Cheetahs aren’t pets

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Big cats in captivity raise concerns

Reported by: Tim Malloy
Last Update: 8:41 am

One week after a local woman was attacked by two cheetahs at The
Panther Ridge Sanctuary, an animal activist says the cheetahs should
not have been in the five acre Wellington enclosure in the first

"Those cheetahs can run 70 mph" says Carole Baskin of "Big Cat
Rescue", an organization dedicated preserving the great cats of

"What kind of cage can you put them in so they can be who they are"??

Judy Berens who operates the Not for Profit Sanctuary houses 23 cats
and firmly believes she is saving them from possible extinction.

Her scratches and small punctures wounds were overplayed in the press she says.

"It was all a fluke", she says. When the cheetahs saw a ball cross
their vision, "I was like the toy".

Baskin faults the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which is supposed to
allow rare cats into the U.S. only if their captivity here, will help
sustain the species in its native habitat.

"No one would approve this if they knew they were going into a
backyard private collection. They don't approve that for cheetahs,"
says Baskin.

"The cheetah has the highest level of protection any cat has. In order
to import Fish and Wildlife must believe it enhances the species in
the wild."

"How this was issued to private collector, is just obscene"

Berens' well kept property is visited by children.

She believes the big cats, the cheetahs in particular have a better
change in the loving confines of an animal preserve than in the
African plain where they are hunted and endangered.

Baskin doesn't agree.

"To bring them here and show them off as pets you invite 20 people
over to backyard to say look I have a cheetah. That doesn't help them
in the wild. It makes other people say, 'I want one as a pet."

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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