AdvoCat News 2011 12 Happy Growl-idays

3 Connecting Tunnels, 2 Enclosure Additions, and a Leopard Jungle Gym

It has been a busy month for Big Cat Rescue.  As always, during the holidays, we receive many more visitors to the sanctuary, which is great because we are able to share the stories of the cats and inform the public how they can help put an end to the abuse of big cats in captivity!  Big Cat Rescuers have also been very busy enhancing the lives of the cats residing at the sanctuary.

A few of the most recent projects included an enclosure addition for Purr-sistance the ocelot and Windstar the bobcat.  Not only do they have lots of extra space, but we are now able to shift them easily from one side of their enclosure to the other making maintenance a breeze.

Pharaoh the serval, and Anasazi, Will, Bailey and Moses the bobcats all have new space to explore as well.  Their enclosures were connected with a series of tunnels so that they can each be shifted to the neighboring enclosure.  Shifting enclosures is quite enriching for the cats. Each enclosure offers a different view of the surroundings and provides the cat with a host of new and intriguing scents to discover.

Reno the leopard was the lucky recipient of a massive jungle gym designed and constructed by Big Cat Rescue’s Enrichment Committee.  He loves the complex series of platforms and catwalks and he certainly shows his appreciation by spending nearly all of his time lounging on the highest of the platforms.

These enclosure additions and platforms are thanks, not only to the dedicated volunteers who give of their free time to help with building, but to our generous supporters such as you!  Your donations make it possible for us to give every cat in our care the very best life possible in captivity.  So on behalf of the cats, Thank You!!


The Zanesville Massacre Could Happen Anywhere

Zanesville Massacre 18 tigers 17 lions 3 cougars gunned down

At 5:30 a.m. on October 19, 2011, the phones at Big Cat Rescue began ringing with the news that Terry Thompson, a private owner and collector of exotic animals in Ohio, had released 56 of his lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, wolves and bears before committing suicide.

As the watching world soon learned that day, Thompson had purposely cut the doors off his animals’ cages so they could not be returned to them. And because the perimeter fence around his property was a mere four- foot high cattle fence, and it was getting dark, the authorities who arrived on the scene were forced to shoot and kill all but six of the dangerous wild animals.

This senseless tragedy unfolded in Zanesville, Ohio, but it could just as easily have been in Tampa or any other city in Florida.  Read More


Snow Leopard Guardian Alliance

In addition to providing a permanent home to more than 100 big cats and advocating on their behalf to promote legislation that will protect captive wild animals, Big Cat Rescue also provides aid for programs focused on conservation.  Our most recent project is the funding of a GPS tracking collar that will be monitored by researchers with the Snow Leopard Trust. Founded in 1981, the Snow Leopard Trust is the world’s leading authority on the study and protection of the endangered snow leopard. This collar will allow researchers to track a wild snow leopard in order to study its habits and territory needs.

We are excited to provide you with this teaser update on the field project from the Snow Leopard Trust researhers: A GPS tracking collar has been placed on one of the cubs of Khashaa, a female and mother snow leopard, within the study area. The cub, a male, is already pretty big at one and a half years old. We find this so exciting because it will help us begin to answer some of the unanswered questions about snow leopards, including information about dispersal patterns.

The Snow Leopard Trust is allowing us to share some of the great inside stories and tracking information that is only made available to those who sponsor the $5,000 Collar Project. If you would like to receive access to these updates and photos directly from the field you can join a limited number of individuals by becoming a member of Big Cat Rescue’s Snow Leopard Guardian Alliance.  Membership is $5 and as a member you will receive access to exclusive updates and photos for one year.  Membership is limited to the first 700 who sign up.  The membership fees collected will go directly towards funding the collar project.  The remaining $1,500 of the project has been funded by Big Cat Rescue in honor of our extraordinary team of staff and volunteers.

Sign up today and get full access to the first of many updates and photos to come. Check out photos of the newest contributor to snow leopard research, the 1.5 year old male snow leopard – and then go to


Gr-r-reat American Teach-In

A huge THANK YOU to all of our Big Cat Rescuers who attended the Great American Teach-In this year: Ann Berringer, Denny Mitchell, Honey Wayton, Jennifer Flatt, Kim Dever, Lynda Licht,  Merrill Kramer, and Sharyn Beach.  Our dedicated Big Cat Rescuers attended 20 schools and gave presentations that reached 1,684 students! Educating these children about our important mission and the issues facing big cats–it’s such an important job. If you would like to join our family of Big Cat Rescuers please visit our website to see how you can become a VOLUNTEER.


Serval Gets Second Opinion

Tonga the serval was not acting himself recently and his keepers noticed right away.  He was mildly lethargic and so an appointment was made for him to visit the vet. He was taken to Ehrlich Animal Hospital to see Big Cat Rescue’s veterinarian Dr. Wynn. She performed an examination on the 15-year-old serval including xrays and a blood test. There appeared to be nothing wrong with Tonga, so while he was sedated we took the opportunity to have him neutered.  He recovered in our onsite Cat Hospital before being returned to his enclosure.

Unfortunately several days later an abscess ruptured on his inner thigh.  He was lured into a transport cage and seen by Dr. Wynn a second time. The abscess could have been the result of a variety of things and its exact cause is unknown.  The wound was cleaned and Tonga spent an additional two weeks recovering in the cat hospital and was given a course of antibiotics.  While staying in doors and wearing an e-collar may not have been his first choice, Tonga certainly did not mind the frequent visits and treats from his keepers.  The wound healed completely and Tonga was once again taken back out to his enclosure.  You can help us provide excellent veterinary care by making a donation HERE. Tonga says thank you!


Sad Farewell to Feline Friends

We are very sad to announce the recent passing of two of our wonderful feline friends. 17-year-old Simba the tiger lost her battle with heart and kidney disease on Thanksgiving Day and 15-year-old Zoul the serval, rescued earlier this year from New York, also succumbed to heart disease.  Simba and Zoul will be missed dearly by everyone at Big Cat Rescue.  While we can take solace in knowing that we have provided them the best care during their time with us, it is never easy when we must say good bye to one or our dear friends.  We would like to thank you for making it possible for us to rescue Simba and Zoul and provide them with the best time of their life.



Max Bobcat Rescue

Meet Max the bobcat and hear the story of his rescue. Check out this video.


Fun Fur All Ball at Skipper’s this Sunday

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.


Charity Navigator gives Big Cat Rescue 4-Star Rating

Big Cat Rescue has a 4-Star Rating with Charity Navigator.  We are also pleased to announce that Big Cat Rescue has the highest overall score of any sanctuary.  Check it out HERE.


Ways for YOU to Win

1. $100 gift card from The Body Shop for you and $1,000 for the big cats!

Check out The Body Shop’s holiday giveaway contest for your chance to win a $100 Gift Card as well as $1,000 in products that will be donated to Big Cat Rescue.  Visit the contest page and “shake” a festive snow globe for a chance to win. After you click to “shake” the globe you can help Big Cat Rescue win too by clicking the link at the bottom right of the globe graphic to Donate Shakes. Fill out the quick form with your email address and select either US or Canada resident. Click choose charity and from there select Big Cat Rescue.  After you are finished you can increase Big Cat Rescue’s odds of winning by sharing on Facebook and Twitter. Return daily from now until Christmas to try again!

 2. Last Chance to Enter for a Chance to Win Bucs Tickets

You could win tickets to see the Buccaneers vs. the Cowboys on Saturday December 17th at 8:20 PM. Raffle tickets are 1 for $5 or for the best deal get 10 for $20 (only $2 each!).

3. Help JOSEPH spread the word & WIN a $20 gift certificate to use in our gift shop!

Spread the word about National Geographic’s Big Cat Week and you could win a $20 gift certificate to use in our online gift shop. All you need to do is sign up at the link HERE, then simply post your unique link that is generated on your facebook and twitter accounts.  If you get the most clicks on your link by midnight Pacific Time that day, you win! Contest runs daily from now until December 11th.


Free Holiday eCards and Games at

Visit our BigCatFun site for more than 1,000 Holiday eCards and nearly 100 Holiday Games.  New cards and games are added weekly.  So go on and have some fun at It’s a roaring good time!

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