Happy Holidays from Big Cat Rescue

AdvoCat News 2011 11

100 Cars for Good Benefits 100 Big Cats


Toyota 100 Cars for Good

We want to send out a huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good contest. Big Cat Rescue won and celebrated with Stadium Toyota last Wednesday night.


This Toyota Tundra will go a long way in helping the big cats from hauling supplies, to taking cats to the vet, to cross-country rescue trips!


More photos of the celebration.



Zanesville Massacre Sparks Change in Legislation to Protect Wild Animals


The recent events in Zanesville, OH will haunt our minds forever.  Our only hope is that in the wake of such tragedy public outcry will demand better laws to protect captive exotic animals as well as the people that reside near the back yard collectors who house them.


62-year-old Terry Thompson had been released from a federal prison September 30 after pleading guilty earlier this year to possessing illegal firearms, including five fully automatic firearms. He had also been convicted in 2005 for animal cruelty. Thompson returned to his 73-acre farm where he housed his personal collection of 56 exotic animals including lions, tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys and more.  For reasons unknown, on October 18th, Thompson released his collection of exotic pets, damaging the enclosures so the animals could not be recaptured, and then took his own life.


Shortly after, around 5 PM, 911 calls reported of lions and bears roaming freely along the side of the road near his farm. Officers dispatched to the scene were ordered to kill the animals instead of trying to bring them down with tranquilizers for fear that those hit with darts would escape in the darkness and soon regain consciousness. Thompson’s farm was located just outside of Zanesville that has a population of 25,000, authorities could not take the risk of losing sight of these dangerous animals that could potentially harm or even kill nearby neighbors.


Killed were 2 wolves, 6 black bears, 2 grizzly bears, 9 male lions, 8 lionesses, 1 baboon, 3 mountain lions, and 18  tigers. Six animals survived including; 3 leopards, 2 monkeys, and a grizzly bear that did not attempt to escape their cages.  These animals taken to the Columbus Zoo where they remain today. At this point, the only animal still unaccounted for is a macaque monkey that may be infected with the Herpes B virus, however authorities believe that his animal may have been eaten by one of the big cats.


Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them. Lax state laws coupled with an urge to own an exotic creature is often a death sentence for both the owners and their pets.  According to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Campaign in Washington, D.C., 90 percent of large animals considered wild or exotic die within the first two years of captivity. The Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, is working with wildlife expert Jack Hanna to create new regulations in the state for nonnative animals so this kind of disaster never happens again. According to reports a task force has already been assembled and they’re about six weeks away from the new restrictions.


You can speak out for these animals as well as for the countless others that are hidden away in cramped sub-standard conditions in back yards all across the country.  Visit CatLaws.com to let your legislators know that you want better laws that will protect both exotic animals and the public.  At CatLaws.com we make it easy for you to advocate for the animals. Each current issue is concisely outlined, choose to write your own letter or select from available pre-written letters, enter your zip code to send your letter automatically to your local legislator or choose the option of printing your letter and mailing it.  With just a few clicks of the mouse and less than 5 minutes you can make a difference and protect wild animals from falling victim to tragedies such as the Zanesville massacre.


Please tell the Cedar Mall in WI that hosting cub pimping displays is what leads to tragedies like the bloody slaughter of 38 lions, tigers and cougars in Zanesville, OH https://catlaws.com



Pumpkin Fun with Big Cats

Big Cats and Pumpkin Fun


Check out our Halloween – Pumpkin Fun  album on Big Cat Rescue’s facebook page to see lots of great photos of the big cats playing with their pumpkins.


A big thanks to East Lake United Methodist Church for donating pumpkins 2 years in a row!



Check out this awesome video to see the cats having a blast with their pumpkins!





Animal Law Students Visit Sanctuary


Big Cat Rescue’s Founder Carole Baskin’s favorite people are those who are getting involved in politics to end the abuse of big cats.  In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King said, “It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.”  While we are working hard to change the way people think about big cats, by showing them how smart they are and how deserving they are of our protection and respect, we have found that the only way to save them is by encouraging bans on their possession as pets, props and for their parts.  Carole gives free group tours to people who are dedicating their lives to these same ideals and recently hosted the Ethics class at Eckerd College and Animal Law Students from both Stetson and Barry University.  “These are my favorite tour groups because they already get the big picture and are visiting to remind themselves of what they are fighting for,” says Baskin.



Python Swallows Whole Deer.  Help End Importation of Wild Animals.


As the recent tragedy in Zanesville, Ohio so painfully illustrated, there’s no good reason for individuals to keep dangerous predators as pets, and the outcome is inevitably disastrous—for the people who are put at risk, for the wild animals themselves who are confined in unnatural settings that fail to meet their complex needs, and, in this case, the animals who met such an untimely and violent death. Another news story that broke this weekend—a 76-pound adult female deer was found intact inside a 16-foot-long Burmese python in the Everglades—shows that when these exotic pets are released or escape into the wild, they are capable of wreaking ecological havoc on our natural resources.  Click the link above to read the story and see how you can help protect our native wildlife.



Big Cat Rescue Frees Serval from Birdcage in Basement


Serval Rescued

When a caller asked Big Cat Rescue to relieve him and his wife of the serval they had kept in a bird cage in their basement, we were full after just rescuing 3 tigers from a large sanctuary in Texas that went bankrupt.  The serval was a three year old, intact, declawed male that had been bred by Sue Arnold in Okeechobee, FL and sold to this Ohio couple.  Only the wife could get near the cat and “he wasn’t fun any more now that he was an adult.”  Note that almost all of the calls we get from people trying to get rid of servals and jungle cats report that they originated at Sue Arnold’s exotic kitten mill.  All of the accredited sanctuaries were full as well; many because of the failing of the TX facility. So we began looking to other facilities where we knew Ollie the serval would have a good home and not end up back in the pet trade.  Thankfully, Christine Janks of Carson Springs Wildlife Foundation had a 20 x 60 foot enclosure available and was willing to take on another exotic cat, which would be a huge commitment to feed and care for throughout the next 15 years of his life expectancy.  Christine had also recently taken in 3 tigers from the now defunct wild animal sanctuary in Texas.



1st Annual Florida Panther Festival



The 1st ever Florida Panther Festival was held at the North Collier County Park event center just north of Naples on October 29th.  This event was organized by US Fish and Wildlife Service, Collier County Parks & Rec, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Defenders of Wildlife and many other SW Florida wildlife and conservation groups.  The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the important efforts needed to save the Florida Panther, who’s numbers have been rising, but still only approximate 100-120.   There was an exhibit hall with representatives from the various sponsoring groups, a room dedicated to educating people on “how to live with panthers”, presentations from park rangers from the Fish and Wildlife service, vendors selling wildlife inspired art & crafts, and a raffle to raise funds.  “I was honored to present as a donation from BCR a painting done by our own Hal Cougar.” says Lynda Licht, the Big Cat Rescuer who attended and tabled at the event on behalf of the sanctuary.


Here are some interesting facts that Linda learned during her day at the festival that we would like to share with you;


There are 4 National Parks in Florida including the Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Park.  These two parks comprise much of the southwestern part of Florida and is critical panther habitat.  There is also the 26,400 acre Florida Panter National Wildlife Refuge just north west of Big Cypress National Park where volunteers give guided nature walks along the hiking trails as well as many outreach programs about the panthers.  They estimate that the refuge provides safe habitat for about 10 adult panthers.  During one of the presentations, the park ranger repeatedly reinforced the concept that these parks are public land, which means it belongs to all of us and that we all have a responsibility to be stewards to all the wildlife and plant life therein.  These lands exist so that we can continue to know and experience how panthers behave in the wild – how they are meant to be – not just observed in zoos and cages.   It was a powerful and important message – one that we share with our guests as well.


A groundbreaking two-year study paid for by UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service involves tagging 400 calves at two Immokalee-area ranches over the next two years to try to pin down how often panthers are dragging off calves and dragging down the ranches’ bottom lines. The study led by University of Florida graduate student Caitlin Jacobs could help guide a possible government program to compensate ranchers.  Lost calves are often blamed on Panther predation and this creates a lot of opposition to having panther populations in those areas.   At one of the ranches panthers were blamed for the loss of 70 calves last fall. Each calf is valued between $600-$800. Through radio tracking, researchers are alerted and can find the down calves to determine the cause of death. Experts can recognize a panther kill by the size of the bite marks, their location, how the calf has been eaten and where it was eaten. A companion research project by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is putting radio collars on panthers at the two ranches to try to find out where they are taking their kills and what they’re eating there. The study is in it’s beginning stages, but so far 3 calves went missing before they could be tagged, 2 were abandoned by their mothers, and 1 was killed by a Florida Panther.


Most of the Florida panthers in SW Florida are collared with a radio transmitter so they can track the population and roaming patterns.   When females are known to have a litter, park rangers will locate the den when the kittens are about 3 weeks old.  They are counted, microchipped and hair and blood samples are taken so they can analyze the genetics of each litter (with so few remaining, in-breeding and a weak gene pool is a constant concern.)    On September 14, 2011, female P188’s collar transmitted a mortality signal and rangers were immediately concerned about her litter that they had been processed a few months before.   They were able to trap 2 of the 3 kittens and they were transferred to the White Oak rehabilitation center outside of Jacksonville.  There these two kittens (a male and female) will live inside a 5 square mile fenced area with minimal human contact, with hopes of being released back into the wild in approximately one year.


Cookie Tiger Dental

Cookie Tiger Goes Under the Knife…Twice


Cookie the tiger was rescued from a facility in Mississippi along with Alex, another tiger, in 2008. She had been abandoned by her owner along with 13 other big cats.  You can read the story of their rescue.


Big Cat Rescuers recently noticed a small quarter sized mass that had developed on the inside of Cookies rear leg.  Arrangements were made by staff and BCR’s veterinarian Dr. Wynn to sedate Cookie to remove the mass.  While Cookie was sedated a routine examination was performed.  The 17-year-old tigress weighed 305 lbs. Blood was drawn and samples of the mass were collected for testing. Her overall condition looked great for a cat her age, with the exception of two of her teeth.  One of her upper canines had long since broken off (prior to her arrival) and was rotting and one of her lower canines was chipped exposing the root.  In addition, a tennis ball sized mass was found in her abdomen, samples of which were also collected for testing.  The mass on Cookie’s leg was removed and she was sutured up with stitches as well as staples.  She was then recovered in the cat hospital cage and prescribed two weeks of antibiotics.


During the next week, Dr. Wynn made arrangements with veterinary dental surgeon Dr. Peak, who runs 2 dental offices by the name of The Pet Dentist in Largo and  Wesley Chapel. Some of Dr. Peak’s wilder patients have included a gorilla, an elephant, and our very own dearly departed Freckles the liger. Dr. Peak agreed to bring his equipment and support staff to Big Cat Rescue to perform Cookie’s needed dental surgery onsite in our Cat Hospital.


The surgery took just over 3 hours, in which time Dr. Peak removed Cookies upper canine and did a root canal on her lower canine.  The procedures went smoothly and Cookie is now happily recovering back in the comfort of her enclosure.  She will most certainly be feeling much better very soon thanks to the heroic efforts of Dr. Peak, his staff, and Dr. Wynn.


See photos here:  https://bigcatrescue.org/2011/today-at-big-cat-rescue-oct-31/


Fun Fur All Ball at Skipper’s


Join us for a benefit concert at Skipper’s Smoke House in Tampa on Sunday December 11th.  Enjoy musical entertainment from Juanjamon Band, Skull and Bone Band, The Human Condition, and Sunset Bridge while perusing the raffle and auction items, including original paintings created live during the show by local artists.


The Fun Fur All Ball is from 4-9 PM.  Tickets are a $10 minimum suggested donation.  Check out Skipper’s facebook page and Like them.


Get the latest details about the event or RSVP on their Event page.



Seasons Grrr-eetings! Check Out Big Cat Rescue’s Holiday Gift Guide


There are more ways than ever to get all of your holiday shopping done and support the big cats at the same time. Click on one of the bolded titles below to start checking those names off your gift list today. Don’t wait ’til the last minute, its fur a good cause.


Happy Holidays from Big Cat Rescuehttps://www.bigcatrescue.biz/ – We have completely redesigned our online gift shop and have added lots of new items, so be sure to check it out for great Big Cat Rescue logo merchandise and an outstanding selection of big cat themed gifts.


https://www.bigcatrescue.biz/ – Give a unique gift to that special person with a gift of sponsorship.  Sponsorship kits are available for all of the cats at Big Cat Rescue and are available in levels ranging from $25 – $5,000.  The basic kit includes a personalized 8×10 color photo of one of the big cats, a 4-page color information booklet about the chosen species, and an exclusive Big Cat Rescue window decal. Each level comes with its own variety of gifts and benefits.


https://www.bigcatrescue.biz/ – Send a little something extra with a Holiday Grrr-eeting color photo. Each glossy 8×10 features one of the cats residing at the sanctuary.  At the bottom of the photo appears a holiday themed banner that reads; Happy Holidays to NAME HERE from BIG CAT’S NAME.


Big Cat Fun – Check out our Big Cat Fun site for tons of free holiday e-Cards, screensavers, santa letter templates, games and more!  There’s so much to do at BigCatFun.com


Earth and Animal Wellness – Cindy Wines is a Big Cat Rescue donor who has shown us a way to change our grocery shopping dollars into donations to the sanctuary.  We have started using the everyday products at the sanctuary and in our homes and love that they are cruelty free, eco friendly, safe and effective.  Find out how you can save money or even earn money while protecting the planet and supporting Big Cat Rescue.


ShopOnPurpose – Popular retailers will donate 1% to 31% to the cats every time you shop through the store links on Big Cat Rescue’s shopping page. Choose from 45 online stores including; Aeropostale, Banana Republic, Columbia, Disney Store, Puma, Sears, Target, The Body Shop and more.  ShopOnPurpose, is passionate about showing people how they can contribute to Big Cat Rescue every time they shop online. You can make a difference while saving money on the things you already buy from the stores you already use!


Enthusem – Upload your own photos, or choose from ours, and send a card for less that what it would cost you to buy a card and postage in the store.


Magazine Subscriptions – Buy or renew your favorite magazine subscriptions at up to 85% off newsstand prices. 40% of your online purchase is donated to the cats at Big Cat Rescue. Over 650 popular titles.


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