JnK Rescue Photos via IFAW
When we rescued Kimba, Zeus and Keisha from JnK’s Call of the Wild in Sinclairville, NY we were not allowed to film but IFAW did and shared these photos of the rescue with us to share with you.
Kimba the tiger had been almost entirely unresponsive to the rescue efforts going on around her, and had been sleeping in her den, but when we tried to shut her in it, she came out and refused to go back in. There were no safety entrances on the cages, so there was no way to hook up our transport unless we could convince her to go back in the den, but it stank from food and feces piled inside it.
Big Cat Rescue Operations Manager, Gale Ingham, lures Kimba with a piece of meat on a stick.
The cats were literally starving to death, so Kimba tiger followed Gale back to the den. Apparently the way the cats had been fed, at JnK’s Call of the Wild, was to close the door to the den, like you see above, then open a back door, throw the food in the den, and then let the cat in. It worked and we were able to shut Kimba in her den so we could open a door on her cage and push our transport wagon up to the opening. The door was so rusted that it twisted half off its frame when we opened it.
Kimba “ran” for the opening. Even though she doesn’t seem to see very well, she knew the scent of fresh meat was in this direction.
Once she got to the door she wasn’t sure what to do though. It took a little calling, a little patience and Kimba’s extreme hunger for her to overcome her fear.
Kimba tiger looks to see if there is any way to get the food without going in the strange new box.
Kimba comes over to the camera guy to see if he will get the food out for her.
No deal. She has to do it herself.
There were a few false starts and stops as she stepped up and back out, but finally she hoisted her 20 year old, rickety frame up into the transport wagon.
Gale and Big Cat Rescue President, Jamie Veronica Boorstein, shut the door.
Because this was a seizure, each cat had to be rolled out into the open and photos taken by the officers with an identifying description.
We loaded Kimba into the Loving Friends transport vehicle first because she was in such poor condition and we were really concerned about her making it through the day. The A/C was on in the trailer and it was considerably less chaotic than what was happening outside.
In a pile of fluffy hay, with food in her stomach, Kimba fell asleep within minutes.
We kept checking on her to make sure she was still alive. She seemed at peace.
This was a brand new transport that was custom built by Loving Friends Transport.
It was designed with safety in mind, so it was pretty heavy to roll up the ramp.
Next to be caught was Zeus. Since he was still sleeping in his den, we shut him in and it went a lot faster.
We opened the door and Gale ran with a piece of meat and Zeus in hot pursuit.
We had to cut a hole in his cage to attach the transport.
Even though there were pipes in the way that we couldn’t cut and the hole for him was way too small, he forced himself through it to get to the meat that Gale had enticed him with and Jamie quickly shut the door.
Jamie lowered the door behind him.
Zeus is photographed by the authorities in case there is any lawsuit filed after the seizure.
JT and Laura Taylor, of Loving Friends, provided much needed muscle to get the cats rolled up into their transport vehicle.
Someone needs to buy JT a Big Cat Rescue shirt for these rescues.
Jamie is usually the one to steer the transports because she does it so well, but JT is really good at it and stronger.
Zeus is busy eating the rest of the food he got for going in the wagon and doesn’t care where they are hauling him.
Laura and JT spend most of their time rescuing domestic dogs from puppy mills and relocating abandoned dogs from shelters where they cannot find homes to larger shelters where there are more adoptive parents.
Laura and JT’s first tiger rescue was Amanda, Andre and Arthur tigers that we rescued in 2011 from the Wild Animal Orphanage in TX.
Next up is Keisha and Gales says, “Can anybody, who isn’t holding a gun, please help push?”
Jamie squeezes down between Kimba’s cage on the left and Keisha and Zeus’ cages on the right to put out transport wagon in place for catching Keisha.
At first we thought we might just let Keisha into Zeus’ cage, after he was out, because we already had a hole cut, but Jamie noticed that there was a double wall between tail-less Keisha and the two lions next to her. All of the cats had shared walls, sometimes with bears and wolves, but the one cat, with no tail, had a double wall between her and the lions. If we let Keisha into Zeus’ cage, there was a shared wall with the same lions and we really didn’t want to have to break up a lion and tiger fight, so we did it the hard way.
Jamie usually just stands on top of the transport wagon and lowers the door, but we were pretty sure Keisha wasn’t going to go in there if someone stood on top, so Jamie created a makeshift pulley for the rope and I went in Kimba’s empty cage to hide and hold the rope.
The cage walls were not very high and Keisha was really, really hungry and knew we had food. This could get very ugly, very fast.
Gale tries to lure Keisha tiger into her den so we can cut a hole in the wall to our transport wagon.
Keisha is so frantic for the food that she is jumping up on her back feet and clawing frantically at Gale and the den.
The IFAW camera guy has a Go Pro on a long pole and Keisha momentarily mistakes it for beef on a stick.
Keisha pushes her nose out through the huge gaps in the wire to make sure the Go Pro isn’t something to eat.
Keisha is getting pretty frustrated because she just doesn’t understand. Note the lions in the back ground. They were NOT helping matters any.
Despite her growing frustration, Keisha didn’t hiss or snarl at anyone during the loading.
Once Keisha finally fell for the trap she was photographed and loaded.
Upon arrival we were told that we only had 30 minutes per tiger to get them loaded or they would have to be sedated in order to not hold up the rest of the rescue teams.
We managed to get all three in their transport wagons within our 30 minute time allotment and were very happy that they didn’t have to go through the risk of sedation in their weakened states.
The clouds were rolling in too and we really thought we would be rained out, but the weather held until the last of our tigers were on the loading ramp.
Once inside it would be a 22 hour, straight through trip to Tampa. Laura and JT had just driven up two days before and then were helping load the tigers before they would have to head out on such a long and tiring journey.
All along the way stops were made to insure the cats were comfortable.
The tigers drank 8 gallons of water on the way to Tampa.
The Loving Friends transport trailer is air conditioned, has CO2 monitors and is monitored by webcams that display to the driver so they can watch for any trouble, all along the way.
We had to borrow two transport wagons for this trip.
One from Loving Friends Transport and one from our insurance provider, Mitchel Kalmanson.
We brought the fourth transport because we were expecting to pick up another tiger named Sasha, but she had died before the rescue. No one seems to know when. Some volunteers said she was there in the summer of 2013. The owner of JnK had put her on the list of cats she wanted to give up in Feb. 2014, but then she changed her mind and made the state come and take them from her.
You can read more about the rescue of Kimba, Keisha and Zeus at http://bigcatrescue.org/jnk/
A huge shout out to IFAW for providing us with these images and to everyone who helped us rescue these cats from certain death and giving them a second chance in paradise.
Jamie snaps a few photos once the tigers are in the transport, since we were not allowed to film outside the transport.