>Big Cat Rescue


   Today I toured Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue for the first time. I learned a great deal about the exotic animal trade and the abuse that is dealt these animals by some of our fellow human beings. Whenever I hear about this type of thing it breaks my heart, be it dogs or tigers, what is wrong with people? Have the people involved no hearts? It is just so difficult for me to understand what goes on in their minds.  Big Cat Rescue is doing their part to help out animals abandoned by owners who thought it would be cool to have a an exotic cat as a pet-only to discover they couldn’t handle it.
  Animals come to Big Cat Rescue for a variety of other reasons as well. The following is copied from their website and tells you who they are and what they are about:
Who is Big Cat Rescue?
  • Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats.
  • The nonprofit sanctuary began in 1992.
  • The sanctuary is home to more than 100 exotic big cats
  • The cats at Big Cat Rescue are here for a variety of reasons, including:
    • Abandoned by owners who wrongly thought they would make good pets
    • Abused by owners in order to force them to perform
    • Retired from performing acts
    • Saved from being slaughtered to make fur coats
    • Rescued as babies after hunters killed their mothers
  • Big Cat Rescue has 16 species of cats, many of whom are threatened, endangered or extinct now in the wild, including:
    • Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Cougars
    • Bobcats, Lynx, Servals, Ocelots, Caracals
  • Big Cat Rescue’s mission is to provide the best possible home for the animals in our care and try to stop the flow of exotic cats needing sanctuary by educating the public about the plight of the animals and supporting stronger laws to protect them.
  • The non-profit organization is:
    • Accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries
    • Certified by Independent Charities of America as a “Best in America Charity”
    • Member of the World Society for Protection of Animals
    • Rated 4 Stars (highest rating) by Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management
  • The sanctuary is situated on 55 acres in the Citrus Park area of north Tampa.

  To visit Big Cat Rescue you must arrive at a pre-scheduled time for a tour, which lasts about 90 minutes.  Taking photos was a bit of a challenge as all of the animals are behind fences like this one. Their enclosures are large and they have a good life here but they are unable to survive in the wild where they really belong because they were in most cases bred to be pets and have never lived in the environment they are supposed to.
  Yes there was a cage in the above photo, somehow by putting the focus point on the cats eyes it was made to disappear-I am not sure exactly why this but I am not complaining!
  In this one I decided to simply try to get both eyes within the same square opening in the fence, worked out pretty good!
  I will wrap up this post with my favorite photo of the day, how I love it when an animal appears to look directly into my camera! I find it hard to stop looking into those eyes an the B&W treatment makes it all the more striking. Big Cat Rescue is located at 12802 Easy Street Tampa near Citrus Park Mall and can be reached at. 813.920.4130.  The cost of the tour goes to hope a great cause and is well worth it!

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