Hope you had a Happy Cinco de May & Mother's Day!
Our newest arrivals, the orphaned baby bobcat trio have a heartwarming Mother's Day story to share with you. Seeing them on LIVE Bobcat Kitten Cam is keeping us all from getting any work done around here. They are just too precious!
Even though our last issue went out only a couple of weeks ago, there is already an abundance of great news to report and lots of ways that you can help no matter who or where you are.
To save money and trees we have cut our Big Cat Times print newsletter to send it out to only about half of our mail list, so if you haven't donated in a while but want us to know you still want the newsletter, be sure to drop us a line and let us know. You can still get it online HERE.
This Ezine only goes out monthly, so if you want to stay in the Big Cat loop, follow me on Twitter where you can get updates several times a day:
With a gun in one hand and a sack of bobcat kittens in the other, an Alabama hunter proudly plopped the newborns down on the counter and asked the veterinary assistant to raise them up for him so he could give them to his kids as pets.
The vet tech was stunned, but quickly recomposed herself to tell the hunter she would do it for him so as to rescue the babies from such an awful fate. She immediately began scouring the Internet for an expert in rehab and release. When she called Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue it was agreed that the kittens would come to Florida, be raised for re-release back to the wild and the paperwork began.
It took three days to secure the Florida import permit and time was of the essence. The only kitten formula available to the clinic was one that often causes serious dehydration in bobcat kittens. The second more critical factor was that their eyes would be opening any day and if they were to ever live free it was imperative that they not bond to humans. They never make good pets, but the bonding that takes place during the nursing stage could make them fearless of people and that would get them into trouble as adults.
While Big Cat Rescue President and resident Rehabber, Jamie Veronica, hit the road to begin a 24 hour road trip to rescue the baby bobcats, Big Cat Rescue put out a call to all of the Tampa animal based charities and on all of their social networks that they needed a nursing mother cat who had kittens of her own. Jack Talman of FosteringIsCool.com found a mother cat but her kittens were too old and she was going into heat so there was concern that she may not have milk nor interest for new babies.
Big Cat Rescuer, Merrill Kramer, called on Rick Chaboudy, CEO of Suncoast Animal League in Palm Harbor, FL and he said he thought he had a good candidate. Her name was Bobbi because of her half tail and she had given birth to 6 kittens of her own and then adopted two more. He found foster parents for all but two of the kittens and brought Bobbi and her brood over to see what she thought of diversifying her family.
Introductions like these can be very scary because the mother cat can be overly protective of her own kittens and fatally strike out at the new comers. President, Jamie Veronica, has had a considerable amount of experience in this area though and had taken every precaution to make sure it went as well as it possibly could. Bobbi turned out to be a dream come true for three little orphaned bobcats though. She immediately pulled them in close to nurse and began to bathe them. The little bobcat babies were so startled that they hissed at her!
She ignored their resistance and just kept on loving on them. Once they figured out that this strange smelling "bobcat" mom had the real deal to offer at her breasts, they were in love too.
See two bobcat kitten videos here:
See photos of them on our FlickR site.
See the press they have been getting, including CNN, AOL, The Today Show, TV Guide, ABC, FOX, NBC and more on our FlickR site.
Great Non Profits Top Rated
The top-rated nonprofits list is composed of organizations that have received at least ten positive reviews from stakeholders, such as volunteers, donors, or clients.
Big Cat Rescue received 28 five star ratings and of course the animal abusers couldn't stand that so two of them (or one using two names) posted 1 star ratings just to be sure to skew the results. Says, Carole Baskin, Founder of Big Cat Rescue, "As always, the animal users and abusers posted some of their viciousness toward us because that is the only way they can be heard. What they don't know is that seeing their posts just reminds us every day that our job isn't over until all of the exotic cat abusers are shut down for good."
The reviews were posted as part of the Green Choice ‘10 campaign conducted by GreatNonprofits, in partnership with Guidestar and a coalition of nonprofit organizations. “We are gratified to be able to honor Big Cat Rescue for its work on ending the abuse and trade in big cats,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits. “They deserve to be recognized for the support they have from their community of stakeholders.”
The success of the campaign and the diversity of organizations reviewed reflect the core of GreatNonprofits’ mission to bring visibility, transparency, and accountability to the sector and allow nonprofits to engage with their community in a different way. All reviews appear on GreatNonprofits.org as well as GuideStar.org, the premiere source for donor research on nonprofits. Nonprofits with 10 or more positive reviews during the campaign are included on the GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Green Choice ‘10 Nonprofits list.
Big Cat Abuser Crack Down
Thanks to all of you who have been sending letters and making calls to your FL state representatives, the bill to ban the trade in pythons, and to require that all possessors of Class I animals post a bond has passed the House and Senate unanimously and is now going to the Governor for his final approval before becoming law in July 2010. Read more about it here: http://bit.ly/bvKdvy
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) will begin issuing press releases announcing the outcome of enforcement actions it has taken in response to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
"It is clear that certain repeat offenders are not taking issues of animal welfare and humane treatment seriously enough," APHIS Administrator Cindy Smith said. "In turn, APHIS will not only be moving more swiftly to take enforcement action, but we will be making information about those enforcement actions available to the public on our Web site."
Beginning in June, APHIS will issue monthly press releases that include case summaries where the agency is charging people and businesses with violations of the AWA. The press releases will also provide summary information about closed enforcement cases and penalties levied.
The agency previously issued press releases of this nature, but discontinued the practice in 2002. It is only because people like you have taken the time to make it clear to the USDA that you want better enforcement and more transparency that the bad guys are finally being exposed, investigated and shut down. More here: http://bit.ly/b3y3gY
What do Interns & Oil Spills Have in Common?
They both need your linens.
There probably won't be any bobcats or Florida panthers who end up soaked in oil from the spill in the Gulf, but Big Cat Rescue is often called upon by other animal rescue groups in times of such emergencies. They need towels to clean the oil off sea birds, turtles and marine mammals so here is how you can help.
1. Buy and send new animal print towels and bed linens (twins, singles, full sizes) to make our interns' 3 months stay a memorable experience.
2. Send any of your used towels, sheets, pillow cases and linens for the oil spill.
Send to the address at the bottom of this page. Thanks!
Donna Vivino Guest of Honor at Fur Ball
Tampa, Fl.- Big Cat Rescue is pleased to announce that Ms. Donna Vivino, who plays Elphaba, lead character in the in the First North American Tour of Wicked (The Emerald City Company) has been selected as recipient of the sanctuary’s 2010 “Guardian Angel” award.
Donna will be the guest of honor at the sanctuary’s Annual Fur Ball Gala on Friday, October 8th at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa to accept her award.
Ms. Vivino was selected to receive the sanctuary’s prestigious award in recognition of her avocation for animal and human welfare causes around the world. Read more about Donna Vivino and see a video of the cast of Wicked's visit to Big Cat Rescue.
Send a FREE Video E-Card for Father's Day
LaWanna has been busy creating hundreds of new ecards, games and puzzles on our Big Cat Fun site. Now you can send Video E-Cards for FREE and choose from some great Big Cat videos. See and send the most popular video ecard here:
New AdvoCat Program for Ages 16 and Older
Now AdvoCats can help out at Big Cat Rescue without having to commit to our highly structured volunteer program. This new AdvoCat program is open to people ages 16 and older and does not require the four hour per week minimum requirements of our regular program.
Activities you can participate in at the sanctuary include projects, such as painting cages, landscaping, building maintenance, data entry, helping in the gift shop, being a back up aid on tours, parking cars, greeting guests and assisting with summer camp. To ensure your safety, that of our cats and our guests, we only permit AdvoCat volunteers on site by invitation for each of these projects. To be invited, fill out the form on this page and meet a couple of amazing AdvoCats on the tabs marked Meet LaWanna and Meet Roxy. http://sites.google.com/site/advocatvolunteer/
Auroara's Gift of Guilt
In 1996, at four weeks of age, Auroara was the 3rd tiger to come to Wildlife on Easy Street. She died of cancer in 2008 and it has taken me this long to be able to talk about her again. I think it is because of the guilt I’ve carried for some of the ignorant things I did 14 years ago. Read more here: http://bit.ly/abvZBg
Protect Bobcats, Foxes, Coyotes, & Maybe Even Your Pet
Florida is one of the last strongholds of a blood sport that has been banned in more civilized states and nations. It is euphemistically called "running the dogs" because if it was called what it is, animal baiting, the public would have put a stop to the brutality long ago.
It is a hunter devised game where bobcats, foxes and coyotes are fenced in so that hunters can train their dogs to chase them. When captured these bobcats, foxes, coyotes and sometimes even pets are ripped limb from limb.
Help us end this horrendous practice once and for all with a quick and easy letter you can send online here: http://bit.ly/amkKQ8
Kids For Cats Both Far and Wild
See how young people from Tampa, Panama City, Palm Harbor, Austin TX and Lunenburg VT have become a powerful force for the big cats. At this link you will hear about how entire classrooms of kids and individuals are making a difference before they are even old enough to vote. One of them even made it possible for underage volunteers to get more involved at Big Cat Rescue where our minimum age requirement had been 18. Find out more about them and how you or your children can help save big cats.