Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but imagine being the largest accredited sanctuary in the world, dedicated to abused and abandoned big cats that must be fed and cared for every day. That’s the mission of Big Cat Rescue which began as Wildlife On Easy Street and is now home to an incredible variety of cats that have included lions, tigers, bobcats, Canadian lynx and many more. All have names, all have a history and many fans that follow their every move and grieve with the staff when their lives are over at Big Cat.
When the pandemic hit, and then the “Tiger King” documentary aired, that meant the end of public tours and Big Cat for the safety of the staff and visitors. But for Carole Baskin and her husband Howard it meant another chance to educate the public about the true work at Big Cat Rescue, and the dedicated staff and volunteers who make sure each cat has the best life. There will always be someone that questions their work and it’s a daily job to try and educated people who misunderstand.
When Carole was given the chance to be part of “Dancing With The Stars" this season it was a good platform to let the public once again know how hard they’re working to keep more animals from abuse and being abandoned after someone who thought a tiger cub or bobcat kitten was cute and cuddly. And then they grew up. On the Big Cat Rescue site you have the chance to meet the residents, view videos that can be heartbreaking but bring home the message of how roadside zoos and “petting” farms aren’t doing the cats any good. In part one of my interview we talked about DWTS and more.
Carole and I also talked about the impact of the past six months and plans for the future, remembered some of my favorites from past visits who have crossed the rainbow bridge like Joseph, a lion who’s roar could be heard for five miles. Considering Big Cat Rescue is in the heart of Citrus Park that always got the resident’s attention. Despite the fact the sanctuary is closed to the public fund raising is ongoing and is critical. There are a number of ways to support the work of BCR that include the Amazon Smile program, the gift shop as a sponsor and more.
Big Cat Rescue has been a part our lives in Tampa Bay for more than 25 years and I do miss being able to visit. But if you follow their social feeds you have the chance to watch the daily feedings, playtime in Tiger Lake, even checkups and surgeries. It’s a fascinating look inside the world of big cats who found new lives and a second chance.