Kay Rosaire takes her circus act to Bermuda and the cats on barges
(Kay Roasaire’s advice at a USDA training session was that to train tigers you just poke them with a pitchfork a few times and show them who is boss)
Animals from non-profit sanctuary
By Ruth O Kelly-Lynch
Tigers and bears from a non-profit sanctuary will arrive on the Island for
the Animal Extravaganza shows which begin on May 26.
The animals are coming from Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in
Florida. DNA Entertainment spokesman Ray Hollis said the company would be
bringing six tigers and five bears. The sanctuary, run by Kay Rosaire, has been
rescuing exotic animals from unhealthy environments since 1987.
Approximately 57 large cats call the sanctuary home at the moment. They live
on three large indoor/outdoor complexes with swimming pools, toys and trees.
The brochure says the activities provide emotional enrichment that
maintains optimal mental and physical health.
Ms Rosaire and her son hold educational shows and demonstrations in order to
raise funds for the habitat. Their brochure touts them as gentle caregivers:
Their unique style of gentle handling, praise and treats encourage the
natural behaviours of big cats on cue and in a sequence of their choice. Clayton
is one of the few men in the world who can put his head in a lions mouth.
Semi-retired from the entertainment industry, Kay dedicates herself full
time to the rescue of big cats and other animals in need of a safe, permanent
home, and continues to the educate visitors at the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf
Coast Sanctuary as to the plight of these magnificent animals in the wild,
addressing subjects such as conservation and habitat preservation. Kay has spoken
at two big cat symposiums for the United States Department of Agriculture
and is a recognised expert in animal husbandry pertaining to lions and tigers.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is currently
investigating the group to ensure that it treats the animals well. Teresa Ince, Shelter
Manager, said the Society still has concerns about the event.
We are still not endorsing the event because we are concerned about the transport of the
animals, the veterinary care and the housing of the animals while they are in
Bermuda and their safety, she said.
Mr. Hollis said he was aware that the SPCA would probably not be endorsing
his event, though he said he has not made any contact with them recently.
Even if you have the best trainers and safety in place it will not change
their stance, he said. They do not want them in cages so what can you do?
That is their opinion.
He said that the SPCAs concerns have not hurt ticket sales to the event,
they have already sold out of all $25 tickets to the four shows. There are
still $35 and $40 tickets to the shows which will be held May 26-28.
The public seems to realise that with any animal you have to transport them
in a cage, he said.
The animals will arrive on the Island on May 21 via a freight ship. He is
currently in discussions over where to keep them while they are on the Island.
A spokesman from the Environment Ministry said it had not granted DNA
Entertainment permission to import the animals and the Ministry is still actively
reviewing the case.
Mr. Hollis said it is not customary to apply for permission until ten days
before the event and added that he is in constant touch with the Ministry. He
also said his company has not been affected by North Rock Communications
pulling its sponsorship from the event.
I respect their decision, he said.
He added that he is looking to include local animal acts into the Animal
Extravaganza as well as the big cats from the sanctuary.
Anyone interested in more information about the event can go to _www.dnashows.com_
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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