AdvoCat News 2011 02

Happy Valentine’s Day from Big Cat Rescue
Valentine Rain Dance
Valentine Rain Dance
From all of us at Big Cat Rescue, both two footed and four footed (and the occasional three footed) we hope your hearts are full of joy on this Valentine’s Day!Thanks to YOU the 100+ exotic cats at Big Cat Rescue will never know another day of abuse but there is a trend that is being pushed by those who profit from breeding cubs for photo sessions.  They know that the best way to get lots of people to pay them to pet and pose with cubs is to get the media to promote that as being cool.

Some advertisers and media haven’t done their homework, or else don’t care that using cubs in this way fuels the demand for over breeding of big cats, who are only legally used this way from 8-12 weeks, and who then end up in overcrowded, tiny cages for the rest of their lives or worse.  (You have seen in recent alerts how these cats sometimes end up being served up as delicacies in US restaurants.)Would you be willing to make this Valentine’s Day a day to be remembered and celebrated by big cats for all time?  If all of our supporters were to make their voices heard I really believe the ad agencies and advertisers would get the message:  Using wild animals as photo props is cruel!

We have found five companies who are promoting what we believe is animal abuse because the  cubs have been bred purposely to rip from their mothers, used for four weeks of rough and frequent handling and then locked away and forgotten.  Please speak up for these animals and ask these decision makers to Have a Heart.

Harper’s Bazaar



Lexington Home Brands

For more of these visit

This means a lot to us and our gift to you can be found at:

Hope Your Valentine’s Day was Full of Love!

So many great things are happening at the sanctuary that it is really hard to get these newsletters out before a whole month has flown by! As many of you know, we have been trying to get our website upgraded since this time last year.  The long awaited day is here and the site is live and ready for your interaction. has a new interactive community section and now gives you the ability to rate and comment on most of the pages of our site.  You can join by clicking Log In at the top right or click Register at the bottom of any page.  For a limited time we are offering FREE registration if you sign up as a Volunteer and use the code word advocat.  Create your own profile and groups for your friends.  To help kick that off we are offering several of the photos of the big cats, decorated for St. Patrick’s Day, that you can use, free, as your profile avatar (profile photo).  While you are at BigCatFun check out all of the St. Patrick’s e-cards, games and goodies.


Bobcat Hernia Leads to Emergency Surgery

If you have been with us for a while, you may remember Alachua Bob, a bobcat who had been hit by a car in 2003.  His pelvis was so badly shattered that it never did heal right and he was not able to hunt, so he has lived a quiet life, far from our tour path, where he gets room service twice a day.  At the time he arrived we could only guess his age, but based upon his teeth and overall condition, we thought he must be very old.

We estimate his age to be over 20 now and this time last year we thought he was checking out on us, but thanks to the love of his keepers and a strong will to survive, he rebounded.

Just recently his keepers reported that he wasn’t eating, yet looked bloated.  Having just lost Bobby Blue Rose, a 19 year old bobcat to FIP, we were concerned that Alachua Bob may have the same condition.  What was discovered is that he had a hernia (a cut in his abdominal wall) the breadth of four fingers and his intestines were spilling outside this layer of muscle, yet inside the layer of skin.

Three hours of emergency surgery performed by Dr. Langbehn of Ehrlich Animal Hospital has Alachua Bob all sewed back up and on plenty of pain meds to keep him from messing with his stitches and staples.  These first few weeks will be the most critical.  We may alternate the Cat Hospital Camera between Alachua Bob and Skip so that YOU can help us keep an eye on them both at

YOUR donations are what enable us to provide this kind of excellent vet care.  Please Help Here!

We will soon need a release site for Bellona the bobcat.  By state law it must be on at least 40 acres of privately owned land an in Hillsborough County, since that is where she was found.  Big Cat Rescue is 55 ac, but has too much development around us to be a suitable release site.  We will need written permission by the owner for her release.  Please contact if you have a suitable release site for bobcats.


Best Spring Break Place to Visit

April Orcutt’s Travel+Leisure Online story “Best Family Spring Break Trips” is now online on, and features Big Cat Rescue as one of the best places to take your kids for spring break.  “I earned a lot of points with my kids by taking them to the Big Cat sanctuary,” says Nate’s father, Bruce Levinson.


Calling All “Cougars”

A group called “Cougars of Clearwater” made a 2010 calendar spotlighting local women ages 40 to 60. They sold 900 calendars and raised $11,000 for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This time, they’re holding auditions for a 2012 calendar to be called “Cougars of Florida” to raise money for Big Cat Rescue. It will be open to women from the entire Tampa Bay area.

E-mail photos to organizer Kathleen Slaven at


Saving Tigers to Turtles to Bobcats

The Wildlife Discovery Center at the Lake Forest Recreation Dept. in IL recently acquired a Bobcat named “Boris” who is now the heartthrob of the WDC.  However, they needed to make sure they were prepared in the event of his escape.  To that end, we shared our escape-protocols to insure a safe future for Boris the Bobcat.   Meanwhile…

Our former Education Director, Anissa Camp, attended a workshop called “The Art and Science of Animal Training.” One of the speakers was Ken Ramirez, who is with Shedd Aquarium.

Anissa reports, “His talk was how using animal training could help wild animals through research and other means; like training captive animals for blood draws to aid in a study of wild animals etc. During his talk he showed part of Big Cat Rescue’s video Leopards Helping Tigers.”

She went on to say, “He said he used that video to convince USFWS that they could train scent dogs to find buried sea turtle nests during the gulf oil spill so that the nests could be unearthed and relocated to the east coast of Florida so that the babies wouldn’t be swimming in to an oily gulf. They gave him the go ahead and he got 8 dogs from that Conservation Canine and trained them over 10 days to sniff turtle nests.  They found 30,000 eggs in 3 days of work after they were trained! They had only found 14,000 eggs before that without the dogs.”

Like Julie said in the video and again when I told her how far her efforts had gone, “You never know how we will be called upon to help!”

See Chris and Julie’s inspiring video that saved both tigers and turtles:


P. Buckley Moss Hosts a Galleria for the Cats!

P. Buckley Moss is one of America’s most prized living artists. An alumnus of New York’s prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Pat Moss is a formally educated and accomplished artist, highly regarded by academics and collectors alike. Her art is represented in over 200 galleries worldwide.

Having achieved success, she devotes a great deal of her time and effort to helping others. Donations of P. Buckley Moss art have raised over four million dollars for worthy charities

Big Cat Rescue is truly honored to be partnering together with P. Buckley Moss, the Finn Gallery and The Moon Under Water British Colonial Tavern for an evening of fine art, food and fun in support of the magnificent animals that call Big Cat Rescue home.

Date: 3/11/2011
Time: 5pm-9pm
Location: Finn Gallery, 176 4th Ave NE St. Petersburg, FL

P. Buckley Moss will be on-hand to unveil a new original painting (pictured above).  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this painting and subsequent prints will benefit Big Cat Rescue.


New Big Cat Videos to Enjoy


18 Servals, 1 Sanctuary

Big Cat Love

Check out our mini clips here:


Big Cat Bargains

Skip the Bobcat Tee Shirts

For all of you who fell in love with Skip the Bobcat, you can now share your involvement with others by wearing a Tee shirt or Necklace bearing his image.  Find the new shirts and necklaces in our secure, online store and be sure to check out the new Bargains posted there.


Big Cat Rescue’s Summer Camp 2011

Have One Wild Time on Your Summer Vacation!!!

Camp Registration opens Friday 2/25/2011. Please contact the Education Department for the Registration Packet at

AN ADVENTURE TO REMEMBER!  (For ages 8 to 15)



Children 8 to 15 years old are invited to explore the great outdoors with 100+ big cats of every size, color and purrsonality. While participating in educational activities campers enjoy meeting lions, tigers, leopards and many other felines. Join us for outdoor exploration on our 55 acre campus while learning about animal habitats, diets, adaptations and conservation. Interactive learning opportunities include diet preparation, scavenger hunts and keeper demonstrations of feedings and behavioral training with the cats.

Campers need to wear tennis shoes and clothes that can get dirty. They need to bring suntan lotion, bug repellent, a rain poncho, drinking water, a snack and lunch.

Class size is limited to ensure a quality experience for each camper, so don’t miss out! Each class is staffed by two or more adults. The summer camp experience is only $195.00 per camper for each 4-day session. (Early Cat tuition only $180.00 if completed by 6/3/2011)

Summer Camp Schedule – 9:30 am – 4:00 pm Daily
For Ages 8-11 For Ages 12-15
June 20-23    July 25-28                 June 27-30
June 27-30    Aug 1-4                     July 11-14
July 11-14      Aug 8-11                   July 18-21
July 18-21                                       Aug 1-4

To Register:  Contact Beth Kamhi, ED Director at (813) 323-3265 or


Big Cat Rescue’s Young Adult Expedition

The Big Cat Opportunity You’ve Been Waiting For!!! (for ages 16 to 18)

Have you always dreamed of a career in animal care? Are you passionate about conservation? Have you wondered what it’s like to work in this field?

Young adults ages 16-18 can explore their interests and learn from our Keepers, Staff and experts in person. Join us in small workshop formats designed to give a real taste of life in the animal care and conservation world. One session will be offered  with “Modern Conservationist” on the agenda for this summer season.Young Adult Expedition is offered for a three day session held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with a bonus option to attend our Keeper and Feeding Tours (a $150 value at no additional cost). Tuition is only $300 a session per participant. Class size is limited so register now!

Session Date: July 28-30

Young Adult Schedule 9:30 am – 4 pm Thurs & Fri, 8:30 am – 2 pm Sat
(Bonus Option!  Participants who complete the program are invited to stay for the Keeper Tour & Feeding Tour Sat 2 – 6 pm)

To Register: Contact Beth Kamhi, ED Director at (813) 323-3265,


Big Improvements at Big Cat Rescue

Just since the last AdvoCat issue went out there have been a number of improvements to the sanctuary.  Nico the Geoffroy Cat got a room addition that doubled her living space.  Arizona the Serval is in the process of getting the same.  Arrangements were made to bring in another Serval who’s owner can no longer keep her and a court room battle is playing out to send a Bobcat to Big Cat Rescue who was illegally traded as a pet in a state that does not allow such abuse.

On the new property that we just bought we have made great headway in cleaning up the mess and preparing for enhanced security.  We just gave the go-ahead to raise the fence around the north end of our property which will mean a safer environment for the cats.  We also erected a cool new way to acknowledge donors to the wall in our tour waiting area and hope that will encourage others to help us finish the project of walling in the entire sanctuary with a much higher and more secure fence.

Elsewhere, Fatal Attractions launched a new series that exposes why it is such a bad idea to allow the private possession of wild animals and Texas has finally begun to crack down on the private possession of big cats.  We have a number of alerts to protect big cats that need your voice:

All that we do is made possible through YOUR voice and YOUR support.  Thanks for being a friend to the cats!  Be sure to join us on our social sites: Sign up for free using the codeword advocat Help push us over 40,000 members here!

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