Sabre the black leopard in a barrel

AdvoCat 2013 08

Vacation Rotation Enclosure Grand Opening


We are so pleased to announce that the Vacation Rotation Enclosure has been completed and Big Cat Rescues celebrated the grand opening of the new space with dozens of volunteers, donors, and the media.  Everyone gathered early in the morning on July 30th to watch as Bengali the tiger was the first to explore the 2.5 acre enclosure.

Tiger Playing in the Pond

After 11 longs months of hard work and $200,000 in cost the super sized enclosure inspired awe in the 18 year old tiger.  Bengali made his way through a long tunnel connecting his enclosure to the Vacation Rotation Enclosure where he enthusiastically explored every square foot.  He first checked out a large oak tree log and promptly scratch and marked it as his.  Then he made his way over to the giant jungle gym and checked out the view of his domain from atop.  Next he strolled over to the pond and took a long drink to cool off.  After that he patrolled the perimeter, during which he make a few more trips to the pond.  He has never had access to a natural body of water such as this and the muddy floor was a little intimidating to him.  He is used to his concrete pool, so the squishy mud floor was a very different experience.  After a long morning sniffing and marking Bengali finally retired to his giant cave den for a well deserved siesta.

Tiger Playing in the big yard

Bengali spent a week in the new enclosure before giving way for 24 year old Flavio to have his turn.

Our sincere thanks to the many donors who so far have funded 80% of this project, and special thanks to major donors Reitzel Foundation, Larry and Pam Trissel, the Little Family Foundation, and David G. Nugent in memory of Barbara M. Nugent.



We are still $33,400 from meeting our fundraising goal for the construction of the Vacation Rotation Enclosure.


Bobcats Go Free



Leopards in a Barrel




What? You never played that game when you were a kid? Ok, so maybe it was monkeys…Anyhow, Sabre the leopard received a very unique enrichment item this past week thanks to a special request from our summer interns.

Many of our cats love to play with cardboard tubes scented with spices or other aromas.  We use toilet paper and paper towel tubes, but recently received a large donation of some extra large cardboard tubes.  These tubes were big enough for a leopard to get inside of and that is exactly what Sabre the leopard did.

He spent much of his time lounging inside his massive tube.  However sadly with the daily rain showers at the sanctuary these cardboard tubes do not last very long before they become mushy and must be removed.  Sabre was so sad when his tube was taken away.  That is when the interns thought how nice it would be for him to have a permanent tube made of a more durable material.

And so Big Cat Rescuers took a large plastic barrel and cut the ends off making a lasting tube that Sabre could have forever.  Sabre was especially grateful and immediately rubbed on and rolled the tube back and forth before finally plopping down inside.  A huge roar of thanks to our thoughtful and creative interns!


Bobcat Kitten Moves to Outdoor Enclosure




Newest arrival Khaleesi the bobcat is doing great!  Last month we told you about this orphaned female bobcat kitten who found her way into our rehabilitation program.  Khaleesi has received her first round of vaccines and has been moved to our outdoor rehab enclosure where she will continue her training.  She will learn to camouflage herself in natural surroundings, climb trees, find den sites, and hunt during her time with us.  Once she is ready she will be released back into the wild where she rightfully belongs.


33% Match On Your Donations To Endowment


Our Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay is designed to insure that we can meet our commitment to care for the cats we take in to the end of their lives.   Currently the Community Foundation has a wonderful program where we set a fund raising goal that we have to meet over three years, and when we get to 75% of the goal, their Matching Fund puts the remaining 25% of the goal into our Endowment account.  This translates into a 33% additional matching funds for each dollar you donate  to the Endowment.  So, a donation of $100 from a supporter earns us an ADDITIONAL $33.33 from the Matching Fund!

This is a great way to leverage your donation and have even more impact for the cats.  To donate by check to our Endowment and earn the match please make the check out to Community Foundation of Tampa Bay but still send it to us at 12802 Easy Street, Tampa, FL 33625.  You can put Big Cat Rescue in the memo section for record keeping, but that is not necessary.  You will receive a receipt for the tax deductible donation from the Community Foundation, which is a 501c3 non profit like Big Cat Rescue.

To donate online (minimum $50), please go to

If you have any questions about the Endowment Fund, please email

Thanks for helping make sure the cats can receive the best possible care for their entire lives!


Bella the Tiger Has Cancer


Bella is a 17 year old female tiger who was rescued along with TJ from a breeding facility that was shut down by the USDA in 2006.  Bella is quite friendly and happily pounces over and chuffs at her keepers before flopping down and rolling the grass.  While Bella was happily rolling on her back her keepers noticed a mass on her abdomen about the size of a tennis ball.  So volunteer veterinarians Dr. Wynn and Dr. Boorstein sedated and examined Bella with the assistance of Big Cat Rescuers.  While under sedation Bella received a full physical examination.  Her body condition was good for a tiger her age weighing in at approximately 230 lbs.   Her blood was drawn and a biopsy of the mass was collected.

Sadly, the mass turned out to be cancer, (adenocarcinoma) and now Bella is losing interest in eating so, by the time you read this, she will hopefully have made the walk out to the Vacation Rotation Enclosure so that she can experience some sense of freedom in her final days!


Read Bella’s Story HERE

Sponsor Bella HERE


Lions and Tigers and Dragons, oh my!


Dragon Fruit Lip ButterWe’re SO excited to be partnering with The Body Shop USA as they launch their Dragon Fruit Lip Butter Campaign, allowing customers to vote for a choice of three great charities.

Now through November 3 with any purchase you’ll receive a token which you can use to vote for Big Cat Rescue.  Buy super-moisturizing Dragon Fruit Lip Butter and you get a second token to vote with.

You can also go to: for an additional vote!

100% of the profits from the sale of the Dragon Fruit Lip Butter go to charity so the greater the sales, the greater the funding. The more votes we get, the greater the amount of funding we receive!


Big Cat Rescuers Go On “Shore Leave”


Thanks to the ROARING generosity of The Royal Manticoran Navy, the Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, representatives from Big Cat Rescue recently tabled and spoke as part of the 35th Annual Shore Leave Science Fiction Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

The Royal Manticoran Navy is comprised of an international group of incredibly talented and passionate animal advocates who have generously supported Big Cat Rescue’s fiscal and advocacy initiatives for a number of years, including approximately $3000 raised during Shore Leave 2013.

The group celebrates the literary works of David Weber and the universe he created in his Honor Harrington series of books, which boasts over 3 million copies in print.  Mr. Weber has had more than 13 of his titles appear on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Shore Leave 2013 included such notable celebrities as William Shatner (James Kirk, Star Trek), Brent Spiner (Cmdr. Data, Star Trek, Next Generation), Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary’s Dr. Helen Magnus; Stargate G1/Atlantis’s Col Samantha Carter) and Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock and Neil Grayston (Warehouse 13).


Big Cat Videos:


Tigers vs. Sharks



3 Easy Steps to Save Big Cats and Their Cubs


Please watch these videos and then take action here:


Don’t forget to take action here:


Top 5 Most Shocking Incidents

of Big Cat Exploitation – August 2013


We hope by sharing a new list with you each month that you will join us in speaking out for the big cats and cubs that are exploited across this country every day. We encourage you to take one small action today and reach out via phone or email to contact one or more of the offenders listed below and politely express your concern. Together we can be the voice for the voiceless…together we can make a difference. Please join us in our mission of Caring for Cats & Ending the Trade.


No. 1 The Midland County Fair (Michigan) has tiger “trainer” Brunon Blaszak’s tiger show at the fair this week. A news article in the Midland Daily News claims Blaszak is “educating those watching the show about the plight of the big cats.” Please help us educate fair manager Trish Steele and Midland Daily News reporter Kelly Dame that exploiting big cats in a circus show is no life for the cats and sends the wrong message to fair goers that it is ok to own big cats and use them as entertainment. Contact Trish Steele at 989-835-7901 and Contact reporter Kelly Dame at and her editor Jack Telfer at and 989-839-4240.


No. 2 The Chesterfield County Fair (Virginia) will have a new “white tiger encounter show” at the fair this year from August 23 – 31. Please help the fair’s management understand that the white tiger is not an endangered species. The white coat is the result of a double recessive gene and only occurs through severe inbreeding, such as father to daughter. Ask the fair to CANCEL this show and not allow big cats to be exploited for profit at their fair. Contact fair president Kenny Chandler at and 804-908-1861. Contact fair manager Julia Williams at and 804-405-9234.


No. 3 The New Jersey State Fair (New Jersey) ended last Sunday but it’s not too late to let the fair’s management know that big cat lovers do not want to see a tiger cub and Canadian lynx at the fair next year. Please let Executive Director Barbara Wortmann know that you don’t want to see Jungle Habitat bring wild cats to the fair in the future. Contact her at and 973-948-5500.


No. 4 Ventura County in Malibu (California) has conditionally approved the request by tiger merchant Irena Hauser, who owns 5 tigers, to house them in a residential area of Malibu despite the outcry and concern of many area citizens. We understand Hauser plans to use the tigers in the movie industry and transport them for filming purposes, putting the public at even greater risk every time the tigers are transported. Please contact Case Planner Jay Dobrowalski at and let him know you oppose Case PL 13-0011 and the private ownership of big cats.


No. 5  Last month, the Uncle Sam Jam (Michigan) had a white tiger exhibit at this extremely loud event which featured monster trucks, fireworks, carnival rides and blaring rock bands all weekend. A supporter who contacted us said the noise level was incredible. Would you please speak out for this tiger and let the event staff know that their event is no place for a tiger? Contact the event manager at and 586-493-4344.


If you hear about exotic cats or cubs being exploited in your area, please contact Susan Bass at As always, you can keep up with the latest action alerts at Thank you!



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  1. Please check into turmeric for Bella's cancer. If you can find a vet who uses herbal medicine and homeopathy, maybe you could slow her tumor's progression. Oleander has also been used in people to kill cancer cells. Dr. Christina Chambreau is a small animal veterinarian who might know of a large animal vet with a more natural practice.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about Bella. She is so beautiful. I hope her last days are pain free and she has an easy passing over the Rainbow Bridge. So, so sad.

  3. So so so sorry to hear Bella has adnocarcinoma. My kitty (avatar) got the same thing and she only lasted 4 months from diagnosis till I sadly saw the time had come to put her down. Can Bella eat soft food (I used to put a homeopathic cancer support supplement in yogurt)? I understand this type of cancer is not supposed to hurt but the location makes it uncomfortable and it grows like a runaway train. I despair that it can be caught early enough to help. Even if you removed the tumor, lymph node invasion means another (or more) takes its place. Hope Bella has enjoyment in her remaining time.

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