NEWS AND COMMENT – FLORIDA, USA: This is a cool development in the history of Big Cat Rescue (BCR) in Florida. It is the next logical stage in its history it seems to me. As Carole Baskin so brilliantly and successful campaigned for the Big Cat Safety Act (BCPSA) which prohibits unlicensed people from owning big cats like tigers and jaguars in private zoos in a staged process, BCR’s work is coming to an end.
For many years the cat rescue organisation has been rescuing abused tigers and other wild cats from private zoos. These zoos have closed or will do over the timeframe allowed under the Act. This means that there’ll be less rescuing to do which in turn means that Baskin and her husband have decided to move the cats to an accredited sanctuary in Arkansas, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.
They’ll be cared for there. BCR will close and the sale proceeds used to ‘fund these species-saving projects in the wild’. It looks like she is moving on to the next stage in her career of wildlife conservation. They’ll also continue to support the cats once relocated to their new sanctuary as I understand the arrangement.
With the passage of the BCPSA we expect the need for rescues to decline over the coming decade. If the need were going to continue at the pace we saw up until a few years ago, we would be making a different decision. We have always said that our goal was to ‘put ourselves out of business,’ meaning that there would be no big cats in need of rescue and no need for the sanctuary to exist. Supporting our cats in larger enclosures at Turpentine Creek, at much lower cost per cat than we incur by continuing to operate Big Cat Rescue, will free up resources to let us do much more to save big cats in the wild.
They said in a memo that they have ‘ended most of the abuse of big cats via the BCPSA’. They added that “Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was approached and asked to take in BCR remaining cats [and that] there is no professional affiliation between TCWR’s ownership, operations, or management and BCR”.
Well-done I say to Carole Baskin. She has her detractors but they are men who abuse cats. She’s good and very competent. She’s smart and she genuinely helped big cats for almost 30 years.
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