Rescue Lakota and Sioux Bobcats



Part 2

Below was the alert from the day of the rescue:

March 23, 2017 – Big Cat Rescuers have just gotten on the road with 2 adult bobcats rescued from The Mobile Zoo in Alabama. Officers with Mobile County (Alabama) Animal Control seized the bobcats and other remaining animals from the zoo this morning in a secret raid.

We could not give you details about this rescue until Jamie, Afton, Alyssa and Lauren G.  were safely on the highway leaving Alabama with these precious bobcats. The bobcats will arrive at their forever home at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa this evening. Our team is also on the ground at the sanctuary readying their new spacious enclosure.

We don’t know a lot about these bobcats. We’re told they are both four years old; one is male and the other is female. They have been living in the same cage at the Mobile Zoo.

The male bobcat’s name is Lakota and the female bobcat’s name is Sioux.

We do know quite a bit about the sordid history of the Mobile Zoo and its owner. The Mobile Zoo was shut down and its license revoked by USDA in November 2016. Earlier this week (March 16, 2017) the owner of the zoo, John Marks Hightower, was arrested on 28 counts of animal cruelty. The Mobile County District Attorney’s office filed charges after a search warrant was served at the zoo and Mobile County Animal Control and veterinarians assessed the condition of the animals remaining at the facility.

The Mobile Zoo, located in Wilmer, Alabama, was closed and its license revoked by USDA last November after numerous complaints of animals being mistreated. The most recent inspection found cages with dried feces, an accumulation of pests in the animal enclosures, unstable den conditions and possible blood stains that were never cleaned up.

At its peak, the zoo housed more than 75 animals, ranging from bears, to tigers and lions as well as monkeys and birds. USDA had repeatedly cited the zoo for rotted food in a refrigerator that had maintenance issues, and rotted meat in the enclosures with the lions and tigers. Since Hightower owned the animals, not all of them were immediately seized and taken, but his arrest this week signaled that the investigation into the facility found conditions were not adequately improved for Hightower to keep the animals.

Can we count on you to help us fund the rescue of these 2 bobcats and their ongoing care at Big Cat Rescue? This is your chance to REALLY make a difference in the lives of these precious wild cats! It’s because of wonderful donors like YOU that we can continue to rescue and provide a permanent home for exotic cats. Thank you!


Recap & Update of New Rescue

Meet female bobcat, Sioux

Meet male bobcat, Lakota


Photos from Rescue Trip 3/23/2017

Getting Ready to Go

Loading up the rescue truck on the way to save bobcats.

Arriving at the rescue site

Meeting law enforcement outside the roadside zoo

Getting creative to keep the peacock from attacking our bumper.

Afton expertly directs Jamie in the truck.  We went through some pretty narrow spots.

Making friends at the rescue site.  New best friend!  Apparently a neighbor’s dog.  He had a blast getting pets from all the new people.

The roadside zoo – general pix

A barn that seemed to have housed reptiles and birds at one point.  Non-functioning freezers held lots of rotting chicken.  What a waste of life.

An old leopard enclosure currently housing the sweetest pig; poor thing.

The barn

Old news articles tacked to the wall

Garbage dumped outside the barn

Don’t see this everyday.  Wild Animal Sanctuary rescued an ostrich and bears.  The cage has no bottom. They were slowly walking the cage along as the ostrich was walking inside the cage.  They’d stop every now and then and give the big bird a break.

Old lemur cage.  There were PVC tube in a bunch of the cages so guests could feed peanuts to the animals.  Probably not the safest idea for the animals.  Makes me wonder what else got dropped through those tubes.

Lakota and Sioux’ Cage

The cage that housed Lakota and Sioux at The Mobile Zoo

Closeup of what had been Lakota and Sioux’s den box

There was no safety entrance to their cage.

Several months worth of feces and bones littered the cage floor.

A scapula of an unknown animal in the bobcat enclosure.

A spine found in the enclosure

The bobcat enclosure had numerous holes and loose fencing.  It’s a wonder these two had not escaped.

A little perspective on the size and height of the bobcat cage. Afton & Lauren G


A lean-to in the cage

Outside view of the bobcat cage.

Front view of the bobcat cage.

Another view

Something was digging towards the bobcats.  If it was coyotes, those poor cats could have been killed and eaten by predators!

Rusted, eroded fencing and framework

The cage was definitely not safe.

The bobcats’ water “bowl” was similar to a hamster’s water dropper.  How sad to have lived their lives, especially in hot humid summers, having to drink water one drop at a time.  These two will love it at Big Cat Rescue where they will have actually water bowls that are cleaned every day and kept filled with fresh cool water.

First Glimpses of Lakota & Sioux


Lakota carrying his breakfast around just after we arrived at the rescue site.



Time to Get Started

First order of business was to build a safety entrance to ensure the bobcats would not escape.  The rescue team had came prepared with wire and tools.  Experience has taught us that when rescuing animals from former roadside zoos we often need to take steps to make things safe before beginning the rescue.

Getting the nets ready.

Hardworking rescuers, Alyssa, Afton, and Lauren G. (Jamie was taking the photo)

Getting the crates ready.

Catching the cats was a pretty wild ‘ride’ they were pretty agile.

Both bobcats loaded up. Rescuers pretty exhausted.

Alyssa & Lauren G relieved the cats are safely caught and in their carriers.

The beginning of Lakota and Sioux’ journey to their new furever home.

Sioux awaits departure.

Sioux is ready to go

She is a feisty one and so very cute.

Lakota is loaded and ready to go.

Lakota and Sioux loaded and ready to make the trip back to Big Cat Rescue.  The Big Cat Rescuer team with Lakota and Sioux just before their departure.

Ready to get going. Just waiting on the vet to inspect Lakota and Sioux.


Vet gave the okay for the cats to be loaded onto the trailer.

Filling up their water dishes before we hit the road.

On the Road – Florida Here We Come!!

Just 4 girls, 2 bobcats, and the open road. Last gas stop before home.

Rescuers: Jamie, Afton, Alyssa, & Lauren G.

Mid-Day Update from on the Road

Afternoon Update from the Rescuers on the Road 

They stopped for gas and to check on the cat’s well-being, their water, and the temperature in the trailer.

Late Day Update

Final stop on this rescue mission before we make it back to the sanctuary.

March 24, 2017 Live Video Replays

Jamie and Afton tell Carole about the Rescue Trip

Peacock attack, swarm of bees, they talk about the conditions of the facility, they talk about the serval, and more.

Viewer Questions

During the Facebook live video this morning some of you had questions that we did not see until after the video finished.  During live videos the comments and questions scroll past pretty fast and if we are typing a reply to another question we can easily miss seeing your questions.

Now that Lakota and Sioux are at Big Cat Rescue, are they together?  

  • They are not together yet.  They are, temporarily, living as neighbors.  Here at Big Cat Rescue we do not breed and will not not take any chances on accidental pregnancies, either.

Are Lakota and Sioux fixed?

  • Sioux will be fixed by our vets on Monday.  After she has been given time to recover from the surgery we will then see if the two cats act like they want to be together. If they do we will slowly re-introduce them the same as we did with Lovey & Thurston a few years ago, and Mrs. Claws and Nabisco a few months ago.  We will let the cats decide if they want to share space or not.  If they do, they will be given extra space and dens.

Has the vet checked them?

  • Just the vet in Alabama.  Our vets will be checking them soon.  Right now we are giving them space and privacy so they can settle down and relax a bit.  They need to rest up from the trip and get a good meal in their tummies.

What happened to the other animals?

  • They went to other sanctuaries, including Wild Animal Sanctuary in CO.  When a roadside facility is closed the legitimate sanctuaries all work together to find placement for the animals in facilities where they will be properly cared for.

Interview with Jamie

Weighing the new cats and taking them to their new enclosures.

The cats were too shy to come out of their carriers so we all had to walk away to give them privacy and time.

Sioux ventured out of the carrier to check out the platform.

Lakota has not ventured out yet.

Fox News

BOBCATS GET NEW HOME: Two bobcats from a failed Alabama zoo are arriving at Big Cat Rescue right now! They are a male and female, both 4-years-old, named Lakota and Sioux.


Profit from sales of this item will go to support our legislative efforts so that fewer cats will end up in situations needing rescue.

Bobcat Necklace and Matching Earring Set

Big Cat Gift Shop – “I Help Rescue Bobcats” Items

Profit from sales in help us support the needs of the cats and the sanctuary.

You can help support rescues like the bobcat rescue yesterday.


It is available in different styles and in several colors.

For just $2 there are Laminated Bobcat Photo Magnets

Laminated Photo Magnet features current resident of Big Cat Rescue Nabisco the bobcat as well as the BCR logo and the words Tampa, Florida. Magnets are approximately 2″ x 3″.

Tote Bag – “I Help Rescue Bobcats”

Bobcat Mugs
Bobcats of Big Cat Rescue 11 or 15 oz. mug features a photo collage of several of the past and present bobcat residents including; MaryAnn, Lovey, Andi, Bailey, Moses, Mrs. Claws, Max, Little White Dove, Mr. Howell and Nabisco. This sturdy white, glossy ceramic mug is an essential to your cupboard. This brawny version of ceramic mugs shows it’s true colors with quality assurance to withstand heat in the microwave and put it through the dishwasher as many times as you like, the quality will not be altered. Dishwasher and microwave safe.

Plush Bobcat – Flopsie Bobby

Bobby the Flopsie is bean filled and made of a silky chenille material. Stuffed animal is approximately 12″

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