Big Cat Updates
The temps have been getting up into the 90s already so the picky eating cats are getting even pickier. Their activity level really drops in the heat though, so they don't need to consume as many calories. Almost all of our cats scale back their food intake for the hot months, so it's always a challenge to offer them all they want without having a lot to throw away after breakfast.
The big project right now is replacing the Cat Walk across Tiger Lake.
Like most of our exotic cats, it is over 20 years old and has seen better days. Because the lake is 30 feet deep near the spring, which is near the Cat Walk, all we have ever been able to do is reinforce what was there. Every few years we strip off the fencing, or add more layers, or strip off some of the wood, or add more layers. We have wanted to replace the structure for years, but could not find a company capable of dealing with the water depth.
I've been bemoaning the drought and my heart hurts with every step onto the crunch of what used to be lush grass. I've been watching all of the foliage in the enclosures turn brown, and then just shatter into shards as the big cats pounce around on the water deprived plants. The drought has enabled horrific fires that have destroyed native bobcat and Florida panther habitat. I've prayed for rain. Danced in the few drops we've gotten. It's been awful, but with everything comes a silver lining.
For us it means our lake has dropped to levels we've never seen in 25 years. It means we can finally walk on the lake floor across most of the area by the Cat Walk. It means we can rip this thing down (mostly) and start over the way it should have been done to begin with.
Tiger Lake is really two lakes divided by a land bridge. In the photo above, you can see the larger side (about 15 acres) and off to the right of the sunset scene would be the land bridge and then the three acre side where the Cat Walk separates the tigers from the larger part of the 3 ac side. We rented a pump today and will begin moving the water out of the 3 ac side to the 15 ac side. We will have to leave plenty of water in the smaller side for the fish and turtles who live there, but if we can draw down the water by about 3 feet, we can stand up at the base of the Cat Walk to do the renovations. Once the construction is done, we will reverse the pumps and fill the 2 lake sides both back up to level.
As for the actual renovations, we are having a pow wow on Wednesday to discuss design changes. We have already ordered stainless steel, woven wire mesh in 5 gauge thickness (4 sizes stronger than required by law) and just that was $12,000!!! We have never been able to afford wire that will never rust under water before, but those of you who donate are making that possible. We have a fundraiser going on, with matching funds, until tomorrow at Razoo here: https://givedaytampabay.razoo.com/story/B9u50f The funds are for our bobcat rehab program, but by giving to that effort, it frees up the cash we need to get the Cat Walk secured.
The Cat Walk overlooks two tiger enclosures. One is about 3/4 to an acre and the other is about 2 acres. Both front on the lake, so the tigers who live there can come down and swim in the lake. The Cat Walk is what keeps them from swimming out to the main lake(s). Because it was built in the 90s, before we had ever heard of the ADA, it isn't wide enough for wheel chairs, so we can't offer the view to anyone if we can't offer it to those with disabilities. We plan to make it much wider so that all of our guests can access this fantastic view of the tigers as they lay lakeside.
It's also one of the few places where the guests are safely out of reach of the cats, even if they put their camera lens through the fencing up on the Cat Walk. Beautiful shots like Hoover above or Shere Khan and China Doll (both deceased now) in the photo below are possible from the deck without wire in the way.
Seth's side of the lake is secure, as the fencing was just replaced last year, but the much larger side isn't safe for containing a tiger any more, so it is empty. I apologize to all of our Tiger Lake Web Cam Viewers as the view is going to be pretty awful there as we pump down the water and do the construction. I've asked the construction team to be as entertaining as possible for your viewing pleasure though. The timing for doing this project, when we have so many other pressing projects, is bad, but the water may never be this low again, so we have to do it NOW. The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a lot of rain this month, so we have to get out ahead of it. I'll keep you posted.
Shere Khan and China Doll have their own storybook with a lot of photos. It followers the adventures of these two tigers for an entire afternoon in text and photos. It has lessons in friendship, and forgiveness. Get your free copy at ChatBigCats.com/books/
There is a litter who are almost ready for the Kitten Cabana. Just waiting for the runt to get big enough for his shots.
Evening meds w/ Momma Becky and Lynda. 4/30/2017
Meet tigers: Seth
Meet lion: Joseph
Meet Bobcats: Anasazi, Nabisco, Mrs. Claws, Dryden
Meet Servals: Nala, Frosty, Tonga
Meet Cougar: Reise
Meet Leopards: Sabre, Sundari, Jade, Armani, Cheetaro Meet hybrids: JoJo and King Tut.
Carole talks about the live streaming cat cams among other things.
Watch all the live cat cams at BigCatCams.com
We caught Zeus Tiger cooling off in his pool. http://bigcatrescue.org/zeus-tiger/
Rescued kittens play and heal while they wait for their forever homes. Watch more at http://explore.org/bigcatrescue
From Keeper MaryLou: Priya loving the cool water spray.
Magnet - Support Ribbon $5.00
Show your support for Big Cat Rescue while driving around town with a Ribbon Car Magnet. Black with gold leopard print or black with silver leopard print and BigCatRescue.org in gold lettering. Magnet is 8" x 3.75"
Anasazi Bobcat has been in heat and Divinity Bobcat gets some dental work done.
Lost “white” Files from Jan - Mar 2017
In these lost files from Jan - Mar 2017 we do a walkabout with Momma Becky handing out evening meds, catch up with Keisha Tiger, Pharaoh the White Serval and his brother Tonga. Nabisco Bobcat had a seizure and we rinse out his mouth, in case it was a toad, and give him something like valium so he doesn’t seize again, a few days later he’s back to his frisky, fun loving self. Then watch Zabu the White Tiger go to Vacation Rotation.
The Walkabout Lost Files 2017 Jan - Mar
Sometimes things get so busy that video files are lost for a while. I caught up (NOT) today and thought you may want to see some of these lost files.
Wildcat Walkabout 2017 04 28
Starring Nabisco and Mrs Claws the bobcats, Priya Tiger, Cameron and Zabu and more.
People often ask me for the links to the cats' web cams. Carole has posted them all on a web page and then bought a domain name that is easy to remember.
You can find the list of cat web cams at BigCatCams.com
Have YOU bookmarked BigCatCams.com to quickly get to the cats' live webcams?
Happy Birthday Nabisco - THANK YOU, Viewer Silver, for making this adorable collage for Nabisco!!
You can celebrate Nabisco's 1st birthday by making a Birthday donation for Nabisco at https://givedaytampabay.razoo.com/story/B9u50f and YOUR Donation will be matched $ for $.
- If you donate $5.00 the cats will get $5 from you and $5.00 matching donation.
- If you donate $25 the cats will get $25 from you and $25 matching donation.
- If you donate $100 the cats will get $100 from you and $100 matching donation.
APRIL: For outstanding volunteer service, the April SAVE Award goes to Devin Saari! Devin is wonderful to work with he is always willing to stay late or pitch in with any project. He takes on any task with a smile and a positive attitude.
A donation of $1000 has been made in your honor to the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project.
Human-animal conflict is an ever growing problem especially in areas where the habitats of humans and animals overlap. With human populations increasing, there is more pressure on wildlife to survive due to habitat loss, and livestock Bomas provide an easy meal for many predators. When predators kill the livestock, the locals retaliate by killing the predators and thus it means, in countries like Tanzania, Kenya and Nairobi, where human-animal conflict is prevalent, lion and leopard populations are dramatically declining. The Tanzania Lion Illumination Project is a small, non-profit organization that works out in Tanzania installing “Lion Lights” on to livestock Bomas in areas where they are needed, to help rural communities protect their livestock and reduce retaliatory killings.
“Lion lights” are a simple and effective method that involved the installation of LED lights around the tops of livestock bomas. The flashing LED lights are solar powered and help to repel predators, by disorientating them and causing them to flee. To date the Tanzania Lion Illumination Project has installed lights on more than 70 Bomas and the result has shown a dramatic decrease in both livestock loss and retaliatory predator killings.The Tanzania Lion Illumination Project not only funds the light systems but also trains local people and the native tribes in the installation and upkeep. By doing this they hope to be able to educate them and raise awareness about living in peace with the animals.
More Info at: http://www.tanzlight.org/home.html
When you purr-ticipate in Carole’s Facebook Live contest you need to put your answers in the special form at BigCatRescue.org/win
Question: What is Dryden Bobcat's birth date? Day, Month Year
Answer: 5/1/2015 you can find that at http://bigcatrescue.org/dryden/
Prize chosen by winner: Cheetah Silver Necklace Luxe Line
Here is a list of YouTube channels that feature videos of the cats here:
- Jamie Veronica: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsY6X3rUv8UlIUbrxNeu-Aw
- Susann https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUFOZiTvzKRvj-oVbzdByvg
- Ruxandra https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvCsjKptd1gM9BhfDkGQGNg
- Donna P: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcFbhMc8Sqr-8MreWuYr4Bg
- Shawna https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfl9S-vDPJIgjl8QpM6Aypw
- Cathy S https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6ynHBFLKj0BVnK5jo2gTnw
- Janie M https://www.youtube.com/user/donutgirl100
Carole is looking for a graphic artist who really gets what we are all about and would would like to help us with some graphics for shirts. If that is you or if you know someone like that, please have them email Carole at firstname.lastname@example.org
As per viewer suggestions, Quick Links now has it’s very own page http://bigcatrescue.org/quick-links/
Bookmarking it will help you find things quickly. That will come in handy for:
- Helping us answer questions on social media
- Finding answers to some of Carole’s Facebook Live questions