Loading Andre into the Transport

AdvoCat News 2011 10

3 New Tigers Call Big Cat Rescue Home


Loading Andre into the transport.

We are very excited to announce the rescue of three very special tigers; Amanda, Andre & Arthur.

The economic crunch has been felt nationwide by all and charities are no exception.  In fact it is non-profits that are often affected first.  When money becomes tight and every dollar counts, donating to a charity is the first budget cut for most individuals.  These difficult financial times struck one particular sanctuary in Texas so hard that they were forced to declare bankruptcy and close their doors for good.  Soon after they were faced with the challenge of finding homes for the hundreds of animals that resided on the grounds including bears, monkeys, and big cats. With no funds to care for the animals the International Fund for Animal Welfare and others stepped in to cover the cost of food until all of the animals could be placed in new homes. More than one year later keepers at the sanctuary were struggling to place the last of their animals and enlisted the help of the Global Federation of Sanctuaries to help them do so.

Meanwhile Big Cat Rescue was visited by a special person that had a very special request.  This person believed he and his wife knew some of the tigers in Texas that were in need of a home.  They had met the cats nearly 15 years earlier, when they were cubs, at another facility in New Jersey.  They knew the Texas sanctuary had rescued more than 20 tigers from the New Jersey facility in 2003, but they did not know if the cubs they had once known were still living.

They had a few old photographs of the cubs and asked if we could identify whether or not any of the tigers in Texas were the same cats.  It just so happened that Big Cat Rescuers, Jamie Veronica, Gale Ingham, and Honey Wayton, were making their way across the country to transport Abel the cougar to his new home in Nevada.  On their way back to Tampa they stopped and took photographs of 7 tigers at the Texas sanctuary.  These 7 tigers were the last of the group of tigers rescued from New Jersey.  A tiger’s stripes are as unique as a person’s finger prints.  While it was difficult to match the fuzzy stripes of a cub to the sleek stripes of an adult it was not impossible.  After hours of analyzing each photograph the results were in.  Five of the cubs were identified within the group of seven tigers.

Upon receiving confirmation that the tigers in Texas were in fact the cubs they had met so long ago the couple agreed to fund the ongoing care of the cats if we would be able to take them in.  At the time we only had room for 3 tigers, and they were given the decision as to which 3 would come to Big Cat Rescue.  Arrangements were made with Carolina Tiger Rescue in North Carolina to take in the remaining 4.  These 7 tigers had lived together for most of their lives therefore it was important to the couple that the cats go to places where they would not have to be separated.

On September 27th Big Cat Rescuers, Jamie Veronica, Gale Ingham, Jeff Kremer, and Chris Poole traveled to Texas to load the tigers into a transport trailer provided by supporters Laura and JT of Loving Friends Transport.  Jamie and Gale then escorted Amanda, Andre and Arthur back to Tampa.  The trip was just over 20 hours. All three tigers traveled in style.  Each had their own transport cage with soft hay, sturdy water bowls, and a giant bone to keep them occupied.  The transport trailer in which they rode was air-conditioned and outfitted with cameras so all 3 tigers could be monitored in the main cab.  The group arrived the next day and were greeted with the excited buzz of the media and fellow Rescuers.

All 3 tigers are settling right in to their new surroundings.  Four adjacent enclosures, one of which was also expanded with a large addition, were connected together to give Amanda, Andre and Arthur plenty of room to roam.  Each enclosure has a large rock den, elevated platforms, and a pool giving these three lucky tigers plenty of places to hang out and lots of fun things to do. To see a video showing the preparation it took to rescue these tigers click HERE and be sure to subscribe to BigCatTV to see the rescue video coming soon.  More pics of the rescue can be found HERE. Check out the media coverage on Fox  and TBO.com



NJ Bill to Protect Tigers


Are you a resident of New Jersey?  Do you love tigers?  A new bill has been introduced by state legislators that would create a captive tiger registration system. This bill will be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection in order to ensure that captive tigers in New Jersey do not fall into the illegal tiger trade.  The information obtained through the registration system would include; owner’s contact information, location of where the tiger is housed, birth date, weight, and sex of the tiger, a description of it’s unique markings, a color photograph, and a hair sample from the tiger sufficient to meet any future need for DNA analysis.  The bill also requires that all tigers be micro-chipped and upon its death the tiger must be submitted to an approved facility to remove the micro-chip and dispose of the remains in a manner that will not permit any part of the tiger to make its way into the illegal trade.

Your legislators need to know that you support this bill.  Visit CatLaws.com to show your support for S 3061 today.  It takes seconds for you and means the world to them.


Vote for Big Cat Rescue to Win $25,000!


If you live in AR, LA, TX, FL, AZ, CO, NM, or Salt Lake City UT and at least 13 years of age or older we need you to vote for Big Cat Rescue to win $25,000 that will go towards providing low cost and free group tours and field trips to organizations and schools that do not have the funding for such opportunities.

Vote every day from now until October 15th. Each day you will receive 5 votes.

Visit VoteCats.com, login with your email address and zip code, and use the code # 0063 to find Big Cat Rescue.  You can cast all 5 votes one after another.  We are currently in 5th place so please vote daily.Be sure to share with friends and family to help the big cats win!

What will the grant funds go towards?

We provide 100+ school and community field trips annually at modest cost to cover program expenses. With the current economic conditions and budget cuts facing local schools, field trips are being dramatically reduced or eliminated during the 2011-2012 school year. Therefore, Big Cat Rescue offers an Educational Grant Program funded by donations to ensure access for Title I schools, disabled Veterans, and NGO’s serving special needs populations such as the Children’s Home, Family Resources, AMI and many others. An award from the Albertsons Community Challenge grant project will go a long way to support the program costs including transportation and attendance for educational field trips to the sanctuary. The program is offered and expanded throughout the school year as funding is available. We ask for your participation to provide access for as many kids as possible. Join us in making a difference!


Leopard Eye Consult


Eye-One a wild female Sri Lankan Leopard at Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka

Big Cat Rescue receives hundreds of emails every day covering a never ending variety of subjects.  One in particular real caught our “eye”.  Dr.  Rishani M. Gunasinghe who lives in Sri Lanka had written to us about a wild leopard residing in the Wilpattu National Park. The leopard, who appeared to be blind in one eye, was a female Sri Lankan Leopard. The Sri Lankan Leopard has been classified as endangered by the IUCN, and the population is fast dwindling due to poaching, habitat loss etc.

The 2-year-old leopard is a park favorite and is seen often by visitors on safari. The park has named her Eye-One. Dr. Gunasinghe had read a few articles on our website and informed us that they were looking for an experienced wildlife veterinary surgeon who might be willing to take a look at some photographs of the leopard, and give an opinion as to what this leopard might be suffering from. They were trying to get a proper diagnosis and explore the possibility of treating her. Such practices are rare in Sri Lanka so they had turned to international experts who might be able to help. Due to her partial blindness, she can only hunt small prey like the Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl. At the moment she doesn’t seem severely malnourished, but they were afraid that she might also easily fall prey to illegal poachers because of her disability.

We forwarded the email to Dr. Tammy Miller Michau, an ophthalmologist with BluePearl in Tampa, who has seen a few of Big Cat Rescue’s residents in the past including Narla the cougar and Calvin the palm civet. We asked if she would have a look at the photos of the leopard and follow up with Dr. Gunasinghe.  After close examination of the photos and knowing the limitations of treating a wild leopard, she recommended doing nothing at this time. “The severity of the leopard’s corneal edema indicated a significant injury to the corneal endothelial layer (possibly from trauma, although there are other considerations). Topical medical therapy is highly unlikely to result in any significant improvement. If the corneal edema is the only thing wrong with the eye, she should still have some vision out of it. Other differentials that can cause what I see in the photograph include glaucoma, stromal keratitis (viral or immune mediated), congenital abnormalities, etc. I think that most of these other things are unlikely due to the fact that she is obviously not in any discomfort (no discharge, tearing, squinting) and the eye is the same size as her other one. Her eye is likely contributing to her hunting only small prey, but I fear her apparent lack of fear of humans puts her more at risk from poachers than her eye does. If she ever develops discharge/tearing or obvious discomfort from the eye I would re-evaluate the situation at that time.” Dr Michau.

Eye-One will be continued to be monitored closely by the park staff for any change in her condition. Meanwhile we are so happy that we were able to put Dr. Gunasinghe in touch with Dr. Michau.


Purr-sonal tribute to Steve Jobs from all the cool “cats” at BCR


Big Cat App
Big Cat App available now at iTunes

Because of all the graphics and desktop publishing that we do at Big Cat Rescue we have been Mac users for many, many years, dating back to the original G5 tower.  In 2009 when our record keeping system was all being translated into digital records that we could share and store in Google Education Apps we switched our phones over to iPhones.  This way our vet, staff and key keepers could access every record for every animal just by touching the screen on their phones.

From there we moved in 2010 to using iPads after 6 of them were donated to us at the Fur Ball.  Now, with access to the Cloud and all of the great apps and features that were the brain child of this remarkable man and his team we are able to provide the best animal care possible.

We are able to document that care to share with each other and with you.  Most of the photos that you see in the series Today at Big Cat Rescue were shot with iPhones.  We were able to use the platforms he built to launch the Big Cat App.  Most of the videos that you see on our pages were edited in iMovie.  Many of our millions of viewers have been through iTunes.  Big Cat Rescue has been so amazed by the brilliance of the Apple creator and team that we have even invested in their stock.  The world has lost an unparalleled innovator in Steve Jobs and he will be missed.


Your Vote Can Continue Snow Leopard Conservation


Vote to Save Snow Leopards

The Snow Leopard Trust has been selected as one of 12 finalists in the 2011 BBC World Challenge! If the Snow Leopard Trust wins, a $20,000 dollar cash prize will be awarded to support and expand snow leopard conservation. The Snow Leopard Trust will also be featured in Newsweek and on BBC World News, which is great publicity for such a worthwhile cause!

Voting is limited to one vote per person and ends on November 11th.

The BBC World Challenge wants to honor programs that show enterprise and innovation without creating a cost to the earth. The Snow Leopard Trust is the only wildlife conservation initiative in the contest and they have nominated their ‘Snow Leopard Enterprises’ conservation program. Snow Leopard Enterprises helps herding families in Mongolia make and sell beautiful handmade crafts, and in return, these families commit to protecting snow leopards and their habitat.


Bongo Serval Goes to the Vet


Bongo the serval loves special treats and when he refused them one night his keepers became worried.  His behavior had also taken a sudden shift.  Big Cat Rescuers made an appointment for him to visit the vet for an exam.  Wild cats have a natural instinct to hide their injuries or illnesses so they give very few clues as to when they are not feeling well. Bongo was taken to the vet where he was examined, had xrays taken and blood drawn. Bongo looked great for a 20-year-old cat! His coat was full and sleek, his teeth were in perfect condition, his initial blood work indicated his kidney values were within range and his x-rays showed only mild arthritis.  Internal parasites were found in his fecal results for which he was prescribed medication and then he was sent home.

All of the cats at the sanctuary are treated monthly as well as quarterly with specific de-wormers to combat internal parasites, however every now and again some of the cats catch a meal of their own that is not on the Big Cat Rescue menu. We have seen heavy rains during the last few months after which the lizards and frogs thrive.  Bongo being the cat that he is must have eaten one of these slimy visitors that visited his enclosure. While Bongo was at the vet, volunteers and interns took the opportunity to do some landscaping in his enclosure.  They trimmed up the palmetto bushes, gathered up sticks and raked the leaves.  Bongo has completed his course of medication and is doing just fine now, loving his special treats and all.

Cameron the lion with Pumpkin

Halloween Cards, Games, Etc. on Big Cat Fun


Visit BigCatFun.com for a wild selection of big cat Halloween themed e-Cards, screensavers, puzzles, word games, crafts, party favors and more.  There is a ton of cool stuff on the site and it’s free!  So head on over and check it out!



Big Cat Birthdays


Some very special big cats are celebrating their birthdays this month.  The three “Cougar Cubs” Ares, Orion, and Artemis are turning 6, Cameron the lion is turning 11, and Cookie the tiger is turning 17!  You can make each of these cat’s birthdays extra special by sponsoring them.  https://www.bigcatrescue.biz/ donations help us to provide the cats with delicious food, spacious enclosures, cozy dens, and fun toys to play with.  Sponsorships are available in gift amounts from $25 to $5,000 and make great gifts for any occasion.



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