Carole Baskin

Carole Baskin Founder of Big Cat Rescue

CEO AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. She runs a real estate business and manages 100+ volunteers and interns from around the world and 20 staff and contractors. She has run this Tampa based non profit since 1992 and has garnered international attention to the plight of captive big cats on CNN, Animal Planet, Discovery, U.S. News & World Report, People Magazine, The Today Show, Sports Illustrated, all of the local media outlets and many more national and international programs. She is the host of the Cat Chat Show, a weekly, live interview with cat experts from around the world. 

Carole is so outspoken that her enemies, the people who breed big cats and exploit the cubs in pay to play schemes have repeatedly threatened her life and one of them is in jail after being convicted on two counts of murder for hire.  You don’t become that hated by the industry unless you are having an impact.

She has lectured in Costa Rica, Panama and many cities across the U.S. on legislative affairs, and sanctuary standards in Universities, Law Colleges (including Stetson, Texas Lutheran University and University of Miami), and in numerous animal association conferences. Her efforts, combined with many others of like mind, have resulted in the 2003 passage of the Captive Wild Animal Safety Act which made it illegal to sell a big cat across state lines as a pet, the 2009 requirement that those in Florida who possess Class I animals must post a $10,000 bond and the reclassification of a cougar to Class I, making it illegal to own as a pet in FL. 

Carole Baskin

As part of the Big Cat Coalition she has worked with The International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, Born Free, the World Wildlife Fund, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Wild Cat Conservation Legal Aid Society, World Council for Animal Rights, the Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, Ian Somerhalder Foundation, and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Together they represent more than 18 million supporters. 

The coalition formed in 2011 and decided on a three prong approach to ending the abuse of tigers including; Closing the generic tiger loophole at the USFWS, Asking USDA to close the 4 week window of cub petting and a federal bill that ends the breeding and trade in big cats outside of AZA zoos. By 2013 the USFWS and the USDA had put the group’s suggestions on the Federal Register for public comment and had received nearly 30,000 comments in support. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, a federal bill to stop public handling of big cats and their cubs and ending the private possession of big cats is gaining momentum and is poised for passage. 

Carole Baskin’s mission is to end the trade in exotic cats and thus put herself out of business.

Because of my extensive experience with big cat issues I was selected as a one of the judges for the prestigious International Big Cat Film Festival where winners were selected from over 200 entries and the awards were made at the United Nations Building by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.

My superpower is: I can see the future

When confronted with an issue, I don’t just see the problem; I see it in sort of a split screen in my head. On the left is what I have. On the right is what I want. That clarity makes it possible for me to make quick decisions about what needs to be done right now and I can see the steps needed to get to what I want. They fan out across that split screen image so that I can move on through the steps, and delegate tasks along the way, to engage others in the path to that ultimate outcome. An example of this was how the sanctuary started.

When I saw that a taxidermist was going to purchase a 6 month old bobcat, who was an unwanted pet, to turn her into a den decoration, I knew I could fix that problem. He said he was going to club her in the head in the parking lot. I was able to see that outcome AND one where she had a long, healthy life. Windsong spent the next 18 years as the beloved founder of Big Cat Rescue. The next year when confronted with 56 bobcats and lynx at a fur farm, I could see their imminent doom as skins for the fur trade AND I could see them enjoying long, healthy lives with people who would see them for the amazing individuals they all were.  – Carole Baskin

The future for zoos is augmented and virtual reality, rather than holding wild cats hostage and Carole created and launched the world’s first AR Zoos in 2019.

A typical week in Carole’s life usually includes a bobcat call:  https://bigcatrescue.org/bobcat-rescue-sparta-georgia/

Carole is Jamie’s mother.  She is married to Howard.  She’s Katie’s aunt.

Meet the Big Cat Rescue Team. See a typical day at the sanctuary.

Carole Baskin Speaks Out for the Florida Panther

September 2, 2015 address to the FWC in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Oct 2017 at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

Some Articles About Carole Baskin

Carole Baskin2019 Common Good from Newman’s Own Foundation did an article about Carole Baskin.

2015  From Exotic Pet Breeder to Big Cat Rescuer: My Journey Towards Understanding One Green Planet

2015  Big Cat Rescue: remembering every large & exotic cat  Animals 24/7

2007 She’s a Tiger  Tampabay CEO Magazine

2006 My Wife is Not a Don’t Glamour Magazine

Some High Profile Article’s Quoting Carole Baskin

Mario Tabraue expose by Mother Jones

Nat Geo Wild Asks, “Are Sanctuaries Good for Wild Animals?”

National Geographic article on exotic animals as pets called Wild Obsession

Television Appearances by Carole Baskin

Animal Planet’s Fatal Attraction 3 episodes involving tigers from 2011

CNN with Jane Velez Mitchell 2011

Jack Hanna Show 1998

Dateline 1997

More news appearances, videos, articles and quotes here:  https://bigcatrescue.org/media/

Books

Books written by Carole Baskin or written by others and featuring Carole Baskin and Big Cat Rescue

Carole Baskin’s History

Carole Baskin is the founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue, the world’s most influential, accredited rescue facility for exotic cats. She and her family volunteer for Big Cat Rescue as unpaid staff and have 100+ volunteers and a dozen interns from around the world. She has run this Tampa based non profit since 1992 and you may have seen Big Cat Rescue on CNN, Animal Planet, Discovery, People Magazine, The Today Show, Sports Illustrated, all of the local media outlets and many more national and international programs. She has been asked to provide lectures in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Brazil, and Australia, as well as countless cities across the U.S. She has lectured on cage construction, legislative affairs, and sanctuary standards in Universities, Law Colleges, and in numerous animal association conferences.

She has successfully rehabbed and released a number of bobcats and other native animals. Big Cat Rescue is accredited by The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and Carole Baskin served as a past President of, The Association of Sanctuaries (a national accrediting body that later folded into GFAS and is to sanctuaries what the American Zoological Association is to zoos.

She previously served on the board of the Humane USA PAC and had been the legislative liaison to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, and was responsible for representing The Association of Sanctuaries at their meetings. She supplies CWAPC with all of the current data on exotic cat issues, including the numbers being displaced, the maulings, escapes and killings of both the public and the cats involved. She scans the media daily for news regarding exotic cats and reports to some 300 people of three different groups with the daily headlines.

In 2005 she was appointed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Brian Blair as a member of the Animal Advisory Committee to assist Animal Services in their service to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and was unanimously elected as Chairperson the following year. Big Cat Rescue is a member of the International Tiger Coalition, Florida Association of the Restoration of Ethics, a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, The Tampabay Visitors and Convention Bureau, and many other animal welfare groups.

Big Cat Rescue assists other accredited sanctuaries by helping them build cages, train their volunteers and they lend their people and resources to help them recover from natural and man made disasters. Big Cat Rescue is licensed by and in good standing with FWC, USFWS, USDA and is registered with the state of Florida as a charity.

Big Cat Rescue’s founder, Carole Baskin, with members of the  Humane USA’s staff and board of directors.

Transparency Notification:

In their role as a current board member this person is not independent and is a voting member in 2016.

The CEO’s pay is determined based upon others in the industry and her performance, which is reviewed by the board annually.

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  • Show Comments (6)

  • Veronica Dickey

    How do I ask a question to Carole Baskin on her opinion of the American Sanctuary Association accreditation versus the GFAS accreditation that Big Cat Rescue has? I know and respect the GFAS, but I have just learned about the ASA. From my reading on it, it sounds good, but what does Carole think? I ask so I know which sanctuaries to support and which to avoid. The Wild Cat Sanctuary is ASA certified, so do they have tough enough standards?

    I am friends with Cathy Cowan from Columbus, Ohio and I testified as a private citixen on the last day of testimony for SB 310 the Wild Animal Protection Act for Ohio.

    I live in Massillon where the Stump Hill Farm is located and you probable know this is the place that provides the Obie tigers for the Massillon football team. Shamefully 42 cubs in the past 20 years. No I have not remained passive on this issue and I have repeatedly and diplomatically stated my opinion to both Representative Kirk Schuring and Senator Scott Oelslager (fallen on deaf ears).

    What is your opinion on Noah's Lost Ark located in Canfield, Ohio? Please answer openly and honestly. I have visited them, seemed okay, but then I heard they are not a good sanctuary and since I am no expert, I need an honest opinion from someone who is.

  • Bobbie Blanchard

    Carole Baskin and all her helpers are ALL amazing, wonderful, compassionate loving people. They deserve total respect and admiration for their commitment to All living creatures. Words cannot express All the life saving achievements they have been involved with over the years/

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