Big Cat Updates
Several items were raffled off. Proceeds from that is also being donated to the five conservation programs that today’s event supports.
A special 25th anniversary message from Big Cat Rescue’s Founder Carole Baskin:
When I saved a bobcat kitten at an animal auction from certain death on November 4, 1992 and named her Windsong, I really had no idea what I was doing …nor what the future would hold. It seems almost impossible, but today marks 25 years since that very first exotic cat stole my heart and set the wheels in motion for what would become Big Cat Rescue.
Fast forward to today. I’m proud to say our sanctuary has rescued over 250 exotic cats, shut down every exotic cat fur farm in America, advocated fiercely for strong laws to protect big cats, rehabilitated and released more than 45 wild native Florida bobcats, and educated millions of people about the plight of captive big cats kept as pets, bred for cub-petting schemes, and exploited at roadside zoos, fairs and circus acts.
It hasn’t been easy and it wouldn’t have happened at all without our amazing volunteers, interns, staff, donors and followers like you! It has been a 25-year roller coaster of tears, fears, joy, perseverance, grief, gratitude, sweat, heartbreak and hope. And determination that the Big Cat Public Safety Act (HR 1818) becomes federal law and ends the suffering of so many captive big cats in this country. Please help us pass this crucial legislation for big cat by visiting BigCatAct.com.
Thank you so much for all of your support!
Learn more about Big Cat Rescue’s History and Evolution
Did you get your Wildcat Walkabout – Safari Days Gear? We have selected five important “in situ” projects (i.e. work being done out in the wild to preserve species). Each project is devoted to a different species – Tiger, Lion, Cougar, Ocelot and Bobcat. Your PURR-chase of these products are a big help in that effort.
All Ticket Sales Go To Conservation
Read more about the conservation projects YOU are helping to fund by attending our 25th Anniversary Walkabout:
ONE: Tiger Conservation Project
There are currently between 400 500 siberian tigers left in the wild. The problem of conflicts between big predators and humans is not new. It is very urgent and always attracts close attention both from the public and mass media. Every year wild tiger cubs lose their mothers and are orphaned as a result of this conflict, some are found injured or diseased and require temporary care. Previously these cubs would of been killed or died, but Primorskii Regional Noncommercial Organization (PRNCO), is the first full fledged rehabilitation center for tigers in Russia, focusing on successful treatment to regain their health, teach them to hunt and fear humans, and make their release possible and safe for both the animal and the people living in its habitat. The rehabilitation facility is in a wooded location far from human settlements and allows the tigers to be semifree ranging with limited to no disturbance from people. Since 2012, they have rehabilitated 7 tigers, 6 of which were released back into their natural habitat. 5 of them became fully adapted to life in the wild. The first female they released went on to have 2 cubs and 2 of the other tigers released separately, formed a couple and also reproduced in the wild, proving their rehabilitation and release programme successful. The population of the siberian tigers living exclusively in the south of the Russian far east has low numbers and very low genetic variety. The preservation of each healthy individual with the ability to reproduce, capable of living in nature independently is critical to conserve the species.
You can read more about the rehabilitation center and their work here: You can read more about the rehabilitation center and their work here: http://en.siberiantiger.ru/
Working Dogs for Conservation is the world’s leading conservation detection dog organization. They are pioneers in using dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell to further conservation and aid in the fight against wildlife trafficking. To save wildlife, they first start by saving dogs, as many of their conservation detection dogs are rescued from shelters. For most of their history, WD4C have used dogs’ exceptional abilities to find where and how cryptic, rare, or threatened species live. They are now putting the dogs to work finding and eliminating threats to these species. During their work monitoring Lions in Zambia, WD4C saw the victims of poaching firsthand and knew their dogs could help.
The focus of the the work was wire snares that have become an epidemic throughout Africa. Snares are extremely inhumane killing devices. The noose slips across the animal’s body part or neck and tightens, causing the animal to be trapped. An animal can be snared anywhere on its body, depending on the animal’s movement when it encounters the snare, and at any height. For many animals this means a long and painful death. With the assistance of WD4C not only were the dogs able to find the snares but they were 25% more successful than human searchers. In addition having dogs search for them left rangers with the ability to remain vigilant in protecting the large carnivores.
The dogs have since been trained to find guns, gunpowder and ammunition in addition to animal parts. Their success is helping wildlife authorities find wildlife products, confiscate weapons and arrest poachers which in turn has a significant impact on keeping protected areas for wildlife safe. To keep African wildlife products from being trafficked around the world, WD4C are currently placing conservation detection dogs with customs agents in Vietnam, Malawi, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Cambodia, and the United States.
Read more Read more about the work done by WD4C here: https://wd4c.org/poachingtrafficking.html
THREE: Cougar Conservation Project
The Mountain Lion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Cougars and their habitats. The Foundation works closely with legislative, governmental and conservation groups to heighten public awareness and educate policy makers on conservation issues such as hunting, habitat loss, workable wildlife corridors, harmonious human/mountain lion interactions, and the vital role of the mountain lion in a healthy ecosystem. MFL works to continue growing knowledge about the species, ecology, habitat use and threats and uses it in an effort to influence cougar management plans, laws and regulations.
One of many important specific initiatives headed by the Mountain Lion Foundation, is Secure Livestock Enclosures. In the United States more cougars are killed as a result of preying on domestic livestock than for any other intentional reason. The Mountain Lion foundation provides vital assistance and guidelines for locals who want to protect their livestock, by giving them free construction plans, instructions and material lists for cougar proof enclosures, they also provide hand on assistance in their construction. By decreasing livestock, it decreases the human cougar conflict and thus decreases the number of retaliatory killings.
Read more about their work here: http://mountainlion.org/index.asp
The Ocelot is one of 13 species of wild cat native to the western hemisphere and one of 10 felids inhabiting Latin America. The Ocelot occurs from the lower Rio Grande Valley to extreme south Texas and the Sky Islands of southern Arizona. S.P.E.C.I.E.S is undertaking the first comprehensive effort to study ocelots in Trinidad. The history of the ocelot on Trinidad is unique for several reasons. It is the only place that the ocelot has evolved in the absence of larger mammalian carnivores, on Trinidad it is the largest predatory mammal. Among Neotropical small felids, it is second only to the jaguarundi in distribution expanse, and is classified by the IUCN as a species of “Least Concern”, the lowest priority for conservation among the world’s threatened and endangered species. But on Trinidad, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest the ocelot population may be declining, and its future may be threatened by human activities. More importantly perhaps, Trinidad hosts the only population of ocelots on a continental island, making it the most geographically isolated of all ocelot populations. Because Trinidad has been isolated from the mainland for approximately 11,000 years, much of its biodiversity is unique. Isolated from mainland South American species, many vertebrates and invertebrates on the island are genetically distinct enough to be different species or subspecies.
This study aims to look at the ecology of Trinidad’s ocelot population, define its place in the evolutionary history of the ocelot as a species and develop an integrative plan for its longterm conservation. The study with investigate the impacts of deforestation, illegal hunting, urbanization, and different types of agricultural land use and intensity on ocelot habitat suitability, population density, and the diversity of prey species available to the predator. S.P.E.C.I.E.S are also collaborating with local institutions to promote greater awareness of the ocelot’s needs among the public of Trinidad & Tobago, build individual capacity and organizational capacity to monitor ocelots, and develop an island strategy for habitat connectivity and conservation across based on the needs of the species. If the ecological needs of ocelots can be better understood, it is possible to more precisely define the types and intensity of human activities that are compatible with an increasing or stable ocelot population.
Read more about the work done by S.P.E.C.I.E.S here: http://carnivores.org/
Bobcats, alike many wild cat species, face a large number of threats in the wild, including habitat loss, habitat fragmentation due to human development, disease, poisoning and are still trapped and hunted for their fur throughout most of their range. In western states killing of bobcats is unlimited, and pelts from bobcats in these states are most prized because the region’s high elevations and cold temperatures make their spotted fur softer. Populations of bobcats sustain the ecological balance of both mesopredator and prey populations, yet continued growth of human population and road networks have increased mortality rates and genetically isolated bobcat populations.
In Southern California, Felidae Conservation Fund is working in the Bay Area and Central Coast, trying to identify remaining bobcat habitat and wildlife linkages between habitats, in an effort to conserve wild Bobcat populations and prevent local extinctions. Identifying linkages that connect habitats is critical as they provide a means for species to access necessary resources, provide access for juvenile dispersal and facilitate movement between habitat patches for wildlife to find viable mates. Since carnivores generally have relatively large home ranges, fragmented habitats often become smaller than the home ranges. As a result, home ranges of large carnivores often extend into the boundaries of urbanized areas which leads to human wildlife conflicts.
The Bay Area Bobcat Study aims to look at how human development and habitat fragmentation affects bobcat populations, population status, mortality factors, and health, all of which have not been evaluated in depth for the region. This study will track bobcat movement through fragmented landscapes and identify barriers that hinder juvenile dispersal within bobcat metapopulations. Combining telemetry and conducting field camera research will reveal where bobcat juveniles are dispersing, and how bobcats are moving on the landscape. By gaining this information felidae will be able to make plans for conservation including informed recommendations to land managers and roadway engineers, concerning wildlife corridors and crossing structures.
You can read more about the project here: http://www.felidaefund.org/?q=bayareabobcatspage
Preserving and protecting the species in the wild is the right thing to do.
See the Lion Conservation Station
See the Ocelot Conservation Station
Wildcat Walkabout Begins
Getting Ready – Before the gates open
Getting Last Minute Preparations Ready
Andy bathing for the Wildcat Walkabout today
Day before Walkabout – Afternoon Checking ont he cats
Deb Quimby & Carole & Afton: Had an amazing day yesterday at BCR meeting and touring with Carole and a surprise trip around the sanctuary with Afton! Trip of a lifetime I will never forget! Everyone is so kind and friendly there!! I can’t express how awesome my time here has been so far and I haven’t even been back yet for day 2!! Few pics here. More to follow.
It is SOOOO MUCH FUN getting to see all your faces!!!!!!!!!!
It takes a LOT of volunteers, a lot of planning and preparation to make the annual Wildcat Walkabout happen.
Chelsea made sure all the volunteers had shirts and name tags.
Some of our PAWSOME Facebook Friends were here today. Big cat friend, Lee Durbin, made special name tags.
The Humane Society brought kittens that were ready to find their furever families.
Keeper Susan Reed, Yesterday: Sweet Reise can’t wait for tomorrow’s Walkabout!
Sundari enjoyed Sunning her tummy and ignored those watching her.