AdvoCat 2008 08

Greetings Friend of Big Cat Rescue!

I am so thankful to all of you for helping us reach a tipping point in the battle to protect exotic cats. There is a great shift taking place right before our eyes and it is only because of you, our most loyal supporters and AdvoCats that this is happening.  According to Philosopher Arthur Shopenhauer when new truths are introduced into society, they go through three stages:

1. Ridicule

2. Violent opposition

3. Acceptance

We are standing right on the edge of tipping into number three;  Acceptance that we share more in common with each other than not and the understanding that we are all connected.  This is an exciting time to be alive and part of a movement toward compassion.


Carole Baskin, Founder




  Musical Tigers

It’s like musical chairs but with Tigers! A few tigers at Big Cat Rescue have recently switched enclosures. Snorkel was relocated up next to Niki the lion and Bengali the tiger. He will be on the tour path now and rescuers are sure that he will enjoy his new digs. Snorkel is very social and loves to snort and chuff at keepers when they clean his Cat-a-tat or when they are feeding him. Until today, Snorkel has resided in the “outback”. The tigers that live in the outback are too far from the tour path for guests to visit, so Snorkel has not had the opportunity to be seen by the public since his arrival.

TigerWhen rescuers released Snorkel into his new pad, he excitedly toured the perimeter, checked out his swimming pond, jumped on top of his den to get a better view of his territory and then chowed down on some fresh grass growing in the enclosure. All the while Bengali followed Snorkel, watching his every move. Keepers dug out several large weeds that were growing in Snorkel’s previous home and then loaded up Flavio into the tiger transport. What was old to Snorkel was brand new and fun for Flavio. He hopped right into transport and moved just one Cat-a-tat over. All the new smells will keep him busy for quite a while.

Moving all these tigers around does have a purpose. Now two empty tiger enclosures will be joined together to make a double tiger enclosure. Once this project has been completed, the new extra large Cat-a-tat will be the future home for Trucha and Modnic. These sisters currently share an enclosure, but the new enclosure will give them almost twice the room. At Big Cat Rescue there are a few empty enclosures that are set aside for projects such as these. This way as an enclosure needs to be maintained, repaired, replanted or whatever else, Keepers can relocate the resident feline to one of the empty Cat-a-tats.

The operant conditioning program has become a crucial element in making these relocations go smoothly. Through the use of operant conditioning Keepers are able to get nearly any cat into transport or their feeding lockouts by simply rewarding the cats with their favorite treats.

Also keep up with baby bobcat Hope in her 9th episode here:


  Fur Ball is in the Can

Big Cat Rescue Gift Shop
Win a Pair of Rolex Watches

Get Your Tickets or Table Now: Plans for the charity gala described as “the most fun of any I’ve ever attended” are now set! Be entertained by the DeLeon Band, drink complimentary wine from 3 Blind Moose and Toasted Head, design your “safari costume formal attire” and enjoy seeing what everyone else wears, go wild with our “drumming circle”, get your holiday shopping done early at our Big Cat Bargain Sale, win an international trip or 30 days in the new Jaguar XF in the live auction.

Purchase your tickets or table now:

We Need Your Cans:  We need your empty coffee cans, peanut cans, or any other kind of tin or cardboard can WITH A PLASTIC LID.  If it Drumming at Fur Ball with Jana Broderlooks like a drum and sounds like a drum, we can use it for our drumming circle at the Fur Ball.  You can decorate it in an African theme, or we will do the decorating.  The idea is to have all 750 of our Fur Ball guests have a little mini drum as a center piece on their table that they can use to join in the fun.  This will save us hundreds of dollars for center pieces (which means more money for the cats!) and give our guests something to take home as a reminder of the great time they had supporting the cats.  This would make a great school or community project.  Please mail your clean cans to Big Cat Rescue at 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625 813.920.4130

  Knowledge is Power

Big Cat Books & Videos

One of the most important things we can do as Advocats for Big Cat Rescue is provide information to others about the plight of the big cats, animals in entertainment, and the exotic pet trade. The many resources on our website, the Big Cat Times,, and this monthly Advocat are some of the ways the sanctuary reaches out to you, our valued supporters, with information.


However, we’d like to get information from you. Big Cat Rescue is looking for information on fairs, festivals, and similar events throughout the country that promote shows with wildlife, especially the big cats. If you know of such a venue, please email the information to


  Trade in Tiger Parts

Tiger PartsHuge gaps in U.S. regulations for tigers held in captivity could make the big cats a target for illegal trade, wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC and World Wildlife Fund found in the first-ever comprehensive report on captive tiger regulations across the United States. The report, “Paper Tigers?: The Role of the U.S. Captive Tiger Population in the Trade in Tiger Parts,” found there are no reliable regulatory mechanisms to keep track of captive tigers in the United States. Big Cat Rescue provided investigators with crucial data and enabled them to see how the lack of protective laws and enforcement are exploited by animal abusers in the real world.

The short story:

The full 50 page report:

  One Person Can Make a Difference

Read about the efforts of one persistent Indiana woman offended by abuse of big cats she observed and how you can help with her petition.

See Big Cat Rescue Summer Campers learn about the Saber Toothed Cat:

  100 Go Fur Free sold between $1 million to $5 million per year in furs before making the decision to become the 100th retailer to ban the sale of furs.  “The more we heard about the fur industry, the more we thought we didn’t want anything to do with it,” said Chief Executive Patrick Byrne.  Many retailers including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and BCBG have pulled the garments off their shelves, but others, including Macy’s Inc, JC Penney Co Inc and Neiman Marcus have refused.  The Humane Society of the United States has been leading a campaign to end the mis-labeling of fur and has been the driving force behind getting so many retailers to end their support of the horrific fur industry, but YOU can do more than you think to help.  One of our senior volunteers, Bill Lewis, is ex-military and when he asked the top brass at Mac Dill Air Force base to quit selling fur trimmed items in their stores, they did.  All it takes is one person who cares to politely state the facts about the fur trade and most reasonable people will listen.


  Christian the Lion Video is Moving but Misleading


If you have not had someone send you the early 1970’s video of Christian the Lion hugging two adult men, you probably have not checked your email for the last month.  The story it a tear jerker, but  does a huge disservice.  For more information about the history and why innocently passing it on unknowingly helps foster abuse, click here:

  The Lizard King Meets Python Bill

Exotic animals are the currency of an underworld as dangerous and lucrative as the drug trade. National Geographic writer Bryan Christy chronicles the rise and fall of a lizard kingpin and the federal agent who pursued him in his latest true life novel, “The Lizard King.” The Van Nostrands’ Strictly Reptiles, an import-export business in Florida, was a multimillion-dollar smuggling operation. The Van Nostrands imported exotic animals of all shapes and sizes, usually concealed in the suitcases or clothing of the mules (ie: smugglers) and sold them to well known zoos, collectors and pet stores. They exploited loopholes in the international treaty on endangered-species trade and paid off corrupt officials. In the early 1990s, Fish and Wildlife Services agent Chip Bepler set his sights on Mike Van Nostrand. After Bepler’s years of surveillance and hard work, Mike Van Nostrand only served 5 months in prison, his export license was revoked only temporarily, and today Strictly Reptiles is still flooding markets around the country with exotics.

Last year 1,628 of you helped Big Cat Rescue push for a new law in Florida called the Python Bill.  It was the first time ever that that there was any accountability required for the possession of constrictor snakes.  Prior to this bill any child could walk into a pet store and buy a snake the size of a candy cane that would reach 8-10 feet in the first couple of years.  The new law went into effect January 2008 thanks to those of you who took the time to write your lawmakers asking for better laws to protect the environment by restricting the dangerous reptile trade.  Big Cat Rescue had made the Python bill a priority because it also required that those who exhibit dangerous Class I animals, (lions, tigers, bears, etc.) post a $10,000 bond.  Never before was there any requirement for financial accountability in the event of an injury caused by owners of big cats.  “The Lizard King” is both entertaining and an excellent expose on the criminal activities you can help us prevent.

Read what the New York Post had to say about The Lizard King:


  There ought to be a law…

Leopard CubsAre you shocked that anyone can buy a cute baby leopard from a backyard breeder? Were you upset to hear of a beautiful young girl mauled to death by a 800 pound tiger during her senior year photo shoot? Aren’t there laws against this sort of thing?

Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” Laws regarding animals are often not up to date with the evolution of beliefs in our society.  There are still those who seek to exploit, abuse and breed animals for their own personal and financial gain despite the fact that most people oppose this abuse.

The good news is that you can help! Big Cat Rescue makes it easy for you to click and send a letter that can save so many lives:


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