Big Cats Cool Off with Refreshing Treats
Summertime is here once again and the big cats received a very special treat to help them beat the heat. Watermelons make great enrichment toys for the cats. Their oblong shape makes them roll around unpredictably which drives the cats bonkers and once the mysterious green orb is captured the cats receive another surprise as they sink their teeth in. A yummy cool treat that is sure to please!
Family Dog Rescues Bobcat
Last month Big Cat Rescuers received a call from a family in Gainesville who lived on a 4,000 acre ranch. One of their dogs had come home one afternoon with an unusual find, a tiny bobcat kitten. No one knows where or how this dog ended up with the kitten, but one thing was certain, the kitten was very thin and was quite ill.
Big Cat Rescue President Jamie Veronica and veterinarian Dr. Boorstein made the 6-hour round-trip to pick up the bobcat. This was the first of many rescues to come, made possible thanks to the Toyota Tundra that you, our supporters, helped us win in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good contest.
Because of the proximity to the University of Florida, the approximately 12-week-old, male bobcat kitten was appropriately named Gator. Gator was emaciated and dehydrated. His gums were pale and he was covered in ticks and fleas. He was anemic and was diagnosed with hookworms and giardia.
Gator was given IV fluids, treated for parasites, and put on a healthy diet supplemented with vitamins to improve his anemia. Now just a few weeks later he is the picture of health and has transformed into a wild spitfire. His time being treated in our onsite Cat Hospital has come to an end and Gator has moved into our outdoor rehab enclosure. Here he will be taught the necessities for life in the wild and once he is a little older and able to care for himself he will be released back into the forest from which he came. (Photo shown is not Gator, but is an example of what he looks like at this age. Currently the Florida Wildlife Commission is taking the position that rehabbers cannot show you pictures or videos of rehab animals but we will be asking them to revisit that interpretation of the rules. )
In honor of 20 years of rescuing big cats we have set a goal to raise $100,000, to continue providing top notch care to our residents, by the end of 2012. For a limited time, for the first $25,000 raised, any gift you make will be matched 100% by the Reitzel Foundation.
Two State Fairs Exploit Big Cats for “Fun”
As usual, summertime is a busy season for fairs across the nation. These events can invoke a community connection while providing family friendly fun activities and entertainment. Local fare, hand-crafted goods, art, music, rides and games are most looked forward to when planning a trip to a fair.
Unfortunately some fairs still feature archaic animal exhibits that have long been abandoned by most. With the ever increasing general knowledge of the complex thought processes and behaviors of wild animals, most individuals have evolved in their feelings towards these exhibits. Seeing animals kept in cramped barren cages, in searing hot temperatures, forced to perform or interact with the public is no longer thought of as entertainment, but rather cruelty.
We were heart-broken to learn that two very large fairs located in Des Moines, Iowa and Grand Island, Nebraska will be featuring such exhibits. The Iowa State Fair is advertising performing tiger acts three times a day and the Nebraska State Fair boasts that tigers will be on display all hours of the event. The Frisco Family Bengal Tiger Encounter circus act will be providing their tigers for both of these back to back fairs, each eleven days in length.
You can let the Iowa State Fair and the Nebraska State Fair know big cats DO NOT belong in circus acts, should not be bred and used for entertainment, and should not be forced to travel for weeks at a time in transport cages and semi-trailers. Please CLICK HERE to let these fairs know that you do not want to see big cats exploited in this way for entertainment in the name of family fun.
My What Big Eyes You Have…Tiger has Eye Surgery
At least that’s what Dr. Miller may have thought when she came face to face with Nikita, a 700 pound tiger, on the day of his eye surgery. Last month Big Cat Rescuers noticed something very unusual about Nikita’s eye when he approached the side of his enclosure to give his morning chuff to those that care for him each day.
Nikita had an ulcer on his eye. An ulcer is a scratch, abrasion or puncture in the surface of the cornea. In his case, it was more li
ke a scoop, about the size of a grain of rice, was missing from his cornea. This is dangerous because the cornea is actually not very thick and it protects the inside of the eye. When the protective layer is thin, there is a very good chance that any further trauma to the eye could cause the eye to rupture resulting in loss of vision, or worse, surgical removal of the eye.
Dr. Miller and Dr. Stein, two veterinary eye specialists, researched Nikita’s condition and discussed possible solutions with Big Cat Rescue’s veterinarian Dr. Wynn. Together it was decided that a surgical procedure was necessary to repair Nikita’s eye. Dr Miller would cut a healthy piece of cornea along with a healthy piece of conjunctiva and slide the graft over the problem spot in the eye. In easy terms, she would take a part of the clear cornea along with the a piece of the white (in his case dark) conjunctiva and slide it toward the middle of his eye to cover the hole. She would then sutured it in place.
The surgery was a success and Nikita tolerated his keepers treating his eye with eye drops several times a day for a few weeks while it healed. Nikita’s sutures have since dissolved and his eye has healed nicely. A huge thanks to our team of veterinarians and Big Cat Rescuers who made the surgery and after care possible! A roar of gratitude to all of our generous supporters for donations made toward the veterinary expenses of all of the cats at Big Cat Rescue as well.
If you would like to make a contribution in any amount, please consider doing so by making a donation to our 20th Anniversary Fundraiser, just CLICK HERE
Cats Roar Magnum to be Auctioned this Week
This award winning show car has been designated “Star” status, which means it will be broadcast LIVE on Discovery’s Velocity Network!!
The vehicle’s owner, John Callison is very generously donating 50% of the proceeds of the sale of this spectacular car in support of the magnificent animals that call Big Cat Rescue home!
This Dodge Magnum is the only steam injection HEMI Hybrid in the world. Built for SEMA 2011 to drive awareness and generate support for Big Cat Rescue. This car has won over seventeen 2011/2012 First place or best of class awards and has been seen in over 56 countries. The art work shown consists of 18 separate layers covering both the exterior and interior panels of the car. Comprised of 15 named colors covered by 6 layers of clear, the paintwork took over 167 hours of labor.
A 2013 House Of Kolor Preferred Painters Award submission, the car signifies the strife and turmoil plaguing African Wildlife and the beauty of the African plains. Each Cat shown in the artwork of the car is a living cat at Big Cat Rescue. The Artist Mike Lavallee is best known for his true fire style but Mike started out doing animal prints and is still a great passion of his. “Cats Roar Magnum” has been featured in the 2012 Cougars of Florida Calendar, at the 2011 OC Cruising for a Cure, Palo Alto Concours de’Elegance, SEMA and most West Coast Mopar and Muscle car events.
Big BAT Rescue?
Scouts Build Bat Houses to Help the Cats
This spring, Big Cat Rescue was lucky to be the recipient of an Eagle Scout project which will help to cut down on our biting insect population! Clay Swingle, of Troop 46, researched, designed, raised money for supplies, and constructed five bat houses, with the help of his troop.
These bat houses were installed by Big Cat Rescuers in key locations throughout the sanctuary, where we hope bats will congregate and eat plenty of mosquitoes, which not only bother the staff, volunteers, and guests, but the big cats as well. Thank you, Clay, for helping us and the cats!
Watch the Big Cats Beat the Heat with a Special Treat!
Check out our latest enrichment video and watch the big cats being silly with watermelons.
Family Tour Special to Celebrate Labor Day
Bring the family and come say “Hi” to your favorite big cats on Monday September 3rd 2012 at 10 AM for a special Kids Tour.
All ages are welcome to attend this 1-hour tour geared towards children. Everyone, regardless of age, will get in for the kids admission of $19 per person.
That’s a savings of $10 per person over the age of 10! Space is limited for this special Kids Tour, so reservations and prepayment are required.
To reserve your “Spot” please call 813-323-3265 today!
Help us reach others who might love big cats by forwarding this on to your friends! Thanks!