Bashing Sanctuaries

Tiger at Big Cat Rescue
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Big Cat Rescue is frequently accused of “bashing other sanctuaries” and nothing could be further from the truth.

Big Cat Rescue wants to end the private possession of exotic cats because no wild cat, who is hardwired to roam free, should ever be bred for life in a cage.  The best way to accomplish our mission is to help legitimate sanctuaries become successful enough that they can rise above living hand to mouth and actually begin to end the abuses at their root.  The only people who are claiming that Big Cat Rescue bashes other sanctuaries are people who are NOT running legitimate sanctuaries.

To define legitimate I will use the US Fish & Wildlife Services’ definition of a sanctuary which is one that does NOT:

Buy
Sell
Breed
Allow public contact with the cats
Take animals offsite for exhibition

Naturally, we are prone to devote more of our time and energy to helping sanctuaries that are verified or accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, or those who are really trying to achieve those standards of care before applying for accreditation.

Here is just some of the evidence that Big Cat Rescue helps good sanctuaries

This is just what we could think of, off the top of our head at the end of each year in our annual reports, which are all online at BigCatRescue.org It does not include the fact that just about every day we are on the phone, email or social sites helping other sanctuaries become stronger and more influential in ending the trade in wild cats.  The following also does not include all of the times we have partnered with other legitimate sanctuaries to do large scale rescues because those are all covered in our annual reports and were more about helping the animals, than providing help to sanctuaries.

2016

Animal Defenders International

Big Cat Rescue partnered with Animal Defenders International to provide a lifetime home to Hoover the tiger after they successfully shut down circus acts that use wild animals in several countries. This alleviated ADI from the $10,000 per year commitment to provide lifetime care.

 

Spirit of the Hills

When the South Dakota based sanctuary lost their USDA license and agreed to surrender hundreds of big cats, bears, wolves, farmed animals and domestic pets, Big Cat Rescue worked with Bobbi Brink, of Lions, Tigers & Bears in Alpine, CA.  We offered a permanent home to 8 cats and six have arrived: 2 cougars and 4 bobcats.  https://bigcatrescue.org/spirit-of-the-hills/

Turpentine Creek and Tigers in America

Big Cat Rescue is participating in a significant cross-country rescue spearheaded by Tigers in America and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge with the participation and support of the larger community of Tigers in America Sanctuaries.  We expect to give new lifetime homes to 4 new tigers.  https://bigcatrescue.org/oct-18-2016/

Sharing Knowledge and Resources

Created ZooCollege.com to go along with the “sanctuary in a box” concept we’ve been sharing with good sanctuaries.  We charge the public to take the course, but offer a free coupon to all accredited and verified sanctuaries that is good for all of their staff and volunteers without limitation.  We have offered the course and sanctuary in a box to those who really are trying to do the right thing, but haven’t achieved verification yet by GFAS.

Big Cat Rescue will be presenting at conferences in California and Colorado to legitimate sanctuaries on topics such as how to train and retain skilled volunteers and going beyond the day to day care of rescued animals to actually ending the trade.  We will be hosting an event at CITES CoP 17 in S. Africa to save wild tigers.  Part of the work there will be in demonstrating that the thousands of tigers, who are currently being farmed for their bones, can be transferred to sanctuaries that can provide lifetime care.

2015

One of our Senior Keepers went to help a troubled sanctuary in the U.S. again as they had no staff and helped implement training programs, such as those taught at ZooCollege.com to insure their ability to train future staff.  She also helped run a sanctuary for big cats in Ethiopia for Born Free, while they were seeking a qualified CEO.

Went to Mexico to speak to the government and the press about how to build a sanctuary for the lions and tigers that were going to be confiscated from illegal circus and cub petting schemes.  Through photos and videos I (Carole Baskin) gave the best advice I could about how Mexico could build its own sanctuary in such a way that the lives would be humane for the lions and tigers AND could be run on local and international volunteer help AND be self sustaining financially, if done right. Transparency and putting the needs of the animals first were the most critical aspects and not concepts that are usually considered synonymous with politicians.  https://bigcatrescue.org/mexico-sanctuary-conference/

Created 23 Intranet sites, which are sort of a sanctuary-in-a-box site, for other sanctuaries to use.  These came complete with every training video, training manual, chart and idea that we use to run Big Cat Rescue.  We do this for free for sanctuaries that do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact w/ wild animals.

Every year we donate countless tickets to other animal rescue groups to use in their fundraisers.  We often will host volunteer appreciation parties for them at no cost as well.  We are so pleased to provide assistance to organizations that are saving big cats (and little cats) across the globe!

You will see some repetition on some items below because we offered that help over multiple years.  The Wounded Warriors tours have continued till this day as well.

2014

Saving Lions.  March 15th’s March for Lions may have just seemed like one heck of a party, but thanks to everyone who came and fundraised for the event, we were able to net $10,000 and we wanted to spend it on ways to help lions outside our gates.   The movers and shakers behind the Global March for Lions were Chris and Bev Mercer of CannedLion.org.  Any time we need the truth on what is happening in Africa regarding lions, we always turn to Chris and Bev.  They have been the leading force against lion hunting and pay to play schemes that pimp out lion cubs, only to sell them into canned hunts as easy targets.  They would never ask for help, but this event made it possible for us to contribute $7,000. to their continued efforts to ban lion hunting.  Chris said this is the equivalent of a small fortune in his world and that he will put it to good use in protecting lions.

We were impressed with Nat Geo’s Cause an Uproar campaign and donated $1,000. to their BuildABoma.org project.  This will build two bomas to help protect lions from being killed for harming livestock.

We have long been impressed by Animal Defenders International because they are a small organization that has been winning huge victories for animals.  What really brought them up on our radar was the amazing work they have done in the past few years to ban circus acts that use wild animals in 40 + countries.  If you saw Blackfish and thought, “big cats need a movie like that,” then you have to see Lion Ark.  We saw it and were so enamored that we sent $1,100. to help with their efforts to free all big cats from circuses.

Before the March for Lions even began we sent the early money we raised, in the amount of $900. to Walking for Lions to be a major sponsor for the cycling event from Kenya to Botswana to raise awareness of the plight of lions.  So, thanks to your generosity we are raising awareness, supporting boots on the ground, giving locals a way to live with lions, rescuing lions from circuses and letting everyone know that when you pay to play with a cub, the cub is always the one who pays with his loss of life and liberty.

Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise, guidance and funding in the expansion of facilities to house jaguars who are rescued from being killed and sent to the Belize Zoo.  The zoo does not breed their cats, but cannot release the jaguars either because there are too many in the area and they get in trouble with people.

We were a sponsor for Animal Coalition of Tampa’s Stride for Strays, as we are every year and donated countless tickets to other animal rescue groups to use in their fundraisers.

2013

We sent our videographer to sanctuaries that could not afford their own video production AND aired their promo videos on our popular channel.

and

 

 

Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise and guidance in the development of a rescue center in Spain that will be broadening their focus from primates to now include big cats.  AAP Primadomus is located on more than 400 acres in Villena and currently houses a variety of primates that have been rescued from private ownership, circuses, and laboratories. They are now expanding their focus to also rescue countless lions and tigers that are in need across their country.

In an effort to prepare for this project nearly a dozen experts were invited to a symposium that focused on sharing information regarding the proper care of big cats in captivity, emergency protocol development, and enclosure design. Big Cat Rescue President Jamie Veronica and volunteer veterinarian Justin Boorstein travelled to Spain and joined experts from Italy, South Africa, France, Austria, the Netherlands and all across the United Kingdom.

Over the course of three days the team worked tirelessly to provide as much information as possible to the members of not only AAP Primadomus, but its origin center Stitching AAP. Stitching AAP is a rescue center for apes, monkeys and small exotic animals in the Netherlands that was founded more than 35 years ago.

The symposium was a huge success. Big Cat Rescue will continue to work with AAP remotely throughout the development process. We are so pleased to provide assistance to organizations that are saving big cats across the globe!

See a digital rendition they did from the plans submitted:

 

 

Loaned one of our Green Level Keepers (Kathryn Quaas) to Wildcat Sanctuary for 5 weeks of brutal winter weather to help while they were hiring & training new staff.

Big Cat Rescue provided our CatLaws.com service to Animal Coalition of Tampa in their efforts to send a powerful message to the Hillsborough County Commissioners on the subject of TNR.  Trap, Neuter and Return.  We similarly supported Be The Way Home effort in Hillsborough County that protects feral cats from being rounded up and killed.  The Board of County Commissioners responded with ordinances to protect feral cats and their caregivers.  http://youtu.be/o1ve94nYbP4

Presented at Tigers 4 Tigers which is a coalition of all colleges that have tiger mascots who are working to save the tiger.  It was also the last place for the good friend and world famous and much beloved tiger expert Ron Tilson to make a presentation before his untimely death this year.  http://youtu.be/o1ve94nYbP4

Hosted 2nd annual SkipAHolics reunion tour to thank the many people who help us keep an eye on our cats via the webcams.  http://youtu.be/IuKXK4r7PEo

We were a sponsor for Animal Coalition of Tampa’s Stride for Strays, as we are every year.

2012

After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), and hosting their first in person 2 day Workshop in 2011, Patty Finch asked if the board of GFAS could use our facilities for their meeting. We were delighted to meet the members of the board that we had not met before and were proud to show off Big Cat Rescue to all of them.  Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue and I shared how we use google Apps and how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers.

Big Cat Rescue provided our CatLaws.com service to Animal Coalition of Tampa in their efforts to send a powerful message to the Hillsborough County Commissioners on the subject of TNR.  Trap, Neuter and Return.

As with every year we supplied Free Passes, Certificates for Feeding Tours and Keeper Tours, and Two For One Passes to many other animal causes to use in their fundraising efforts.  We donate primarily to those organizations that are providing services to cats of all sizes.  We do donate to some human related fundraisers as well, but animal causes make up 3% of all charities and yet compete for less than 1% of all donated dollars.

2011

Helped two other sanctuaries, who didn’t have the staff or equipment, to transfer a cougar from Texas to Nevada.

After delivering a couple of free webinars for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), Patty asked if we would host their first in person 2 day Workshop. Howard Baskin presented on our fundraising streams and the history of Big Cat Rescue, Jeff Kremer presented on donor recognition while giving the group of 20+ attendees a tour, Chris Poole spoke on social marketing and networking, Patty Ragan shared the value of hiring a coach, Kari Bagnall illustrated how to get the most out of a tabling event, Patty Finch taught grant writing, teaching your board how to be helpful and how to avoid “founder’s syndrome” and I shared how we use google Apps, how we manage over 100 top notch volunteers, why it is important to have a plan and stick to it.

Big Cat Rescue later hosted HSUS Sanctuary CEO’s for their annual retreat and gave them an inside look at how we operate.  In both the GFAS and HSUS workshops we shared our Intranet site along with all of our training documents and all of the assets to create a “sanctuary in a box.”  All of these tools are included on our website behind a $1.00 pay wall so that anyone who wishes to improve their facility has access to everything we do.

Big Cat Rescue also helped the Humane Society Legislative Fund in their work to end puppy mills because the same laws would protect cats and kittens from use in kitten mills as well.

Big Cat Rescue provided our CatLaws.com service to Animal Coalition of Tampa in their efforts to send a powerful message to the Hillsborough County Commissioners on two subjects.  1. Was to fund the voucher program for spaying and neutering dogs and cats for low income owners.  2. Was to ban the cruel practice of chaining dogs.

2010

America’s injured veterans program has continued through 2016 so far, as of the date of this writing.

2009

America’s injured veterans have found Big Cat Rescue a place of tranquility where they can surround themselves with beauty and grace;  a respite from all that they have endured protecting our country.  It started with one group and now they come to visit quite frequently.  It’s on the house and we provide lunch when we can as well by asking donors to contribute.  They have done their part in keeping Americans free and we are doing our part to fight for that same freedom for the big cats.

On June 12, 2009 Howard Baskin was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Upper Tampabay Chamber of Commerce for all of his volunteer efforts as a Chamber board member, committee member and for his board and committee duties provided to Rotary and his community involvement with children, the elderly, the disabled and Big Cat Rescue.

2008

Big Cat Rescue offered a $5,000 reward for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting a young, female tiger to death. Her body was found next to an apartment complex and I-35E in Dallas, TX on Christmas Day. This was our first offer of a reward to solve a crime and it generated leads but no convictions.

We donated thousands of dollars worth of our tours to other worthy animal non profits including Animal Coalition of Tampa, Boxer Rescue, the Humane Society, the Lakeland SPCA, the Largo SPCA, National Humane, and many, many others.

America’s injured veterans have found Big Cat Rescue a place of tranquility where they can surround themselves with beauty and grace;  a respite from all that they have endured protecting our country.  It started with one group and now they come to visit quite frequently.  It’s on the house and we provide lunch when we can as well by asking donors to contribute.  They have done their part in keeping Americans free and we are doing our part to fight for that same freedom for the big cats.

Offered to provide mounted cougar and a native bobcat who was road kill to the Florida Conservation Commission to use in their exhibit at the fairgrounds, if they would stop using live cats.

2007

The U.S. State Department enlisted our help in saving the critically endangered Amur Leopard because of our ability to reach so many people who care about wild cats and their habitat.

2006

Katrina HelpWe provided off site housing for Humane Alliance members who have come here to help ACT set up a low cost spay and neuter center and offered to transport animals to and from the clinic once a week for the rescue groups.  We hosted team building events for the Emergency Animal Response Service group and gave them 150 free passes to give to all of the volunteers who help in times of disaster nationwide.  We donated to all of our favorite animal causes (too many to list) giving them Expeditions and Free Passes to auction off to help them raise money to provide services for domestic pets.  The Humane USA PAC (the nation’s largest political action committee for animals) hosted its Kids, Cats & Candidates day at the sanctuary.  We donated an Expedition to raise money for our long time supporters Mario & Lenore Infanti who are facing health issues.

When our beloved tiger, Nini, died Brian Czarnik wanted her to live on and so we sponsored a tiger in the wild in Way Kambas Park.  The money donated will help protect the tigers in this critical reserve.  We worked with the Smithsonian Institution in a project to examine the population biology of small carnivores in Gabon, West Africa and Borneo.  We hosted a party and raised more than $1000.00 to aid the campaign that would require the government to provide emergency plans for people who won’t leave their pets. This bill became law in 2006 and will protect America’s pets in times of disaster.  We also sent proceeds from our Fur Ball to Lewa Conservancy in S. Africa and invested in creating eco-tourism in Guyana, South America to protect the wild cats in that area.  At the request of the World Wildlife Fund in Poland we have provided photographs for them to use in creating a handbook for border guards to prevent the illegal trade in exotic cats and their pelts.

2005

We invited other animal welfare groups to use our Legislative tools in customized banners on their web sites so that they could encourage their visitors to write their representatives about important animal welfare issues. We hosted the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk for 600 walkers who raised 50,000 for Alzheimer’s victims. Worked with PAKT to help them negotiate a deal with the circus and AZA for promoting responsible, life time care for animals who have had to work for a living. Continued to help ACT by driving the Spay Day trailer each month so that 100-160 cats per month can be spayed.

Charities that we donated to this year in the form of Free Passes to our sanctuary:  100 passes to No More Homeless Pets Adopt-a-thon 30 passes and gift certificate for a Big Cat Expedition to Florida Voices for Animals, Donated a Big Cat Expedition, a Feeding Tour and more to Animal Coalition of Tampa for their Some Enchanted Evening fundraiser and the same again to their Stride For Strays walk-a-thon. Donated the use of our facility to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for their Volunteer Appreciation party and to National Humane Society for their volunteer and donor recognition party at Christmas. Donated an Expedition and Two for One Passes to SPOT and worked with them to create a segment on Pinellas County’s Public Access Channel. Hosted a party for a team of Florida Panther protectors.

We raised 1250.00 each for EARS and HSUS to aid the animal victims of Katrina and 1000.00 each for conservation programs to save the margay in Brazil, to help start an eco tourism lodge in Guyana and to assist Lewa in Africa.

2004

lion vs tiger ligersWe covered ad costs for The Association of Sanctuaries annual conference in March to insure that the people who need the training will know it is available.  We also paid expenses for three of the speakers on Cage Building, Operant Conditioning and the No More Homeless Pets approach to companion animal abandonment.  We shared the secret to our high search engine placement with TAOS and CWAPC and members of both organizations. We joined the Sanctuary Workers And Volunteers Association SWAVA and provided material for them to launch their campaign. We send out news alerts to everyone in our new Yahoo group and in the TAOS Yahoo group and include a Tip of the Day feature in which we share ideas that have worked for us. We gave permission to Florida’s state government site, at their request, to use our photos to illustrate why we should protect the Florida Panther.

Charities that we donated to this year:  100 passes to No More Homeless Pets Adopt-a-thon and gift certificate for a Big Cat Expedition, 50 passes and gift certificate for a Big Cat Expedition to Florida Voices for Animals, 50 passes to Clearwater High school’s Project Graduation, 100 passes to Dress For Success, 300 passes to The National Humane Societies spay/neuter and adoption programs.  Big Cat Expedition to Clearwater Chamber of Commerce’s annual fundraiser. Donated a Big Cat Expedition and several Two for One Passes to Animal Coalition of Tampa for their Spay Day fundraiser. Big Cat Expedition for two and 200 passes to the Tampa Museum of Art. 1000 passes and a 1500. Expedition Package was donated to the Global Understanding’s Carousel Ball. There were many, many more that we donated to this year that we did not keep stats on.

We offered to let No More Homeless Pets – HC and Florida Voices for Animals utilize our legislative program in a manner that is branded for their constituents.

Helping Wild Cats in the Wild

And that doesn’t even count all of the work we fund or help in the wild to save exotic cats.  The breeders and dealers often say they contribute to conservation via the Rare Species Fund, but we can’t find any proof that it is even a non profit.  We do know that it’s run by one of the most prolific cub breeders for the pay to play schemes and that he funds a lobbyist to oppose any bills that would end his cub handling operations.  Here is the real work, saving real cats in the wild, that Big Cat Rescue funds:  https://bigcatrescue.org/insitu/

So when someone says Big Cat Rescue bashes other sanctuaries, ask them how they, or their favorite sanctuary, actually helped others and see how it compares.

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