April 1 2017

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Big Cat Updates


 Friday, March 31, 2017 Afton’s Coordinator Report

Sioux: She was only wanting to eat ground turkey, ground chicken, and turkey pieces. We need to try and get her to eat 16 oz every day even if it takes offering her food 3, 4,or 5 times a day. We have to be careful because she is ferocious. We are leaving a radio on for her.  YOU CAN HELP us keep an eye on her at:


Servie: She had a diet change.  We are switching from ground food to pieces.

Reise: She would not come to lockout this morning to eat. I fed her by her den at noon and she came out just fine.

Keisha: She is in heat, again!!! We are not offering her mush at this time.

Arthur: We are cutting his meat up in cougar size pieces.  The sizes of cuts usually depend on the species.  Tigers like bigger pieces while cougars like smaller pieces.  However, lately, Arthur seems to want his meat cut into smaller pieces so we are going to do that for a while and see how it goes.

 Poor Flopsie 😉

Flopsie put up a good fight, but Nova won.



 Happy April Fool’s Day

Pink Panther prowling paths of prominent pussycat park.


 Will YOU make the “Call of the Wild?”

Big news!  Big Cat Rescue’s bill to end big cat abuse has been introduced in Congress! The Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R.1818) would end the private ownership and breeding of big cats.

Help us end big cat abuse by making the “Call of the Wild.” This is the most important thing​ you can do for the cats. ​Go to StopBigCatAbuse.com or text CATS to 52886 to take action today! (Message and data rates may apply. Text Stop to opt-out. Help for help.​) #BigCatAct​

What Our Bill Will Do

The Big Cat Public Safety Act would amend the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which is part of the Lacey Act. It bans private ownership and breeding of big cats with limited exemptions.

Ban Private Possession. The bill would make it illegal to possess any big cats, except at qualified facilities such as:

USDA licensed facilities that:

  • do not allow public contact
  • do not employ people who have been convicted or fined for animal abuse or neglect
  • have no serious repeat violations in past 12 months or repeatedly refuse to allow inspectors into their facilities

Nonprofit wildlife sanctuaries that do not:

  • trade their cats
  • do not allow public contact
  • do not publicly display their animals outside of their sanctuary

State colleges, universities, agency, or state-licensed veterinarian
Ban Breeding:  The bill would limit the breeding of big cats to licensed facilities or owners who breed under a conservation plan.

Grandfather Current Owners & Establish Tracking:  The bill would allow owners to keep their current cats, provided they register the cats with US Fish & Wildlife Service [FWS] within 180 days of the Act’s enactment. Owners would not be allowed to buy, sell, or breed big cats; or have direct contact with the public and their big cat.

 Big Cat Outreach

While so much of the day-to-day work our supporters get to see involves animal care and the important business of running a sanctuary, behind the scenes we are always working to educate the public, change policies, and support legislation to end big cat abuse. Recently, our Director of Research, Lauren Buckingham, and I took to the road to visit our state capital and do just that. Florida’s state legislature is currently in session and Tallahassee, located in the Florida panhandle, is bustling with activity. March 22nd happen to be both Humane Lobby Day and our county’s day to shine at the capitol, known as Hillsborough Day.

Wednesday started off early with a Humane Lobby day briefing. Humane Lobby Days are annual events where citizens and animal organizations from across the state come together to meet with legislators and ask for their support of animal-friendly legislation. Big Cat Rescue participates every year. These days give us the opportunity to meet like-minded citizens, share our mission, and build relationships with elected officials who can help big cats.

When the 10:30 am came around, Lauren and I grabbed boxes, stands, and a life-sized cut-out of Andre the tiger and hightailed it to the Capitol’s courtyard to set-up our table and display for Hillsborough Day. The event brought many of the Tampa Bay area’s most beloved attractions and traditions to the capitol for Florida lawmakers to enjoy. Big Cat Rescue was honored to be among the few organizations invited to showcase our work.

Hillsborough Day activities

Hillsborough Day activities concluded in the early afternoon, and that’s when Humane Lobby Day started back up. After packing up the car (it was a game of Tetris) and putting Andre in the back seat, Lauren and I spent the afternoon meeting with our legislators and their aides to discuss cub petting, shark finning, and greyhound racing (just to name a few).

Hillsborough Day activities

Finally, as the sun was setting – with coffee in hand and Nirvana in our hearts, we started our drive back home. It was a successful day for animals and a good day for Big Cat Rescue.

– Jennifer Leon, Director of Outreach

 Foster Kitten Program

GREAT NEWS!!!  Domestic cat, Momma Sweetie, was adopted last week!! ~Keeper Karma

  Facebook Live Video Replays

New Digs for Lakota & Sioux

Getting a new triplex, made of smaller wire, for Lakota and Sioux. HUGE shout out to all the volunteers who are coming in this weekend to rehab this cage so the two bobcats can be reunited Monday! Nabisco was being purr-sonable this morning too.


 April 1st – Pink Panther on the Prowl

Pink Panther pictured prowling paths at prominent pussycat park! To see your name and pin drop after completing the Call of the Wild at BigCatAct.com go to TigerRescue.org


Baby Cakes, the elderly Genet

This is not a cat. It is Baby Cakes, the elderly Genet.  He came here about 20 years ago, when he was already an adult.


Adding a transport den box to Lakota’s platform.

Adding a transport den box to Lakota’s platform. Lakota is locked in a different section. This den box is also a transport cage. We are hoping Lakota will go in it so when it is time to move him to rejoin Sioux, it will be easier on the keepers and less stressful for Lakota.

 Keeper Spotlight

Hi! I’m Brittany and I’m a Yellow shirt keeper at Big Cat Rescue.


My husband and I moved to St Pete, FL in March 2015 from Columbus Ohio. When I was researching areas of Florida that we were interested in moving to one requirement was that we find a place that we could volunteer our time with animals like we did in Ohio.

One internet search brought up a YouTube video of Joseph Lion roaring… I was instantly in love. I spent the entire day (and weeks following) watching all the videos and learning all about how to get involved at Big Cat.

I told my husband that this was it, we were meant to be a part of this place. The more I learned about Joseph the more I felt we were soulmates. Joseph was from Ohio (where he didn’t belong), so was I. He is a Leo/August birthday, so am I! He LOVES ice cream… OMG- me too!!! His dislike for most people… yeah we kinda share that, too! He is the reason I found my happy place. I am so grateful and thankful to him for that… even though I have several cats that have stolen my heart… he will always be my first love. This is why Joseph is considered my favorite cat even though I’m only yellow level and hardly ever see him…I watch him on his nest cam all the time though!

We moved to Florida in March 2015, had our first visit to BCR in April, volunteer orientation in May and officially started volunteering in June of 2015. I moved from the “Partner” side to the “Keeper” side in September 2015 and immediately fell in love with the bobcats. Their fierce personalities and adorable tails won me over as my new favorite species.

Tiger Lilly bobcat stuck out to me because she was such a beautiful silver and white color and was very shy and elusive. She had lost her long time cage mate Levi right before we started volunteering and I always wanted to make sure she wasn’t lonely and was doing okay. She is known by most as a ghost kitty- She always sees you before you see her. I visit her everyday I’m on property, give her enrichment every time I’m allowed to hand it out and spend a lot of time just talking about life with her. If I stay long enough she will come over and sit patiently with me. The newest break through is when she comes and sits in lock out when I feed her. She is so special to me and is one of my favorites to photograph.

Other ‘littles’ that I love more than anything: Pharaoh (only cat to have claimed me as his so far!) , Andi bobcat, Breezy, King Tut, Smalls (she tries to claim me all the time!) and Gilligan. (BTW, Claiming means peeing on)

When I am not at BCR I work as a full time photographer and Marketing Coordinator for a Florida Vacation Rental company. I run their social media and marketing as well as take all the photos for the property listings. Before we relocated to Florida I had my own freelance photography business shooting weddings, musicians, families, events and everything in between since 2005 when I graduated college with a graphic design degree. At least once a month I try to make time to walk around the property and take photos of the cats. You have probably seen many of my photos over the last year and didn’t even know it (because I always share them with LaWanna to use!)

I was promoted to Yellow shirt Keeper in July 2016 and of course instantly fell in love with the cougars. Aspen Echo (I call her peanut) stole my heart right away. I absolutely love giving her sicles and brown paper bags with spices. She gets very chatty and purrs so loudly when she gets enrichment. Watching her shred a bag and lay among the pieces, happy as can be, is the best feeling in the world.  Watching Reise play with her ball like a kitten is probably the sweetest thing on earth!

Mickey Cougar is my inspiration. To see a cat first hand that suffered so horribly at the hands of man yet still trusts in people to care for him is something that words cant describe. He is incredible.

I was completely honored to have been voted Keeper Trainee of the year for 2015 and Keeper of the year for 2016 as well as given the opportunity to photograph our most recent Tiger rescue this past November. It’s an amazing feeling to have others notice my passion and dedication to these animals and to the message of Big Cat Rescue.

I will be the first to admit that like many others I was clueless about the real issues facing Big Cats in captivity and literally left my first tour at BCR in tears after I learned about Canned Hunting. How could I love animals this much and not have known what the real problems are?!?!!! Now, I have made it a personal goal to educate myself and others about the plight of these animals.

I can apply to be a Green shirt this July and am beyond excited to move to the next level. Green level cats that have stolen my heart already are of course Joseph, TJ, Hoover, Seth, Andy, Priya, Sabre and Cheetaro. I can only imagine how many more I will add to that list once I start training as a Keeper in those sections. I’ll have to check back in with you all when that happens!

Thank you all for caring about the Big Cats and the Keepers that take care of them!

Peace & Love,
Brittany M


Working on TJ’s Kingdom ~Keeper Candy C

We usually have “Project Day” on Thursdays when Big Cat Rescue is closed. This past Thursday,  spruced up TJ’s enclosure. It was an opportunity for us to “experience TJ’s space”.  BTW, we all LOVE TJ!!

Melissa Evens was raking the top of TJ’s den with Meg Linsenbigler checking out the inside and Bonnie Farago peaking through with the rake on the other side.

Sprucing Up TJ Tiger's Enclosure

Aleesa Salcido, Sarah Copel, and Meg Linsenbigler used their athletic prowess to climb to the top of TJ’s platform.  You do not realize how big those platforms are until you get a chance to laugh at keepers and interns climbing them.

Sprucing Up TJ Tiger's Enclosure

TJ sat, locked in a different area, to watch us working away.  I guess we were part of TJ’s enrichment, yesterday. That’s Bonnie Farago with TJ.

Sprucing Up TJ Tiger's Enclosure

We knew that as soon as we were finished and let him back in, he would go around checking out everything we did and, of course, marking it.

Note & Question for Viewers:  Keeper Candy was worried her photos might not be “good enough,” but I assured her that they are great and that you all would enjoy them.  So, what do YOU think?  Should Candy keep sending in stuff like this for this page?  Tell her what YOU think!!!


Sioux & Lakota Project

The set of cages we had originally wanted to move Sioux & Lakota to in is not going to work because Sioux is so small she might be able to escape through the 4×4 squares.  Therefore, we cannot use that enclosure.  The team put their heads together and came up with a new plan.  After some discussion an new site for them was chosen. It is a three cage complex next to Angie Bobcat.

However, before we can move them into it it needs some renovations.  Gale sent out an email to volunteers, and as you can see the response was great. Numerous volunteers showed up and it looked like a beehive with everyone pitching and and working on the deep cleaning and renovations for these precious cats. The plan is to have it ready for them by Monday.

SOME of the renovations are:

  • deep cleaning top to bottom, inside and outside
  • check every inch of wiring
  • reinforce the wire around the trees (Sioux & Lakota are quite the climbers)
  • check all the tree limbs
  • replace all the door ropes
  • build an additional lockout

Their neighbors will be Angie bobcat on one side with Ana and Will on the other side.  Needless to say, Ana, Will, and Angie are being quite entertained “supervising” the team working on the renovations.

Sioux and Lakota Bobcat's enclosure getting renovations Sioux and Lakota Bobcat's enclosure getting renovations Sioux and Lakota Bobcat's enclosure getting renovations Sioux and Lakota Bobcat's enclosure getting renovations Sioux and Lakota Bobcat's enclosure getting renovations Sioux and Lakota Bobcat's enclosure getting renovations

 Viewer Pix

Love this girl so much.  ~Viewer Robin

This blue ball was a recent gift for Nikita from Robin and three others.

 WANTED – Graphic Artists

Carole is looking for a graphic artist who really gets what we are all about and would would like to help us with some graphics for shirts.  If that is you or if you know someone like that, please have them email Carole at cat@bigcatrescue.org

 Quick Links

As per viewer suggestions, Quick Links now has it’s very own page http://bigcatrescue.org/quick-links/

Bookmarking it will help you find things quickly.  That will come in handy for:

  • Helping us answer questions on social media
  • Finding answers to some of Carole’s Facebook Live questions


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