Mickey Goes Home
Daily Big Cat 9-12-14
Master keeper Gale discusses Mickey the cougar's release and rehabilitation on this episode of #DailyBigCat.
Toronto Jays and Wall Street Journal
At least the Jays had the good sense to take down the photos, once they found out that people who love animals think this is nothing more than animal abuse. Big cat cubs belong with their mothers. They aren't ego props. Shame on the WSJ for not doing a simple Internet search on the subject of pay to play cubs before condoning this cruelty.
Now the Wall Street Journal needs you to educate them about why cub handling is cruel. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2014/09/11/toronto-blue-jays-bring-a-baby-lion-and-tiger-into-the-clubhouse-and-the-pictures-are-great/
Back in the 90's we were home to three snow leopards, but Florida is no place for a cat who was designed to live above the permafrost line, so we built air conditioned caves for them. They were zoo surplus to the Species Survival Plan, but we do not believe in breeding cats for lives in cages, so we kept them separate. Vern converted a big freezer box; the kind you see on semi tractors, into a 3 compartment den with air conditioning that ran 24/7. He covered the trailer body with concrete work, made to look like rocks. The a/c blowing in the dens also made the rocks cool to the touch, so the snow leopards could be outside, but stay cool, as well.
The last of our snow leopards passed away in 2011 and when we shut off the air conditioner it was with the belief that it would never be used again. Snow leopards almost never end up in the exotic cat trade and the only other cat that might require such cooling would be Canada Lynx, but they too, are so rare and so fragile, that they rarely end up in backyards and basements. When we received a call in 2013 that there were two Canada Lynx who had been abandoned in Kansas, we just figured they had been misidentified and would turn out to be bobcats.
If you followed us during that rescue then you know that Skipper and Gilligan did turn out to be Canada Lynx and came home with us, along with their companions, Lovey, Thurston, Mary Ann the bobcats and Ginger the serval. During quarantine we discovered that Skipper and Gilligan had hook worms and they were treated, but their cages were now contaminated and would have to undergo extensive treatment with salt to kill any of the worms in the soil. Once we were sure that Skipper and Gilligan were no longer hosting the parasites we began to prepare the old snow leopard enclosures for them, so that they could have access to the air conditioned dens.
Skipper moved first and now Gilligan is joining him.
Gale had to use a LOOOOONG rope on the door to Gilligan's feeding lockout because he would spook and run at the slightest hint that she may shut the door. Once she trapped him in the feeding lockout, the volunteers and interns brought the transport cage and lined it up to the guillotine door.
Usually we can cover the cage we want the cats to go in with a sheet and they will seek refuge in the dark. That allows us to drop the door and secure them in the carrying case. It worked with Gilligan, but a tree had grown in the worst possible spot and we couldn't line the door up to be flush. Gale used the sheet to trick Gilligan into thinking it was a wall, but when push comes to shove, and we have to get the door in place there were a few tense moments when we thought he might bolt out toward her.
There isn't any footage of that because we had to drop the camera to help secure the door of the crate.
Gilligan was then driven to the West - Boensch (pronounce bench) Cat Hospital where he was weighed for future reference and taken to his new enclosure. He weighs 33 pounds. Once released into his new cat-a-tat, Gilligan was a little nervous. Skipper got up on his high platform next door so he could watch all the action. Within a few minutes though Gilligan was checking out his new air conditioned den, his platforms and all the fun, new stuff to do and explore.
It costs close to 2 million dollars a year to support the cats at Big Cat Rescue and the best kind of donations are the ones we know we can count on regularly. We have a number of ways that you can pledge a monthly or annual gift to the cats, so that we can continue to rescue and provide top notch care. Check out the many ways you can help at BigCatRescue.org slash donate.