cameron’s Mane?” Why is Cameron losing his gorgeous mane? http://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2014-04/

See Chris & Gale setting up Piñatas for Cameron and Nikita the lions and Zabu the white tiger in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 – http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-april-25-2014/

See photos of Cameron and Zabu heading to their cool den on a hot day, kissing behind their big red ball, and playing with toys by their pond.   http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-may-31/

See the video: Lion + White Tiger = Cameron and Zabu! http://bigcatrescue.org/lion-white-tiger-cameron-zabu/

The rest of the world has “Brangelina” Big Cat Rescue has “CAMBU” !! Cameron the male African Lion and Zabu the female white tiger love each other very much and love “playtime” where they can be very goofy big cats! http://bigcatrescue.org/lion-and-tiger-playtime-at-big-cat-rescue/

Read about working with big cats. http://bigcatrescue.org/work-with-big-cats/

Enrichment is a very important part of the cats’ day.  See Cameron and Zabu attacking a giraffe for Enrichment. http://bigcatrescue.org/lion-tiger-vs-giraffe/

Here are more Enrichment videos.  We would like to invite you to share these videos with your friends and family. http://bigcatrescue.org/tag/enrichment/page/7/

Hearing a lion’s call is one of the most powerful sounds of nature; “Cameron” belts one out in this short clip. http://bigcatrescue.org/roar-a-roar-from-bcrs-male-lion-is-a-powerful-sound/

See a video entitled “If A Lion and Tiger Got Into a Fight, Who Would Win?” http://bigcatrescue.org/if-a-lion-and-tiger-got-into-a-fight-who-would-win/

On this link you will find a video of some of the cats. You will also see volunteers hauling dirt and Cameron and Zabu enjoying their vacation at Big Cat Rescue. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-jan-30-2014/

Zabu the white tiger takes Cameron’s pumpkin and puts in the water. http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-oct-17/

See the video, “Lion and Tiger, Backyard Blitz”. http://bigcatrescue.org/today-big-cat-rescue-nov-8-2013/

After being separated for quarantine and ‘getting fixed’ Cameron and Zabu are reunited. http://bigcatrescue.org/white-tiger-and-lion-november-4-2004-update-2/ and http://bigcatrescue.org/white-tiger-and-lion/

Join is on Facebook to see new photos of the cats every day. http://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue

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

 

Thor

Thor

Meet Thor the Bobcat

Who took a car to the face and lived to tell about it!

Update April 28, 2016

On Sunday Thor will be returned to his rightful place in the wild.  Be sure that you are a fan of ours on Facebook.com/BigCatRescue and that you have your settings to include us first in the posts you see, so that you don’t miss the LIVE broadcast of his release.  Meanwhile, you can read Thor’s miraculous story here: http://BigCatRescue.org/Thor and you can help fund bobcat rescue, rehab and release by purchasing Thor themed tees, totes, mugs, pillows, hoodies, phone cases and more here:

http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/thor-rehab-bobcat

 

Bobcat-Hit-by-car-HBC-Brandon-2016-02-05

This morning, at 1:15 AM Jamie and Carole responded to a call in Brandon about a bobcat being hit by a car. Dr Justin Boorstein came in and they did Xrays to see what could be done.

Jamie recalls the event:

I got a call at 1:15 AM and it’s a man saying that his wife has found an injured bobcat in the middle of the highway in Brandon.  Most people have no idea what a bobcat looks like, so I ask him to have his wife text me a photo.  Dang!  It’s a bobcat!  Now I’m awake.

My Bobcat is in RehabI call my mom to ask if she has a net and carrier at her house next door, so that I can save time getting to the scene, but she doesn’t.  She gets out of bed and says she’ll go with me.  As I hop into her truck she says, “Do you have a coat?”  It’s in the 50’s, which is freezing to us Floridians, and I say, “I’m in my pajamas!  No, I didn’t bring a coat!”  Turns out she’s barely dressed and forgot hers too.  Thankfully there are blankets in the truck.

The good news about early morning bobcat calls is that there is no one on the streets so we get to the sanctuary (4 miles away) in record time and exchange her pickup truck for the Tundra with a topper that we won in a Facebook contest a few years ago.  (Thank you everyone who voted for us!)  We had just released Rain and Dancer the 9 month old rehab bobcats the day before, so there are still nets and gloves in the back.  We grab a big carrier out of the Emergency Response Center and are on our way.

Meanwhile the Good Samaritan who had called in the accident is frantic because the police have shown up on the scene and told her she can’t stay in the middle of the highway.  She puts the officer in charge, in touch with me by phone and he’s saying he doesn’t think the bobcat is going to make it and maybe should be put out of his misery.  I tell him that a bobcat in shock can look quite dead, but can regain consciousness very quickly and that they have an amazing ability to heal.  I don’t want him to shoot the cat in the head, so I tell him that my husband is a veterinarian and standing by to humanely euthanize him, if that is what has to be done.  He asks how long before we will be there, and by now we are about 20 minutes away.

More calls and texts back and forth and the woman who originally called us seems sure the police sent her away so they could dispose of the cat.  We are driving as fast as we can, but it’s a long way from Citrus Park to the Brandon mall and we aren’t allowed to use flashing lights and sirens in order to save wildlife.  Maybe we need a law that would allow rehabbers the same use as ambulance drivers.

The policeman contact me again and he sounds like he’s ready to call it quits because the bobcat looks so bad.  He says that he doesn’t think the cat is going to make it, and that he’s bleeding from the nose and his eyes look bad, and even thinks he can be picked up by hand.  By now we are 5 minutes out and ask him to wait.  He agrees.

Carole recalls what happened next:

As WAZE is telling us that we are arriving at the location, I see the flashing lights of a patrol car and start to pull up behind it, but then notice there are patrol cars, lights flashing, at every corner of the huge intersection.  My first concern is which one should I pull up next to, in order to have our tools closest to the cat, but then my heart leaps with joy to realize that the agency has cordoned off the entire road to insure that no one runs over the bobcat who is crouched in the middle of the road.  I’ve never seen the police be so concerned about an injured animal before and it makes me grateful beyond belief.

In the center of all the chaos, I can see him and he looks HUGE.  He’s in pain, so he’s all puffed up, but the lights from angle, highlight a halo in his fur tips that make him seem enormous.  I wonder to myself if I brought a big enough carrier.  Jamie and the officer she had been speaking with grab the nets and I grab the carrier out of the back of the Tundra and head toward the bobcat.  As we approach Jamie asks how close the officer has been to the cat so she can assess his fight or flight distance.  The officer says he’s been right up on him, but that the cat seems to be recovering.  He suggests that perhaps, “His bell has been un-rung”  meaning that he thinks the bobcat might be coming to his senses, and may be more likely to bolt.

Artfully Jamie breaks away from the cat’s view of me with a carrier and the police man with a net coming at his face, and sneaks around behind the bobcat.  Sure enough, when we are about 10 feet out the bobcat decides that he isn’t going to be taken alive and he uses the last of what he has in him to leap to our left.  Jamie comes in like a Ninja with one downward sweep of the net over him as he leaps!

Paws Crossed For ThorIt is a righteous netting (as we call it around Big Cat Rescue) because not only is the net over the cat, but the forward movement of his leap against the netting has landed him over the outside ring of the net’s neck.  It is that configuration that allows us to lift a bobcat securely, because they can just hop right out of a net if it doesn’t fold over the edge.  My heart swelled with pride that Jamie had shown such proficiency under such pressure.  The officer showed some pretty amazing skill as he leapt right into the fray and put his net down over the top of Jamie’s.  That little bit of extra security can make the difference between keeping a bobcat in a net and having them break free.

I put the carrier in front of Jamie’s net and ask the officer to trade spots with me.  Jamie and I have moved countless cats from nets into carriers over the years and it isn’t easy.  One wrong move and the cat is free.  In cases like this, where the cats legs were not injured, he could definitely outrun us and get lost in the underbrush before we would be able to catch up.  His facial injuries would then cause him to die a long and painful death.  We couldn’t risk it.

The officer (rather expertly, I might add) put one foot behind the carrier to brace it.  Sometimes an animal goes in so fast that they are able to push the carrier away from the nets and then can turn on a dime to escape through the crack.  Jamie lined her net up to the open door and I used mine to push his tail end through the opening.  The officer or Jamie, slammed the door shut, while retrieving the netting, but it happened so fast, I’m not sure whose hands were where, but the bobcat was safely secured.

We shouted our thanks out to the officers who were guarding the intersection and gave the officer in charge our brochure to share in case they get more bobcat injury calls.  Jamie called her husband, Dr. Justin Boorstein and told him we were successful and on our way to the Windsong Memorial Hospital.  He met us there around 2:45 am.

Emergency Diagnostics at the Windsong Memorial Hospital

 

We posted a live stream to Facebook and invited our fans to watch everything LIVE on our web cam at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-windsong-memorial-cat-hospital  Since there were only three of us on site, and we were all wearing lead aprons, we were able to leave the doors open to the Xray room too.

Thor2016-02-05 03.18.37

X-rays showed that all of the damage is to his face.  His jaw is fractured both top and bottom and will require very delicate surgery and lots of cage rest.  His eye socket is crushed around his left eye and the impact and broken bones are putting pressure on his brain and his eye, which is unresponsive.  One canine was broken off, but the other three are in good shape.  His breathing sounds horrible but we think it is because of the damage to the nasal cavity and the swelling.  It looked like there could be some tearing to the trachea, but no way to tell with just X-ray.  We really need a sonogram machine.

Thor is in critical shape, but we don’t have all of the extensive bone plates, screws and drill necessary to fix his shattered jaw, so it will be later today before he can be sedated again at another hospital that is better equipped for car strike type injuries.

Thor the HBC bobcat

Since it is now 4:20 am, the vet wants to wait until tomorrow afternoon to sedate him again, as doing so too soon could kill him.

Thor the HBC bobcat

We will post updates as we get them below.

Be a part of our Big Cat Rescue Team

Your support is what makes it possible for us to rescue, rehab and release native wild cats back to their rightful place in nature.  Your donations and purchases mean life or death to these cats.

Give to Big Cat Rescue

Find out more about our bobcat rehab program at http://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-rehab/

Update April 9, 2016

Thor Rehab Bobcat PalmThor was fed chopped meats during the time that his jaw was healing, but it’s done healing now and he isn’t wanting to kill or eat rats.  We found the beak of a bird in his cage, so we presumed that one had managed to get in and get caught by Thor, so we tried him with quail.  Ms Claws caught her quail very quickly, but it took Thor longer than we would have liked. We will be counting on our explore.org viewers, who provided these lovely photos, to let us know how his hunting goes.

He may just need more time to rebuild the muscle mass he’s lost while on cage rest for his broken shoulder blade.

Update March 30, 2016

Thor Bobcat has was seen again by Dr Justin Boorstein and Dr Tammy Miller.  She thinks his eye will be OK, even if not visual.  We have been worried that it may begin to decay, but that hasn’t happened.  When he woke up Thor was moved Out to Rehab.  He is in now visible at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

ThorBobcatEye2016-Apr9

Update Mar 26, 2016

Dr. Miller will be taking a final look at Thor’s bad eye to determine if it should be removed before he is released so that it’s potential decay would not cause him trouble.  Of course, we are hoping she will find that the eye is healing, but that’s a long shot.  You can watch LIVE 11 am ET today at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-windsong-memorial-cat-hospital

 

Update Feb 22, 2016

 

Update Feb 12, 2016

Thor ate 17 ounces of food for breakfast.  He’s taking his meds (with a lot of insistence by Jamie) and grooming, but still doesn’t seem to have figured out the water issue.  We are still working on ideas.  Maybe pond water?

Update Feb 11, 2016

Thor ate 15 ounces of food off a plate, without having to be fed on a stick, but he’s still not drinking.  We bought him one of those $100 water fountains, and he’s figured out it is water, because he’s using it as a self flushing toilet.  Cats pee in streams and ponds so that others don’t know they are in the area.  Now we just have to figure out how to get him to drink out of it, AND elevate it so he can’t pee in it.

Update Feb 10, 2016

Jamie Relays Thor’s Rescue Story to Ops Mgr Gale

Update Feb 6, 2016 Thor Reaches Out

 

 

The Eye Drops Seem To Be Working

Thor Eye Improvement

Update Feb 6, 2016 Thor Lives!

The day after Thor’s surgery to repair his jaw I woke up and raced to my computer to see if he had survived the night on our Arlo cams.  Jamie and Gale help me monitor those live webcams, but they don’t offer a public link, like the explore.org/bigcatrescue live webcams do.

Update Feb 5, 2016 4PM

Thor the bobcat is back from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay where Dr. Justin Boorstein repaired his jaw. We are waiting on deciding if the non working eye and broken canine should be removed. We will consult with experts on both to see if either can be saved.

Thor is recovering in the West Boensch Cat Hospital on site and will soon be moved outside.

Thor’s care instructions to the Bobcat Rehab Team

Thor had surgery to repair his lower broken jaw. The break in his upper jaw was not misaligned, and so it will be left to heal on its own. This means that we need to be very careful about spooking him. We do not want him banging up his face when it is in this fragile state. He gets scared very easy, so walk slowly around him and be very quiet.

We are consulting with Dr. Miller with regards to how we can try to save his left eye. He is currently not blinking, and so we may need to try eye drops until the swelling goes down and he is able to blink. Justin and I will try this tomorrow and see how it goes.

For now he is not on any meds, we wanted to see if he would eat tonight before starting them. I will feed and clean him in the morning tomorrow. After that I will update you all on what medications he will need to be on.

We want to keep his meals small the first few days or so. He can only have soft food, so we are going to feed him a tennis ball of mush in the AM and another in the PM.

AdvoCat 2016 04b

AdvoCat 2016 04b

There has been so much happening for the cats that we had to break the monthly AdvoCat Newsletter in two.  This is Part B.  Here was Part A: http://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2016-04/

Welcome Hoover Tiger

Hoover was rescued from the Peruvian circus by Animal Defenders International when they secured a ban on using wild animals in circus acts. Watch his journey to Big Cat Rescue.  Learn more here: http://bigcatrescue.org/hoover/ and check out tees and totes to support him at:  http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/hoover-tiger

 

Mother’s Day

Nav_HolidayMothersDayMother’s Day is May 8, 2016 and we have lots of gifts that will show her you care and that you know she loves cats.  Check shipping times to be sure your gift will arrive in time or check out downloads that you can print on demand.  See all the great gift selections at: http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/

Thor Bobcat Update

On Sunday Thor will be returned to his rightful place in the wild.  Be sure that you are a fan of ours on Facebook.com/BigCatRescue and that you have your settings to include us first in the posts you see, so that you don’t miss the LIVE broadcast of his release.  Meanwhile, you can read Thor’s miraculous story here: http://BigCatRescue.org/Thor and you can help fund bobcat rescue, rehab and release by purchasing Thor themed tees, totes, and more here:

http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/thor-rehab-bobcat

Teisha Tiger Needs MRI

After much debate we are going to take Teisha in for an MRI on Monday.  We have been worried that the trip might kill her, but she’s just not improving enough for us to believe that she’s comfortable, so we are going to have the MRI done and see if there is any surgery that might restore her ability to walk better.  Updates will be at http://BigCatRescue.org/Teisha

Boston Marathon Big Cat Style

Everyone at the sanctuary would like to extend ROARING Big Cat kudos to Advocat’s Miki Y. and her running partner Yung Hae C. in recognition of their amazing accomplishment in having run and successfully completed the Boston Marathon in support of the magnificent creatures that call Big Cat Rescue home!  Read more: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cats-run/

 

Action Alert Jungle Habitat Zoo

Jungle Habitat Zoo, a traveling exhibitor that exploits a variety of exotic animals including big cats, is joining forces with the notorious owner of Nosey the elephant to operate a permanent roadside wild animal petting zoo in Kissimmee, Florida.  Find out more about this animal exploitation: http://911animalabuse.com/jungle-habitat-zoo/ and an easy way to stop it:  http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18491

Give Day Tampa Bay is May 3

HELP US WIN AGAIN THIS YEAR!

On May 3 the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay will hold its third annual Give Day contest where nonprofits compete to see who can have the most donors and donations that day. There are also prizes for the most donations in a particular hour of the day.

Thanks to so many of our supporters who participated, last year Big Cat Rescue won $30,000, more than any other nonprofit!  Of that $30,000, $10,000 was a prize for the most donations to an animal nonprofit sponsored by Caspers Company pictured here presenting their check.

Helping us win this prize money to support the cats is a great way to leverage your donation dollar.

On May 3 donations are accepted online by credit card for the contest.  The minimum donation is $25.

If you prefer to donate by check, the check is still made out to Big Cat Rescue but must be dated May 3 and have “Give Day” in the memo section.  We need to submit it the day before Give Day, i.e. on Monday, May 2, so need to have it in hand, or at least a scanned copy of it, by that day.  If you mail checks, please send them to:

Howard Baskin
Big Cat Rescue
12802 Easy Street
Tampa, FL 33625-3702

If you are contemplating a donation this year, Give Day is a great time to do it. Please mark May 3, 2016 on your calendar, or sign up here and we will remind you, and help us win again this year!

The Quarterly Big Cat Times

Our printed, quarterly magazine costs us about 43 cents to print and mail, per copy, so we can’t mail it to everyone in our database.  You can download the digital version here though:  http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-times/

 

2016 Animal Lover Dream Vacation Winner

Every year we pull from the hat one of our supporters who has signed up for the Animal Lover’s Dream Vacation.  This year’s winner was Mia Voss and she’s bringing her friend Courtney Smith Kramer, since the vacation is for two people.  This could turn out to be as big a deal for our cats as it is for the winners, as they have a huge audience who will be following their adventures here.  Watch for a lot of Snap Chatting, Live Facebook Feeds, Twitter posts and more while they are here.  Find out more here: http://bigcatrescue.org/dream-vacation-winner/

 

Apple NewsBig Cat Rescue IS the News

When Apple came out with their own news app, Big Cat Rescue was one of the first to provide a feed of all our new posts.

More great wins to announce since the last AdvoCat Newsletter:

4/21/16  The N.H. Fish and Game Department on Wednesday withdrew its proposal to re-establish a bobcat hunting season. In a 9-1 vote at the Statehouse on April 1, the legislative committee objected on the grounds that a bobcat season would violate the federal endangered species act and that the proposal was not in the financial best interest of the public.  The money Fish and Game would have made from selling all 50 bobcat permits in its proposal totaled $5,000, while the cost to implement the hunting season was estimated to be between $15,000 and $20,000 per year.

Geoffrey Jones, chairman of the Stoddard Conservation Commission, said following the bobcat season proposal was an eye-opening experience for him in terms of how Fish and Game operates.  “As we’ve all found out, people are pretty upset, and they’re not only upset about opening a season on a species that’s still in recovery, but I think people are upset about the process,” he said.  Jones said he didn’t think the Fish and Game commission ever listened to people’s concerns.

Fish and Game received approximately 6,000 comments, with just about 250 in favor of the season, but voted to hunt bobcats anyway.  Changes need to be made in how the department runs to represent the interests of all people, according to Jones. “We’re so relieved that New Hampshire’s bobcats and lynx are safe from hunters and trappers,” Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney and biologist, said. “At public expense, these bobcat seasons would have benefited only the few who’d like to kill these beautiful animals for sport or ship their pelts overseas to China for profit. The state heard loud and clear that people value these cats in the wild and don’t want to see them cruelly trapped or shot.

4/20/16 Florida is still working on changing their rules, but sent this letter to licensees:

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that newborn and infant nondomestic cats four weeks (28 days) of age or younger (neonate or neonatal) have special handling and husbandry needs. Please see the attached letter and Tech Note from APHIS regarding these requirements.  Any question you have in regards to these new guidelines may be addressed to USDA’s office in Raleigh, North Carolina at 919-855-7100, or in Fort Collins, Colorado at 970-494-7478.

USDA Tech Note- Neonatal Nondomestic Felines.pdf

USDA Letter – Neaonatal Nondomestic Felines.pdf

4/20/16  After the successful launch of The Jungle Book, Disney points to their policy of not using captive wild animals for their movies.  “We’re not allowed to actually shoot exotic animals that are kept in captivity for movies. You can do cats and dogs, but you can’t do anything like a tiger or an elephant … you can never get them in a trained environment,” Rob Legato, a veteran visual effects artist who worked on Jungle Book, told a crowd at a panel during the National Association of Broadcast conference.  The aforementioned policy outlines that Disney productions are, in general, not allowed to use exotic live animals outside of a zoo, sanctuary habitat or natural environment. It applies pretty much across the board — television or film productions, photo shoots, any media broadcast, special events — with only occasional exceptions, providing the said animal is not an ape or other large primate.

Bobcat

4/17/16 Jim Kellogg resigns from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, protesting the appointment of non hunters to the commission, and stated “I’m not willing to accept the changing world,” he said. “The animal rights people who don’t favor hunting and fishing have more horsepower than they did before.”  The shift away from having a board that is only comprised of hunters, when less than 1% of CA’s population are hunters, started under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed commissioners who supported efforts to protect marine life off the California coast.

4/16/16  The California Fish and Game Commission denied a proposal by the California Trappers Association to repeal the bobcat trapping ban that was put in place last year. The commissioners* stayed firm in their decision to support the hard-fought bobcat trapping ban.

 

Earth Day News

Hope you’re well! One Green Planet launched the Food Monster App, which marks the ever-growing trend toward planet-friendly plant-based food!  The Food Monster App hit the Apple App Store on Earth Day, April 22, 2016.

More than ever, people are waking up to the fact that animal agriculture is at the heart of our current environmental crisis. This destructive industry is not only responsible for the more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, but it uses 23 percent of the world’s freshwater resources and covers over 50 percent of arable land.

Not to mention, is also the leading driver of deforestation and habitat loss which has pushed countless endangered species on to the brink of extinction.

While this might sound daunting, by choosing plant-based foods, instead, people have the incredible ability to halve their carbon footprints and giving species a fighting chance – and with the help of the Food Monster App, it doesn’t mean giving anything up.

The Food Monster App features a whopping 5,000+ vegan recipes with 500+ search options and 10+ new recipes added daily.  We’re talking hearty burgers, cheesecakes, decadent desserts, and more! Featuring incredible multi-image, 3D-touch enabled HD photos, vegan never looked this good!

Get it here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-monster-5000+-recipes./id1052988561?mt=8

 

More Than One Way to Go Green

Big Cat Rescue is proud to choose clean energy with Arcadia Power. We encourage everyone to support an environmentally friendly lifestyle by doing the same at home, and Arcadia Power is even offering all Big Cat Rescue supporters a $20 account credit plus a donation to Big Cat Rescue‘s efforts! It’s so easy to sign up. It only takes a couple minutes from start to finish, and you don’t have to switch utilities or install anything. All you have to do is link up your utility account to their clean energy platform, and they purchase clean energy on your behalf from the same renewable energy markets Google, Whole Foods, and other progressive companies have had access to for years. In 3 minutes your home or apartment’s electricity usage can be covered by 100% clean, renewable energy. Check it out here: arcadiapower.com/bcr