Thursday, September 4, 2014

Big Cats & Captivity

Hello everyone!

I haven’t written a blog in ages.  Life has been very busy.  Life as a full time wife with a full time job, in addition to a part time job and volunteer work for a nonprofit leaves me little time for writing.  

My newest obsession on Instagram has me thinking a lot, so I thought I had better write a blog to get my thoughts out to the world.  I hope to have some healthy dialog from it also.  

The Instagram account is The Black Jaguar-White Tiger Foundation: http://instagram.com/blackjaguarwhitetiger.  This man is doing a glorious job of rescuing and properly raising big cats.  The dozen or so he has rescued have been from breeders (aka “puppy mills”) and he has rescued a few recently from the circus.  People new to the page have a hard time catching up to all of the action at his sanctuary, as he has over 2,936 posts, each with a bit of information about his philosophies and daily activities with the cats.

A photo of the beautiful "Dharma"
a male African leopard, 11 months
Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation Facebook Page

Eduardo is truly an inspirational man.  He understands the respect that needs to be given with these wild animals and has a delicate yet dominant way with them.  He is working on expanding his land, building safe habitats for the cats, and is dedicated to helping thousands more that are still in captivity or abusive situations.  

I absolutely love how he writes and educates on each post, promoting #boycottthecircus, #behuman, #savehabitat, etc.  This is what I want to speak about and I hope other will chime into the conversation. 

There are many, many followers of the Instagram account who say "I want one," etc.  I admit, I am a bit envious that Eduardo gets to play with all of these adorable baby wild cats – he has my dream job, and that of many other animal lovers.  What I hope is that people will start to realize that to truly love an animal is to respect the animal, and that is to eradicate the exploitation that comes along with it.  The reason these cats need rescuing is because of the multimillion dollar breeding industry (you can read more about the industry here: http://bigcatrescue.org/breeding-and-selling/).

The “I want one” mentality is what makes people breed, neglect, and use the wild animals to make money off us.  Only once we realize we need to respect them from afar, can we squash that atrocious, abusive industry.
Exploited animals are found in many places: the circus, SeaWorld, swimming with dolphins, Las Vegas entertainment shows, roadside zoos, private homes, and even in shopping malls and gas station parking lots (remember Tony? https://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger).  As the Wild Animal Sanctuary (Colorado) page explains, “Like so many other social dilemmas, little was known about this hidden problem until recently when innocent people began to get hurt, and abused animals began to escape or die.”

So what’s the solution?  Yes, sanctuaries are a God-send for these abused animals, but the solution lies in addressing the source of the problem.  Thankfully, laws are starting to take form to help protect big cats and other wild animals.  For example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law through last month that prohibits direct contact between members of the public and big cats at traveling animal shows and fairs.  This is a start.

If you really want to show your love for these animals, here you can help:
  1.  Changing your mentality about wild animals
    • This means: don’t buy tickets to the circus or Sea World, don’t swim with the dolphins on your vacation in Hawaii, etc.  Teach your children this and explain why.  And for goodness sake, please resist the urge  for a “Tiger selfie.”
    •  Please top saying “I want one.”  Realize that once these animals are full grown adults, they do not make good “pets.”  The Big Cat Sanctuary in Tampa, FL receives requests all the time asking them to take their “pet” cat, as they explain:
      •  These unwitting owners have discovered that all exotic cats, both male and female, neutered or not, spray and bite when they reach sexual maturity.  (They don’t just spray a little either.  We are talking about buckets of the foulest smelling urine, all over your house, your things and you. If you don’t believe me, watch this clip of a neutered lion HERE).  Moving them out to the yard means your neighbors will soon be complaining that your place smells like a zoo.   By the time they find us they have discovered that the zoos do not want their animals, that no one is willing to buy them and that they can’t even give them away.  Refuges are usually full to capacity and cannot take in another hungry mouth to feed.  All too often, these “pets” are turned out to fend for themselves, where they surely die of starvation or are euthanized.
    • If we reduce the demand, the breeding and entertainment industry will reduce the supply – simple economics
  2. Education
    •  Read, research – the internet is full of amazing information
    •  Lead by example and be an influence on others
    •  Proper Captive Wildlife Management
  3. Sign Petitions

Once again, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. And to the BlackJaguarWhiteTiger Foundation - keep up the great work!  Looking forward to following you on your journey and that of each of your special cats.

References & Additional Reading
Big Cat Rescue Corp. (2012). Breeding and Selling. Retrieved from http://bigcatrescue.org/breeding-and-selling/
Klepper, D. (2014, Aug 12). NY law protects big cats, bans 'tiger selfies'. Retrieved from

The Wildcat Sanctuary. (2011). Captive Wildlife Laws. Retrieved from

Wild Animal Sanctuary.org. (2014). Captive Wildlife Crisis. Retrieved from  http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/sanctuary/captivewildlifecrisis.html

World Wildlife Foundation. (2014). More Tigers in American Backyards than in the Wild. Retrieved from