Why We Can’t Rescue Some Foreign Cats
This is being written for our supporters who think all they have to do is say, “Go rescue X!” and that we will be able to swoop in and bring a cat to safety. I hate the abuse as much as you do. I wish it was as easy, as so many people seem to think, to just walk in and free the cats, but it’s never easy.
Several times a day someone will contact me asking me to save a big cat they’ve heard about online. Even our volunteers will frequently do so which leads me to believe they don’t know what is involved and why we often cannot do it. Thankfully, in our case, money isn’t the main issue. We’ve been blessed with strong support and it is what enables us to do the more important work, of ending the abuses that cause cats to need rescue, even if we cannot rescue all of the individuals.
Cases from the past:
In 2019, we rescued 3 tigers from Guatemala and there were several more in need of rescue. We helped ADI build the temporary holding camp for the lions and tigers the government has seized from the now illegal circuses. We were in the long legal process of importing them, which started in May 2018 and didn’t end until November 2019! We couldn’t bring more of the cats to the camp because there was no space and no one on this end who would pay for their expensive care during the many months they were waiting for their permits to be issued. We were hesitant to send more money to Guatemala until we are sure we can get the first three cats into the U.S.
10/9/2018 Avni Tigress and her cubs were in peril in India because she had been deemed a man eater by the authorities and villagers were screaming for her blood. We launched into the fray and began trying to get a handle on the facts because, believe it or not, you can’t trust everything you see on the Internet. We offered to take or find homes for Avni and her cubs if the government would tranquilize her rather than kill her. We generated more emails (221,243) to the 17 officials in charge there than any other alert we’ve done. We coordinated with our friends at Corbett Tiger Reserve about funding a $40,000 study they can’t afford, which they hope will find solutions for these situations. In the midst of these efforts, Avni was shot and killed and no one has seen her cubs.
10/18/2018 Mufasa the white lion and his mate Soraya were in the process of being sent from a rehab center to a permanent sanctuary, after winning a case against Mufasa’s illegal owner. The rehab center immediately sought permits to move both lions to the sanctuary, but the rehab center was told by authorities that Mufasa would not be going to any sanctuary – instead he would be sold to the highest bidder in a public auction! We stepped in and asked everyone to send emails to the 14 officials who could prevent this action. It resulted in 111,707 emails, but the South African government treats captive-bred lions like Mufasa as a commodity. The North West Province (where Mufasa resides) is ground zero for South Africa’s lion hunting industry and reportedly accounts for 80% of lions hunted there each year. We don’t know what they will decide, but there is already sanctuary ready and waiting for Mufasa and Soraya, if we can just get the government to back down from auctioning him off as a trophy.
10/27/2018 Lyka the blind lioness suffering in cramped conditions in a privately owned Philippine’s zoo came to our attention. We looked into the matter and found there was already a sanctuary willing to take Lyka, her father and the two tigers. They had invited the zoo owner, who is also a government official, to see the sanctuary and had been working on negotiating their release. We said we would see how it went and if they were not successful, we would see if there was anything we could do. We just learned that the sanctuary had to back away from the rescue because the zoo owner was not willing to let all the cats go and would not agree to quit buying or breeding big cats for life in cages. Our policy is to require the owners not do such bad things to future cats or we can’t help either. It does no good at all for sanctuaries to enable bad actors.
11/5/18 someone asked me to rescue Zena the tiger in the Russian circus who collapsed from a seizure during a performance. The video was heartbreaking to watch and I understand the urgency people feel to do something, but we have no channels to reach out to a Russian circus and even if we did, they have no reason to stop buying and breeding big cats to torture for their performances, unless we give them a reason. That reason is all about money. When people stop paying to see big cats in captivity no one will keep them in cages.
THAT is where we are spending our time, money and energy: Changing hearts, minds and laws, so there is no more cruel confinement of big cats for public amusement. We are only able to succeed, and thus rescue cats like these from a future of abuse, through YOUR voice. That’s why it is so important to sign up for our alerts by taking action on any one of them at CatLaws.com