Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!
It may be cold where ever you are, and is even cold where we are, but thanks to wonderful animal lovers like you our hearts are ever warmed by your thoughtfulness.
We have been busily gathering pine needles for for our cats' dens and are eagerly waiting for Christmas to pass so that we can get the truckloads of trees that are left over each year. We cut the boughs and pile them in the dens so that the cats can nestle down in them and keep warm.
We've been building larger room additions for the cats, worked on modifications to the tigers' lake fence that called for swimming in the frigid water, have been adding four feet to the tops of our open roof cages and other security measures, have remodeled the intern housing, raised barricades throughout the sanctuary up onto poles so that they are more secure and look straighter, built dozens of platform perches for the cats, repaired and revived old broken down golf carts, ran new camera lines for surveillance, improved our perimeter fencing, created and trained all of our staff and volunteers in an new intranet site and the list just goes on and on and on!
All of these great enhancements have occurred during a year when our visitor counts are higher, our donations more generous and our outreach into the community has been greater than ever before! We just have the greatest volunteers and interns to be found and are so fortunate that they have chosen Big Cat Rescue as their way to give their lives even more meaning. Thank you to all who donate your time, energy and money to helping us care for these magnificent cats while ending the trade.
Baby Bobcat Rescue
Recently an exotic cat breeder shipped a baby bobcat to a new owner without any regard, on the part of either of them, to comply with local laws that ban such possession. The bobcat's case went to court and the judge has placed the kitten in the temporary custody of a licensed rehabber who is also a veterinarian. The department of natural resources and the state attorney's office plan to send the bobcat to Big Cat Rescue as soon as they have full legal custody, which is expected to be in January. We will keep you posted as this drama unfolds, but this is why there needs to be a federal ban on the breeding and sale of exotic cats across state lines. Failure to do so only makes it harder for states to enforce their own regulations and cats like this baby bobcat end up caught in the cross fire, not to mention the fact that he will be doomed to live in a cage for the rest of his life. Our cat-a-tats are larger and nicer than just about any cage around, but they fall far short of the 5 square mile territory this little bobcat was designed to reign.
Toys for Tots and Toys for Tabbies
Each year we do a drive for Toys for Tots so that our gift shop visitors can help double the cheer by buying a gift that supports the big cats and dropping it into the collection box for the annual Toys for Tots campaign. You can do that in our online gift shop as well and just let us know in the notes that you want us to drop it in the box for the kids. This year we are adding a twist by including Toys for Tabbies. If you buy a Snow Leopard Enterprises woolen or camel mouse it supports Snow Leopards in the wild and if you tell us to donate it to Toys for Tabbies we will be sure to give them out to the many domestic cat rescue groups we know who are always in need of new cat toys. (These are really tree ornaments, but cats love them)
$200,000.00 Matching Grant
There are only two weeks left to make your year end donations to charity in order to reduce your tax burden. Given the way our government is burning through money maybe you would rather choose the recipients of your hard work rather than letting Uncle Sam choose for you. Here you can see the effects of your generosity in the sleek coats, shiny eyes and playful antics of the big cats who are aided by people like you. Thanks to a matching grant provided by the family of William & Lois Modglin, your donation's impact will be doubled if you make it online at the link below, or indicate on your check that you want the grant to double your donation.
Feeding Big Cats & Domestic Cats
Ever wondered what it would be like to feed a big cat? Big Cat Rescue is an accredited sanctuary home to 100+ lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats, servals, caracals, lynx and many other species of wild cats and wild cat hybrids. Feeding time is the best part of their day and what we feed is a critical factor in maintaining their health and keeping our vet costs low. The sanctuary started in 1992 and everything we know now about caring for big cats was learned through trial and error. Read about what the big cats eat and check out the options for the tiger (tabby) on your couch.
Some Grrrreat Videos to Share & Enjoy
See the Cutest Cat Contest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsLsnEsM2gw
Geoffroy Cat Species Spotlight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkxLT6B7Koc
Turkey Time! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AcPh83Oa00
10 year old animal AdvoCat, Breawna, visits Tony the Truck Stop tiger and tells her story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDeL_ujeZU
Vegetarian Tiger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMm43YNhg8g
Need a daily fix of cute new videos of big cats being charming? Check out our new YouTube page for all the mini clips we take via iPhone during the day to post at:
If you like our videos be sure to subscribe to them on iTunes and give us a nice rating there so that others can find us too! Carry us in your pocket on your iPhone or iPad.
Big Cat Celebrity News
In St. Petersburg, Russia Leonardo DiCaprio pledged $1 million to World Wildlife Fund to benefit wild tigers. DiCaprio is a member of the board of directors. His difficult trip to Russia involved a commercial jet plane that caught fire and turned back to New York, and then a smaller plane, rocked by Atlantic storms that ran out of fuel and had to land in Finland's capital Helsinki for refueling before eventually making it to St. Petersburg.
In a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Putin, DiCaprio, who is half-Russian, said he first became interested in tiger conservation when tiger experts from the WWF, one of Big Cat Rescue's partners in the International Tiger Coalition, had addressed him.
"Mr. DiCaprio has not just come to us, but simply burst through the frontline. Excuse me if you may, but in our country people usually say - that's what we call a real man," Putin said. "And I think that if people with such character would be responsible for defending nature or a tiger in this particular case, we're destined for success."
World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick, who has backed the tiger forum during the organizing period, told participants the World Bank is working with tiger range countries and nongovernmental organizations to save wild tigers. Our favorite Zoellick quote is, "We want to see poachers behind bars, not tigers."
Game CD Gift of All Time!
LaWanna has been working with her band of big cat elves around the clock to bring you the ultimate Big Cat Game CD just in time for holiday gift giving. This CD has sixty games and a dozen or more downloads for you to enjoy with your kids. There are learning games, fun games, a new Child ID Safety Kit, interactive story books and more fun than will fit in this newsletter. The Child ID Safety Kit has been adopted and distributed by political leaders, Head Start and Sheriff's programs around the country. It's yours FREE when you sponsor a cat at the $25.00 Buddy level at the link below. Just be sure to specify that you want the New 2010 Children's Activity CD when you place your order:
More FREE Holiday Fun!
We have some great freebies for you, including our extremely popular big cat themed Christmas holiday e-Cards, screensavers, flash games, computer wallpapers, book marks, story books and purrrsonalized Christmas letter programs. In our e-Cards section you can set up all of your holiday cards to go out at a specified date in the future. It's all fun and it's all free!
http://bigcatfun.com/christmas.html (This one will be up before Christmas)
Choose from more than 500 big cat e-cards including games that can be sent as free e-cards: http://www.bigcatfun.com/ecards/subcat2.html
Hybrid for the Holidays?
Considering a hybrid cat, such as a Bengal Cat, Savannah Cat or some other wild cat/ domestic cat hybrid for Christmas? Read this owner's account of what that is really like first: http://bigcatrescue.org/cats/wild/hybrids.htm#f4
Last Chance to Help Tony the Truck Stop Tiger
The illegal owner's permit bestowed on Tony's owner, Michael Sandlin, to keep, exhibit and exploit Tony at a smelly, dirty, noisy, toxic truck stop near Baton Rouge, LA EXPIRES TOMORROW...but it's likely to be rubber-stamped for renewal for another terrible year UNLESS YOU TAKE ACTION TODAY!
The unique permit issued by Iberville Parish to Sandlin is predicated upon his allegedly legal ownership of Tony in 2006, But Sandlin's ownership was NOT legal: the permit was issued by a local authority AFTER wildlife ownership laws were ALREADY CHANGED Federally, and in the state of Louisiana, disallowing private ownership dangerous carnivores like Tony. So Sandlin's claim cannot be legally supported now:
Tony's miserable incarceration on a cold concrete slab just a hundred feet from diesel gas pumps and the deafening traffic of big rigs and tractor trailers 24/7 is a consequence of a lack of Federal and LA state ENFORCEMENT, not lack of proper legislation.
Show Louisiana that you will not tolerate their contravention of Federal law and continued incarceration of Tony when several great wildlife sanctuaries will be happy to provide him grass under his feet, a big pool where he can swim, and a quiet, happy retirement in a place far from the diesel fumes and the abusive public that taunt and throw rocks at poor old Tony who is trapped and hopeless in his concrete cage.
Please CALL or EMAIL NOW -- tell the following officials DO NOT RENEW MICHAEL SANDLIN'S PERMIT to TORTURE TONY THE TIGER for another minute, let alone another year!
1. Governor Bobby Jindal 866-366-1121
2. Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell 225-326-6705 Executive@ag.state.la.us
2. Louisiana Department of Fisheries & Wildlife Dept. Commissioners:
Robert Barham LDWF Commission secretary 225-765-2623 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Oats (337) 233-1100 email@example.com
Patrick Morrow (337) 948-4483 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Sagrara (337) 893-7709 email@example.com
Ann L. Taylor 985-758-2795 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald "Ronny" Graham 318-232-7021 email@example.com
Michael C. Voisin 985-868-7191 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Maria Davidson Large Carnivore Program Manager Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries 225-765-2623 email@example.com
Maria's boss: Fred Kimmel 225-765-2355 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can manage, please send a copy of one of your emails to Tony's legal reps:
Lisa Franzetta Director of Communications Animal Legal Defense Fund email@example.com
AND FINALLY...for more info:
and to sign the Change.org petition