There is no reason to feel sorry for Darryl Atkinson. He has claimed to other reporters that he bred more than 60 of the big cats at Horseshoe Creek. He always has plenty of baby tigers and baby lions on hand to support himself through offering them for photo opportunities. This has never even come close to being a legitimate sanctuary. See SanctuaryStandards.com or TAOSanctuaries.org for a list of accredited sanctuaries. The real shame here is that it took the government so long to do anything, but the public pressure to put an end to the charade has finally brought the abuse to an end.
It is sad for the animals who will be unable to find new homes, or better homes because most of the places that will take them are no better than where they are leaving. The humane answer is to end the captive breeding of these animals that are not involved in any legitimate Species Survival Plan (those are only in AZA accredited zoos.) Until the breeding, using and discarding stops, this heartbreaking situation will continue to replicate. The animals are the victims here; not the person who collected them and bred more and more of them every year.
Thank you for bringing the article to the attention of the public and hopefully others will look more closely before supporting places who claim to be rescuing animals when clearly that is not the case. Ten years ago we bred animals because people, including Darryly Atkinson, assured us we were saving endangered species for the future. Thanks to the Internet, we learned better and anyone who is breeding exotic cats knows better by now, unless they live in a vacuum.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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