Usually, people are either dreamers or doers. Not both.
That’s why I feel so blessed to be surrounded every day by Big Cat Rescuers – volunteers, interns, staff and our fantastic donors – who are the magical and rare combination of both!
It is because of our generous donors that we can dream big dreams for our cats and then take the actions to make those dreams a reality. I hope you enjoy reading this annual update/appeal letter and viewing the video. Both outline just some of the many things Big Cat Rescue has accomplished since last July…and our dreams for the coming year.
One of the biggest dreams I’ve had for the sanctuary came true in August 2013 thanks to the amazing financial support of so many people: the opening of our 2.5 acre Vacation Rotation! This lush area filled with big trees, platforms, dens and a cool pond was christened by our gorgeous boy Bengali.
Since then most of our tigers, lions and leopards have enjoyed two-week vacations of their own! I am forever grateful that Flavio, Bella, Sasha and Nyla, four of our beloved cats who passed on this year, were able to run, swim, nap and roam in this expansive natural setting before they left us.
Now we are asking for your help again to build a Little Cat Vacation Rotation in 2014. This will allow our smaller cats to go on two-week vacations too and enjoy new smells, sounds and sights!
Your donations will make this possible for our lynx, bobcats, caracals and servals.
In September 2013, we rescued JoJo, a sweet caracal/serval hybrid, and Reise, a very talkative cougar, from a facility in South Florida that was shutting down. If you’ve been on a tour of our sanctuary lately, you’ve probably met Reise. Her enclosure is right across from the tour path starting point and she likes to greet everyone she sees! Watching these cats experience the joy of lying on soft grass – for likely the first time ever – and seeing them blossom at Big Cat Rescue has been truly heartwarming.
Another huge highlight of this past year was the release of two Florida bobcats – Fencer and Khaleesi – back into the wild. Fencer was an adult wild bobcat caught in a fence, which broke his toe. He stayed with us until his toe healed and was released in October 2013. Khaleesi came to us as an eight-week-old abandoned kitten. We cared for her as she grew up, taught her how to hunt and released her in November 2013. These are the success stories we live for! They sustain us through the heartbreaking times.
In May 2014, we rescued three starving, neglected tigers seized by authorities from a New York facility after it lost its USDA license. Zeus, Kimba and Keisha had lived most of their lives in barren cages with uncomfortable rock floors. They arrived at Big Cat Rescue in bad shape and we quickly took action to get them the vet care and proper nutrition they so desperately needed. Unfortunately 20-year-old Kimba, the oldest, had severe kidney failure and had to be put to sleep in June. Though Kimba was not with us long, we hope to give Keisha and Zeus wonderful lives here for many years to come. We are grateful for your donations which allow us to rescue cats from such horrid conditions.
My biggest dream of all is for the day when big cats will no longer be abused and warehoused in tiny cages in America. When private owners will no longer be able to buy big cats as pets. And when breeding and exhibiting captive big cats and cubs will be stopped. This dream gets closer to reality each time a U.S. Senator or Rep. co-sponsors the pending Big Cats & Public Safety Act. This crucial Federal bill will end the misery of thousands of captive exotic cats when it becomes law.
Your donations are the reason we can and will continue to fight for the passage of this bill. Can we count on you to help? Also, if you can spare just a few minutes of your time, you can make a huge impact for big cats – learn how you can be their voice at www.StopBigCatAbuse.com.
To make your donation go even further, The Reitzel Foundation will match dollar for dollar the first $25,000 in donations received! And because our tour revenue covers our modest fundraising and administrative expenses, 100% of your donation goes to support the cats and end the abuse.
Thank you for sharing our dreams and for donating to our sanctuary as generously as you are able.
Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue
Florida law requires that all charities soliciting donations disclose their registration number (CH11409) and the percentage of your donation that goes to the cause and the amount that goes to the solicitor. We do not use professional solicitors, so 100% of your donation goes to Big Cat Rescue. Our low fundraising and administrative costs are covered by tour income, so 100% of your donations go to supporting the cats and stopping the abuse. Federal ID #59-3330495. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING 1-800-HELP-FLA TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
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