Ringling Bros. Show WON’T Go On!
I know you guys like your cat updates first, but this is the best news in 146 years for big cats! Ringling Bros. Circus announced yesterday they will no longer have a circus once their commitments end in May 2017. I think we should still protest each and every location where they try to bring wild animals between now and then in the hopes that this awful business will end sooner. (I can’t help but wonder if Charaka Tiger checked out yesterday because his work here was done.) Ringling’s 146 years of making wild animals do stupid pet tricks for ignorant viewers is finally over!
There are lots and lots of news stories about it out there, so check our Facebook page over the next few days as we post the best articles about this epic event!
Dr. Justin is sharing the footage of Charaka Tiger as he died yesterday along with his findings to see if they have any input. He’s thinking heart disease would account for a sudden death like that, but is desperately seeking answers while waiting for the lab results to come back. Thankfully we had a Nest cam on Chakara at the time and it was all captured on film. It was very, very sudden. For more info see yesterday’s update.
Fourth Surgery to Repair Hoover’s Penis. This LIVE webcam is on the hospital cage where Hoover is recovering.
Keepers saw that Hoover‘s exterior stitches had failed so Dr Justin sedated him to check out the surgery site. The inside stitches seem to be holding, so he just re stitched the exterior skin. We have put Hoover in the concrete floored hospital cage so we can make sure he isn’t fussing with the sutures and to keep the site clean, so that the antibiotics can do their job.
VIDEO: Live Chat With Carole 1/14/2017
Each day that Carole does a Facebook Live video she asks a question and someone who answers it correctly wins a prize. So, go to Facebook and Like our Facebook Page and choose to get notifications of our live videos. Then participate in the contests, join in conversations in the comments area, too. Be sure to book mark BigCatRescue.org/win which is where you will post your answer to qualify for a future prize if you are the first one to get the correct answer.
Question: What facility was Charaka born at?
Answer: Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Charaka arrived at Big Cats of Serenity Springs on 12/2/01 from Tanganyika Wildlife Park (which is run by ZAA director Jim Fouts) in Wichita, KS. He was later paired with Priya Tigress, who was born at Big Cats of Serenity Springs and used as breeding stock for the pay to play schemes at Big Cats of Serenity Springs and elsewhere. Cubs were frequently transferred both in and out to GW Zoo, Jungle Safari AKA The Zoo, Wildlife in Need, Dirk Arthur’s magic act, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Hanson Exotics, T.I.G.E.R.S. and others.
Winner’s Chosen Prize: Long Sleeved Vintage Distresses Tiger Time Honored Shirt
EVERYONE who answered correctly on 1/14/2017 will receive a Hi-Resolution Digital Photo of Charaka
1/13/2017 Winner Barbara Paver has chosen her gift.
Viewer Videos From Explore.org/bigcatrescue
VIDEO: Seth in the Pond 1/14/2016
What is the difference between the AZA and ZAA?
More than can be included in this article, but here are two of the differences that are most important to saving big cats.
Origins of AZA vs ZAA
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) was founded in 1924. The Zoological Association of America (ZAA) claims to have been founded in 2005, but appears to have just been an idea that never really took off until the Lowry Park Zoo, under leadership of Lex Salisbury, lost its AZA accreditation in 2008. Online sources show that Salisbury had hosted the ZAA at the Lowry Park Zoo in 2007 and began using the zoo’s facilities to run the ZAA in 2008, presumably to maintain the appearance of being accredited by someone.
The Lowry Park Zoo was able to regain their AZA accreditation after firing Lex Salisbury in 2008 for his allegedly self serving trades of more than 200 of the zoo’s animals to his own privately held animal collection. As of 2013 Salisbury still serves on the ZAA board of directors.
The AZA has always been the gold standard for zoos, but has been challenged by the lack of public understanding of the meaning of accreditation.
Much time and money has been spent on branding so that zoo-goers know if they are supporting a good zoo or a bad zoo.
There has never been a serious threat to that branding until the ZAA began heralding themselves as an accrediting body. It isn’t that there is any real threat of competition between the two organizations; only a matter of confusion to the public.
It is our belief that some of the current AZA zoos, who don’t like the more strict and humane standards being adopted by AZA, are choosing to be accredited by both ZAA and AZA so that when they lose their prestigious AZA accreditation they will be able to dupe patrons into thinking that ZAA is the same thing.
So how does the AZA differ from ZAA?
From our perspective, at Big Cat Rescue, the biggest difference is in their attitudes toward breeding and handling of captive big cats and their cubs.
The AZA only recommends breeding of exotic cats based upon their genetics which are managed by the Species Survival Plans. These SSPs are managed by experts for each species of animal. Matings are suggested based upon providing the most genetic diversity and healthy specimens. (ie: that is why the AZA does not condone breeding white tigers, white lions or other inbred animals) Each animal must have a pedigree that traces all the way back to their wild ancestors because many instincts are geographic and thus, if these animals are truly ever to enhance wild populations it is imperative that they are suitable for the areas to which they could one day be returned.
The ZAA promotes breeding of exotic animals by private owners of animals that cannot be traced back to the wild and thus could never serve any conservation value. Most of their board members appear to be private, backyard breeders. The ZAA states as its purpose, “Protect and defend the right to own exotic and domestic animals, both privately and publically…” and yes, they can’t even spell the word “publicly.”
The AZA does not promote big cats as pets and does not allow the public to handle their big cats; nor do they pimp out the cubs for photo and handling sessions. A few AZA facilities still allow public contact with cheetah, but after several recent maulings by cheetah, we believe that practice will soon go the way of the Dodo.
All you have to do is take a look at the list of ZAA accredited facilities to see that it is rife with facilities that pimp out lion and tiger cubs every few months for public contact. This is unsustainable and results in hundreds of big cats outgrowing their profitable cub stage only to end up being relegated to tiny jail cells, or worse.
Do you know someone who works for an AZA zoo? You can help them distinguish themselves from ZAA roadside zoos and backyard breeders by asking them to publicly support the ban on the private ownership and breeding of exotic cats.
Who Is The ZAA?
The ZAA’s membership list reads to me like a Who’s Who in animal exploitation.
Their mission and purpose statement make it clear that they support private ownership of dangerous wild animals stating, ” Purpose: As a trade organization to serve the needs of our members. Protect and defend the right to own exotic and domestic animals… Defend our accredited facilities against false allegations, those with political agendas, and mischaracterizations.”
When facilities can’t achieve the standards set by the only legitimate zoo accrediting body, the AZA, some have decided to join this little band, but it casts a shadow on their credibility to be in the company of many of the following.
Some of their members (as of 2014): Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, Giraffe Ranch, Gulf Breeze Zoo, Have Trunk, Will Travel, Jungle Island, Montgomery Zoo, Safari Niagara, Safari Wilderness Ranch, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags Wild Safari Animal Park, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Triple D Game Farm, Virginia Safari Park (name change?), Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, York’s Wild Kingdom, Zoo World Zoological and Botanical Conservatory, Zoosiana – Zoo of Acadiana, Zoological Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Wildlife Foundation – Site 2
In the comments at the bottom of this page tell us how YOU would explain the differences between the AZA and the ZAA if someone should ask you?
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In case you missed these when they were posted on social media. Here are some of the cats and their new toys.
Gabrielle & her pretty yellow ball: Gabrielle is unsure of her new toy at first, but ends up playing with it a little (which is a lot for a 19 year old).
Seth and his new ball
Some Christmas Enrichment photos you might enjoy as well.
Want to see more? Let us know in the comments below.
Every Wednesday night at around 6PM our wonderful volunteers come in and make enrichment for the cats. Sometimes we do live events, where we will answer your questions, or let you make suggestions to them on what to make for the cats, but most of the time it is just a one way window. We use Facebook for the two way interaction, when there is someone who can manage it. This is a new URL for the LIVE webcam: https://video.nest.com/live/X5RLuX
FUN VIDEO: Big Cat TOYS (May 2011)