Not only is the private sector of exotic animal owners coming under attack with such bills as HR 1998 (this has been presented before as HR 4122 the prior year) but now organizations such as IFAW, HSUS and Big Cat Rescue have now petitioned the USDA to ban the handling of big cat cubs of ANY age and to not allow the removal of the cubs from the mother until appropriate weaning time (which in a big cat can be upwards of six months if you want to get technical)
Now, as readers of this blog have come to understand, I am here to give you the “inside scoop” and the reality of all situations occurring in this world. To most, because they are not in the world of big cats, exotic pets, it is a foreign and confusing world and if one does not investigate, one can be fooled into thinking they are doing something good.. when in fact, they are destroying what they are so adamantly trying to save or help.
Having experience in this very area I am going to give you the VERY VALID reasons WHY this is a bad idea and WHY these cubs DO need to be removed from the mother at a young age.
Remember, as stated, that big cats are the result of over 15 generations of captive breeding programs. The private sector (facilities such as ours and private owners) have not gained endangered species from the wild since the induction of CITES in July of 1975.
The reason I am recapping this, is because I cannot tell you how many times I get into on-line fights because of the trance like, kool-aid drinking chant taught to them by their illustrious leaders, “They belong in the wild” or ” They belong in their native habitat”. That is unfortunately where I have been losing my professional attitude as I seem to be repeating the same rhetoric over and over again, having to defend an issue that to me is black and white, and to others, as foreign as Mars.
Now onto the facts of cub handling by the public
It is human nature to have to touch, see, smell to realize the sometimes dire situation an animal is in. One can read about what is happening in a third world country, and see statistics where a species is facing extinction, but one really begins to get genuinely involved when one gets one on one with that animal. You begin to feel it in your heart and soul. So cubs do play an important part in helping with conservation on a different leg of the spectrum as well as it does help fund these facilities that do have the cubs.
Now why is it necessary to take these cubs away from the mom so early? Well as cruel as it seems there are many reasons this is absolutely necessary.
1. For critically endangered species, hand rearing is the safest most viable option to assure the health and well-being of the animal.
2. Big cats in captivity need to be socialized in a way that they are trusting of humans as their “human mothers”. Why you may ask? This will help to increase safety for staff, volunteers, handlers and owners having direct contact with these cats, as well decreasing the levels of stress in captivity when there are frequent visitors. They begin to actually look forward to the human engagement as they find comfort and yes even love, bonding with their human. Big cats bond and bond HARD with their human mothers, trust me!
3. The removal of cubs early also benefits ease of well care. We are able to facilitate basic vet care without the use of tranquilizers. This early hands on actually saved our beloved Rosie’s life. She had a uterine infection and had went septic. To tranquillize her for the trip to the specialty hospital (over an hour ride) would have increased the risk of her dying. We would have had to tranquillize her for the trip, then they would have had to put her under anesthesia, doubling the risk of anesthetic death as her system was already in trouble due to her being septic. We were able to load her with minimal stress to her and transport her where she needed to be to save her life.
We also are able to vaccinate, de-worm and doing general physical exams (check teeth, mouth, gums, feel all over for bumps, lumps, wounds, etc) without tranquilizing as each and every one of our cats have been hand raised (with the exception of Bobby) and accept our handling with no fuss at all. This helps to find and ward off any problems before they become serious. Every time you sedate an animal (or human for that matter) you are taking a chance on that animal NOT waking up from the procedure.
4. Most ALL of the private facilities are in rural settings due to zoning laws. What this brings with it is the presence of native wildlife inclusive of venomous snakes. This is an increased risk to all the residents to a wildlife facility but a cub cannot withstand the bite of a venomous snake, much less a full grown big cat.
Couple this well planned back door banning with Big Cat Rescue’s latest smear campaign of painting all exotic pet owners as Hitler (according to the BCR blog it states that petting tiger, lion and other big cat cubs leads to animal abuse and has a picture of Hitler holding a cub)http://bigcatrescue.org/abuse-issues/issues/pet-cubs/#The_Truth_About_Tiger_Cub_Petting_Displays_in_Malls this ranks right up there with the likes of PETA that tried that same propaganda method by making posters that had slaughtered chickens on one side of the poster and Nazi death camps with pictures of Jewish prisoners on the other ( http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/tags/holocaust+on+your+plate/default.aspx )
Think about this. ANYTIME you ban something you have inadvertently created a black market. Prime examples are first and foremost, prohibition. The Asian leopard is supposedly protected. With the ban laws on molesting these cats, this has actually increased to value of their pelts and other body parts. And of course, it will drive some owners underground jeopardizing the very animals these ban seekers want to see protected.
And last but not least. Conservation has many different legs. There are the ones in the field, the ones in the media, and the ones in your own back yard such as us. The educators. Doing what we can to raise awareness on situations that are in dire need of attention. And captive breeding programs by the private sector can and do work. Remember, it takes a nation to save a species and not just one individual or organization can do it all alone.
Please be sure and leave your comments as to WHY this is a bad idea!
“What man does not understand, he fears. What he fears, he destroys”
I have found that as I aged, I seem to be more aware of the world it what is going on in it, than I did as a younger person. I started paying attention to things that effected the world as a whole, instead of what effected just me. For instance, the same week that Hostess announced it’s closing, we here in the United States, lost one of our own native cats. The Eastern Cougar. Yet, few have heard that fact.
Unfortunately I think this is most likely what is happening to the world population, in this ” me me me ” generation, and one day, maybe soon, we will wake up and what we once took for granted as always being there, could be gone.
We face so many crisis in the world today. World famine, disease, war both foreign and domestic. Who has time to think about such things as even bees. But without such things as bees, we would cease to exist. Bee’s pollinate. Bee’s are God’s creature to assure future generations of crops exist. With no food, there will be world wide hunger.
There are thirty six species of wild cats. The felidae, is the most widespread and diverse species in the world. Everything from your domesticated house cat, up to the majestic lion. But the big cats are the rarity, not the rule.
Without these cats, the world would not be the same in more ways than one. Each individual sub species, acts in a way to impact their natural environment in a positive way. For instance, the Lion culls the herds of wildebeast, impala, etc. They take out the sick, the genetically weaker of these in the herd, in order to assist the herd in keeping a strong, vibrant gene pool. Only the stronger, healthier, and yes, smarter survive to pass their genes on to the next generation. Without the majestic lion these herds would breed themselves out of existence. Disease, starvation from overgrazing on lands that cannot hold the sheer masses. As cruel as it seems the circle of life has it’s place and is needed.
The cats in the world are one of our biggest protectors to our ecological system. Yet, we continually choose to turn a blind eye to what is happening to them. From my own personal assessment, people, when they DO realize what is going on, go one of two ways. They either go to the uninformed, romanticized, removed from reality, view, such as “They all belong in the wild”, or the active, “I am going to make a difference” route.
Unfortunately the romanticized process of thinking is not only the most popular one, it is also very hard to reason with, as it is fought strong and hard based on emotion not fact. The rain forest was facing loss to deforestation of about 10,000 square miles in 2002, due to plantations, pasture land and logging. In 2012, a mere 6, 418. Which shows that we are starting to pay attention, but is it too late? Or are we running out of land to rape? When well meaning people state “They belong in the wild” they are so far removed from reality of what “wild” is left, that they often times will chant this even in the face of stone cold facts being presented to them. In a perfect world, YES they belong in the wild. AND YES they still DO. But at what cost?
Man is greedy, as well as vindictive and sometimes downright sadistic. There are those out there that will do anything for their “god”. Money. Even if it means totally annihilating an entire species of animal off of the planet. And what is sad, is the fact that a lot of times these same, greedy individuals know full well their impact on the environment as well as the species, and could care less.
Then you have retribution killings. Killings of these animals, especially the cats such as leopards, because they have killed livestock, a pet, or worse a human. Reality is that people have to live. And to be honest, I am not sure how I would react if a leopard crept into my home and snatched my child from his/her bed to eat. But one has to merely look into the “whys” of this scenario. Why is this happening and on the rise?
One cannot intrude upon nature and not expect ramifications. Ever encroachment into the Asian/Indian Leopard’s habitat by building of communities, fields for crops, dams for electricity has drastically changed the dynamics of nature. Cause and effect comes into play.
India is the SECOND most populated nation in the world, estimated to be THE LARGEST by 2025 (US Census Bureau). In 2001 there were over 8,000 leopards in India. In 2011 less than 1200. They are being poached (killed for body parts) at the rate of FOUR A WEEK (that is what they know of by capture of poachers with pelts, paws, skulls, teeth etc) or 208 a YEAR.
To give you some insight as to what it takes to get a leopard to maturity, let’s look at the life cycle of the leopard.
It takes a leopard 18-24 months to reach sexual maturity. At that time a leopardess will seek to breed and mate.
She will carry 91-93 days to deliver a litter of 1-3 cubs (they do not generally have large litters unlike lions or tigers) .
Of those 1-3 cubs, only 50% make it to six months old, due to natural predation (snakes, other big cats such as male leopards, tigers and now HUMANS)
So statistically 1.5 cubs make it beyond six months and will remain with the mother until THEY are 18-24 months of age.
During the time the cub(s) are with the mother, she will NOT seek to re-breed (she will not risk bringing a male around her cubs) until THEY are 18-24 months of age and out on their own.
So it take almost 2 years to get ONE leopard to adulthood, and they are killing 416 during that time. So how long do you give the Asian Leopard on this earth? As we speak they may be leaving there last footprints on this earth.
Did you know that AZA (Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums) Zoo’s do NOT breed them, nor are they yet on their SSP (Species Survival Program) . Only private facilities such as Mystic Jungle do.
We know that our cat’s like Keeper, Sher khan and Fury will never be released in their native lands. But the goal is to PRESERVE that precious DNA for future generations so that their descendants can be! We strive daily to enlighten the general public as to the plight of this beautiful animal and why banning private ownership (and yes, in the eyes of the government we are private owners) will be the end of the Asian Leopard.
Until mankind understands and accepts responsibility by stepping up to the plate we will continue to lose entire species to extinction. And remember.. extinction is FOREVER!
“What man does not understand, he fears. What he fears he destroys”
We are currently in the lead to win 1,300.00 in the Suntrust Bank Contest! We need all Mystic Jungle fans to jump in and vote once every 24 hours to maintain that lead! Please vote once every 24 hours. It is only through your help that we can do this!!
Spike is our resident Siberian that now weighs over 700#. He came to us as a rehome after retiring from being a photo cub ambassador. He is friendly, out going and wants to play play play! We need to make an area for him that he can RUN RUN RUN and JUMP JUMP JUMP!! With this improvement, this will also help a LOT of the other residents as they will all be shifted into bigger habitats!! Please help us help them!
It just takes a moment of your time. You have to like the page first, then vote away once every 24 hours. The competitor has been hot on our heels ever since they have entered!!! We MUST maintain that lead in order to win. If we let up we could be over taken in less than three days. https://offerpop.com/FacebookContestEntry.psp?c=402885&u=2228&a=448952861833126&p=126659927376571&rest=0&offset=9&sortby=recently_added&access_token=null&id=1687931&rest2=0#
I am putting out a call to ALL animal lovers. No matter your stance on the private exotic cat ownership (pro or anti), please put this aside. Now is the time to UNITE in FORCE to help these cats. In-Sync Exotic Wildlife has been hit and hit hard!!
The first outbreak of Canine Distemper (CDV) broke out in Serengeti in 1994. This wiped out entire prides of lions. Since then it has been on the uprise causing neurological disorders, encephalitis, grand mal seizures, pneumonia.. and death. Currently, there is NO KNOWN vaccine specifically designed for the big cats. This form of Canine Distemper effects, Lions, Tigers and Leopards.. all of the Panthera family. It can be carried by raccoon’s, foxes, and domesticated dogs, and transmitted by feces, urine and contact. The incubation period is 3-7 days.
This is NOT a case of facility owner neglecting to vaccinate. They were told, as was I, that the vaccine is not yet proven to be effective, and that the risks outweighed the benefits. Now I have to ponder.. in my mind, I guess I am just going to have to take that risk, then have to endure what this facility is having to o through! The have already lost two of their residents. A tiger and a lion. Two cats in their prime. Two animals that LOVED LIFE.
Now I am asking everyone that reads this.. to consider a donation. Anything will help. Their vet bills are out of this world and they have 20 cats now left to treat! Ask yourself.. how would you feel if this was your cat, dog, horse, whatever.. why should one distinguish the love felt for an animal simply because of the species.. love knows no barriers, love is not species specific. And then go out and give thanks that your babies are healthy and there to give that soulful look into your eyes.
Please go to https://www.facebook.com/insyncexotics?fref=ts and ask where you need to go to make a donation or even help them out by bringing meats that the cats do not normally eat but would be a treat.. We all need to band together in this time of trouble.. this could be your beloved baby next.
This picture is copy righted by Lindsey Page and even though it has our logo it is NOT our property but is a picture of Spike our cat.
Oh, I could say “Dispelling the mis-truths, but that in itself would be a lie. Let’s call it what it is. A LIE.
I am amazed, and at this point in time, should not be, at the total genius of this person. I mean, the innate ability to tug at the heart strings, that of course are connected to the pocket book.
I will address the FIRST mis-truth (aka lie) here. This is regarding a 24 year old tiger, that she describes through her tears as hoping he will live long enough to see it through – “Since Circus cats are fully clawed, they have had to be kept in roofed cages here to prevent escape, which limits the amount of open space they have been able to enjoy” . All righty then. Let us begin with BIOLOGY 101. Any big cat expert, such as what this person claims to be, knows that tigers and lions all have wrists that do not lock. What this means is that unlike the Leopard that has locking wrists, they are not very adept at climbing. I am not saying they can’t, but due to their sheer body mass, and the lack of ability to lock their wrists to stabilize their weight, it is VERY difficult for them, claws or no claws. That my dears is why big cats such as the tiger or lion only need a 12′ fence with a foot kicker (a panel of wire, barb wire, that slants INTO the enclosure on top of the 12′ fencing) but you have to have a FULL enclosure with a leopard.
And for this little fully enclosed enclosure she merely needs 200, 000!! WOW for that kind of money I know MANY people, including myself that would have an entire wild life reserve! But of course the cost of BUYING a lift truck and not renting one is of utmost importance. And of that 200,000 she has only raised 76,311. Do I sound a bit snippy? Yes I am because she preys on people that either not been exposed to the truth or have been exposed and choose to ignore it because it is more popular to look like you are doing good. What ever happened to not only looking like you are doing good and actually doing good?
Now let us move on to the latest barrage of propaganda.. I fight this daily. You have a picture of a leopard (seems AWFUL funny that NOW all the anti private owner posters were in tigers and lions, but now since I have been throwing the Asian Leopard in there that is strictly FACTS, the picture has now changed to a LEOPARD.. LOL) telling you that “Some people would think he would make a good pet” “REALLY” STOP THE MADNESS!! and the letters are on a black poster in red ink.. talk about PROPAGANDA!! WOW..
Once again, I will explain our position here at the Jungle. First and foremost, we are a PRIVATE OWNER in the governments eyes. We are not AZA ZOO nor are we a GFAS sanctuary.
I will explain each one of these organizations one at a time.
AZA is an accrediting organization that sets guidelines that all of their member zoo’s must adhere to. They set guidelines of what species they may have on display, and what they may or may not breed. Also the AZA mandates the Flora. AZA zoo’s keep their own stud books. Before each species is bred, it must be determined whether they are on the SSP (Species Survival Program) of which the AZA created. This is not a bad thing at all, because it lowers (but does not nor can it possibly) inbreeding to some extent. But by the AZA’s own admission, they do not have enough cage space or even finances to save all the species that need to be saved, therefore they must make critical choices in which species to save. They also cannot display any animal with an imperfection. (Don’t ask, don’t tell where these imperfect species end up) AZA zoo’s because of their high traffic also have the HIGHEST rate of accidents involving the public vs the private owners.
Private facilities such as us, do NOT have to make that critical choice of who to save. We can choose to save whatever species we see that needs the help the most. And by India’s OWN ADMISSION (read the last two paragraphs of this article and it echos what I have been saying for TWO YEARS) the Asian/Indian leopard is bypassing any other wild cat on the road to extinction http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-02/noida/40327860_1_leopards-human-habitats-uttrakhand . So with this in mind, why would ANYONE want to ban private owners that have less cases of incidents and more money to help these animals? One word.. MONEY. For the TRUTH on big cats watch this excellent video. Here is part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLroyZzojvg and part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfBg_fggFFc An In(Cat) venient Truth. While this was made up about 4 years ago and we have had actually one more fatality at a facility that had a spotless record (the father of the volunteer was an attorney and a VERY intelligent man. He stated his daughter died doing what she loved) and it was a mistake on the volunteers part by leaving a lock out door open. The lion was not even on the attack, he merely came up from behind and when he jumped up on her he snapped her neck. Tragic is not the word.., the exotic cat industry still has the LOWEST RATE of incidents even in the bigger zoo’s than ANY OTHER risk profession. And remember this fact. Each and every one of these people placed themselves into the direct area of the cat. NO CAT has EVER broke free and went on a rampage killing people throughout a neighborhood. Not even the tigress that attacked and killed the young men at an AZA zoo! She NEVER left the property! She bypassed MANY people and what would have been prey on some of the animals, and kept focused on the boys that allegedly had been taunting her for a good part of the day.
Now let us talk sanctuary’s. There are a few good ones out there and I had the pleasure of meeting them at the FCF convention. They understood conservation. They had only the cat’s best interest in mind and NONE OF THEM EVER blast all over their web pages made up sob stories of cats being kept in garages, dog kennels etc. NONE OF THEM. They get it. But then you have a few, that are members of the GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) that will do ANYTHING to get those donations. Including making up stories on the animals that they have received. And if you check into the back ground of most of these sanctuary owners you will find a past checkered in failed breeding programs or a history of safety violations. They excuse for why they are now “sanctuaries”? Why, they have seen the light and changed their ways of course! Or is it that they have seen the route to make a boat load of money? People will pony up the money a lot of times when a sad sad story is attached. It is human nature. But to prey on this virtue in people is wrong on so many levels I cannot even begin to describe it. And let us not forget the latest incident of a keeper at a sanctuary was attacked by a tiger. Of course somehow someway, this was private owners fault. Huh? A private owner told her to not lock a gate? Oh.. I get it.. the cat would not have been there in the first place.. ahh I see.. maybe.. or maybe not.. remember there are AZA Zoo’s and what do they do with their imperfect specimens? Hmmm..
Sanctuaries claim to do it for conservation. They claim that by breeding here, we are endangering the ones in the wild and that the ones here do nothing for conservation.
Not quite sure of the logic on us endangering the ones in the wild, but I can definitely rebuttal the ones on how we are actually helping them here by captive breeding programs.
Private facilities hold a large diverse gene pool, allowing for genetic diversity. Even with the Florida Panther and the Grey Wolf, both have had good recovery through the usage of the private sector and utilizing different subspecies to create the genetic diversity that is lost through teetering on the brink of extinction and suffering genetic bottlenecking. We, as private owners, are an ally to these endangered species and to have to fight day in and day out with maybe well intentioned but ill advised persons is daunting. To me, if you cannot stand behind us, as private owners, then please don’t get in our way. Learn the truth of big cat ownership. It is not a walk in the park. It is not an ego trip (trust me, If I wanted to be on an ego trip I could flip to the other side, make a boat load of money and have people thinking I am a god) it is about the cats and about the cats is what is shall forever be.
Today’s blog was a lesson, but more of a rant. There is only so much you can take, especially when you see propaganda posters with your species of choice that you are trying desperately to save (even going so far right now as to learn Hindi and the customs of India so that I can go over to India) with the shock and awe effect. Then I get a newsletter about a geriatric cat that needs this huge enclosure (not quite clear on if they are planning to enclose the top or are explaining why he was in a full topped enclosure.. it was the lie about the possibility of him climbing out because he has claws – well claws or now claws if you have only a four foot fence any cat will climb out.. LOL) but these both just sent me over the edge, both of these “sanctuaries” are the best of buds and both have very interesting pasts and back grounds..
Remember, call your congressman today and tell him NOT to co sponsor the Big Cat Safety Act HR 1998 . It is NOT about public safety! It is about MONEY!
Going to the FCF convention surely educated me beyond my wildest dreams. The meeting of Jim Sanderson PhD in fact opened up a whole new world that I was totally unaware of. This knowledge set me on the track of where all of this mass destruction originated. Well, imho America! You remember when the law was passed that restaurants could no longer serve foods with trans fats? Sure you do. Here is the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat .This should be a good thing right? Well theoretically yes. Good for humans as it lessens the risk of coronary disease (what ever happened to people making conscious choices for themselves and their health and well being?) but BAD for many many animals. Take a look here http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/suffering-species.php .
To add insult to injury, most ALL of the products that contain Palm Oil, Palm Oil Kernal et al, are CHEAPER to buy in the supermarket! One can find the truth by simply walking through a grocery store, or better yet, Walmart (I found them to be the BIGGEST culprits of environmental destruction- more on that in a later blog). My poor husband picked out his favorite chocolate chip cookies. Pepperidge Farms Dark Chocolate Cheesecake cookies. And sure enough.. right there on the ingredients. PALM OIL. Well no cookies. On to the ice cream. Surely there will not be palm oil in the ice cream right? WRONG! We went to Edy’s and the Strawberry Banana one and found that it did not contain the palm oil. Then on to the “homemade” bakery items… EVERY ITEM I PICKED UP (donuts, cupcakes, cakes et al) ALL HAD PALM OIL in them!! EVEN ITEMS THAT ARE NOT EATEN HAVE PALM OIL such as DIAL ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP! Palm Kernel Acid!!
So my brief but VERY important message today is to ask you to PLEASE PLEASE flip that container around and REALLY LOOK at those ingredients!! By buying them you are contributing to the decimation of entire species such as the orangutan, fishing cat, clouded leopard just to name a FEW!! By not buying you are making a statement that you will NOT contribute to this travesty!! As long as they maintain a profit, these plantations will continue on their killing path ! ****Authors note*** I do NOT own these photographs but am merely sharing them as an educational tool. Even though they are stamped with our insignia, we do NOT hold the copyrights, so any infringement is strictly unintentional**
Going to the FCF (Feline Conservation Federation) convention brought to light a lot of conservation issues. I had the EXTREME pleasure of meeting and speaking to world-renowned field expert and author of ”Small Wildcats” Jim Sanderson PhD. We had an at length conversation, and although we had passions in certain areas, our main concerns and passions were in the wild cat conservation area.
You have probably not heard of an Andean Cat and before the convention, neither had I. This cat is in real trouble. It has NO FEAR of humans, and a few favorite means of capturing and killing them (when captured they are almost ALWAYS killed – I will discuss this in a moment) is to either walk right up to them and drop a rock on them or to throw a coat, blanket et al, over them and kill them. Now why do they do this?
Here is where a lot of cultural belief comes into play. Indigenous people believe the cat to possess supernatural powers and these powers can be harnessed by killing it, decorating it with ribbons and such, and displaying in their homes. These idols are not ever sold but passed down through the family. How do you change an entire populations spiritual beliefs?
Next problem for the cat is that the indigenous people eat the mountain Viscachas, which is a rodent type animal and also a main prey animal for the Andean cat.
Next problem is large-scale mining activity requires scarce water sources and last but not least -
Global warming is causing rapid loss of glaciers whose waters maintain the only feeding areas of mountain viscachas.
This gorgeous, friendly, mysterious cat will be gone before the entire world knows of its existence! So what can we do?
Well, first off is educate yourself. I invite you to read Jim Sanderson’s web page and review his projects. http://www.smallcats.org/AndeanCatMonitoring1.html
Next – Jim needs your old cameras if you are planning on getting a new one. It is tax deductible and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you indeed participated in the study and possible recovery of this mysterious cat! He likes the Spypoint Whiteflash best, and Bushnel and DLC Covert are also good!!
Remember, we must preserve the earth in order for our children to inherit it!! Give them something to treasure forever…….
Authors note - The pictures featured, even though they are stamped with mystic jungle are not the property of Mystic Jungle but used as an educational tool.
I had an AMAZING week after attending the Feline Conservation Federation convention in Nashville TN. A fun-filled week that had heavy concentration on continuing education, I will definitely go to next years. I am now a credentialed Wildlife Educator!
As a private owner (yes, even if you have licenses, insurances, bonds etc, in the eyes of legislation if you are not a sanctuary or AZA zoo, you are a private owner. That is why this big cat ban is HORRIBLE!
One of our experiences was to attend a class on the breeding of clouded leopards as well as I was one of ten people that got to go behind the scenes into the clouded leopard breeding area. What a treat and thrill. But with this new found knowledge came the realization of two main topics.
First, during the discussion and slide show, it was revealed that a keeper DOES indeed take the neonates home with them! This one on one attention at one time was an elite to the private owners as the AZA zoo’s had more of a “no touch” policy. With the no touch policy, often times even in hand raising a neo nate they had limited contact with these captive animals and after a certain age, none at all. This lead to stress in the captive animal, as well as having multiple persons handling them, what did happen is that things would be missed. Even the best keeper can forget to write something down for the next shift. This lead to a higher mortality rate. AT THIS TIME I am ecstatic to report that the mortality rate at the Nashville Zoo, went from nearly a hundred percent on the clouded leopard neonate, to less than seventeen percent with the new full contact policy.
Now understand, with this new full contact policy, there are some down falls. Ones that we have experienced for years. Bonding. Yes, like we have always stated, and this AZA zoo, Nashville Zoo, admitted is that the bond between man and beast is undeniable. They (Nashville Zoo) just had this occur when they lost a main keeper. Seems that a bonded pair of clouded leopards would allow this woman to go in and get the cubs, and do just about ANYTHING with them. But now she is leaving and they have a real problem. They are actively seeking someone else that the cats like. Stress on the exotic can be and is a killer as well as can effect reproduction. Only happy healthy animals can breed in captive situations.
Second. It was astonishing and relieving to see that an AZA facility welcomed the private sector into their facility to share their success story. Before it has always been a war between the private facilities and the AZA zoo’s. But on this visit we were treated with respect and as a colleague . With efforts from the AZA and the private sector, nothing is out of reach but it must be done as a team effort.
This new found alliance can do nothing but HELP the animals. WE need to stop fighting among ourselves as this is not about power, money or glory. It is about doing what is RIGHT for the animals and the BIG CAT SAFETY ACT is NOT IT.
Remember Mystic Jungle Educational Facility is a 501(c)3 organization that keeps their doors open for FREE. We give tours by appointment.
“What man does not understand, he fears. What he fears, he destroys”
Bobby has made it home!! Through the help of fans that believe in what we do, Bobby arrived Saturday, May 25th 2013. The video will be uploaded on You tube and is already on our fan page. A bitter sweet ending for one man and one cat’s alliance and a new beginning for Bobby. A life long journey for Bobby with Mystic Jungle. He will require life long medication.
Here is the history of Bobby as told verbatim by the owner:
Three years ago on a rainy day I met an animal that would change me forever. I couple of teenagers stopped me and said there was a cougar in the ditch hit by a car. I asked them how long it was in the ditch. They answered five days. I got out of the van and walk down to where a very weak and almost dead bobcat laid. One of the teens said he was mean and kicked him with steel toed boots and the bobcat attack his boot. I told them I would handle it from there and to leave it alone. The bobcat was twisted like a pretzel. I could see multiple injuries on his back and pelvic region(Hips) I slowly turned him over only to find more damage to his legs. I could see tendons and muscles. He was full of Maggots and flies. I slowly turned him over again. I looked at his face holding my tears in and his eyes were so crystal clear. I promise him I would do the best for him. I took him home.
Then the nightmare. Phone calls. Local Police response! Do you have a gun or rifle to kill him. Game and Fish response! Leave it where you found it and let nature take it course. Third and final A wildlife Rehabber who I refuse to name response! Surrender it to me so I can euthanize it.
That was enough. I became a rehabber. I would take on any animal no matter what. Wrong answer to kill first. I took Bobby to a vet who is great with wildlife. No surgery due to his health and infections. Putting him in a induced coma probably kill him too.
I gave all his meds while he was alert orally with a straw. I cleaned his wounds daily. and finally got him eating chicken from a stick with a point. After the infections and wounds start closing. Several months later I seen Bobby up and walking around on his own.
Another trip to the vet. His pelvic bone heal on its own a lot of scar tissue. Would have to break the bone again but it might not help due to scar tissue. It was then I found out Bobby needs meds the rest of his life.I made bobby a promise nothing would ever hurt him and I would a forever home where he would be treated like a regular bobcat. At no time was bobby treated as a pet. He has always been a mean bobcat and that is what I want him to be. John Schwake-
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Mystic Jungle Educational Facility Inc. is a non profit 501(c)3 facility. Here we focus on conservation, education of the public on exotic animals.
To educate young and old on the importance of conservation and preservation of all native and exotic species.
Mystic Jungle Educational Facility Inc. is a non profit 501(c)3 facility. Here we focus on conservation, education of the public on exotic animals.
Our Mission is to educate young and old on the importance of conservation and preservation of all native and exotic species.