Sounds like a title for some kids movie huh? But this is not at all humorous. The newest Big Cat Safety Act HR 1998 could very well end big cats in captivity. Well not all captivity and not all big cat species. Only AZA zoo’s could breed them and only sanctuaries can have them.
Now to help everyone understand this a bit better I will put this in your everyday lingo that you and I can understand and relate to. and outline the reasons WHY this WILL spell extinction for a lot of big cats.
A little history on the AZA- Founded in 1924 as a non profit (hence a PRIVATE non governing organization),The organization is active in institution accreditation, animal care initiatives, education and conservation programs, collaborative research and political lobbying in order to achieve this goal. It serves as an accrediting body for zoos and aquariums and ensures that accredited facilities meet higher standards of animal care than are required by law. Institutions are evaluated every five years in order to ensure standards are met and to maintain accreditation. The association also facilitates both Species Survival Plans and Population Management Plans, which serve to sustainably manage genetically diverse captive populations of various animal species.
Ok, they can be a GREAT THING. But there are only so many AZA zoo’s. They can only sustain SO MANY SPECIES that are in critical need. And the different zoo’s actually have their own stud books. What this means is that say, Zoo A owns the stud book on the Emperor Penguin, if zoo B wishes to breed their own penguins they must check with Zoo A. Now this is a good thing in one big aspect as it does create a safety system to protect against too close of breedings. BUT on the other hand, IF the AZA states that there are enough penguins and they want another species bred then zoo B cannot breed. Well, then that might be a good thing right? WRONG! Please read this from a science magazine!! Zoo’s MUST make a bitter choice to save some species and let others die! YOU READ THAT RIGHT! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/28/science/zoos-bitter-choice-to-save-some-species-letting-others-die.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
So there you have it folks. They do NOT have the room nor the resources to save them all… yet you have people that are trying to get YOU, John Q Public to believe that your non accredited zoo cannot help. Again, I take you back to the Wolves of Yellowstone and the Florida Panther.. all done through private sectors.
So how is it that we have activist that want this bill to happen? BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT RESEARCHED THE FACTS and unfortunately I do believe after what I have read on some public forums, will even ARGUE with the facts in front of them all because so and so said it was otherwise. Here I give you PROOF and SCIENTIFIC PROOF. I DO NOT pass on personal feelings, although I must admit, I am emotionally involved with this as I am facing the prospect of losing my beloved Asian Leopard. I cannot imagine a world without them. Can you?
Please, sign the letter to your representative and let them know this WILL be the end of ALL big cats.. not just in captivity.. but the world. http://the-cavalry-group.rallycongress.com/10082/stop-hsus-hr-1998/
Please consider a donation, We are a 501(c)3 non profit dedicated to not only the Asian Leopard but ALL animal life
How many times have we all heard the rhetoric of “White Tigers are a product of man, produced only by inbreeding” from well meaning nay sayers to big cats in captivity? For me, if I heard it once I have heard or read it a thousand times. It is even found in the Wikipedia online that these tigers are of “unknown linage and mixed ancestry” This though set me to thinking that the White Tiger, must have been in the wild
Better yet, I love this mis informed posting on a “rescue” wall -” The same gene that causes the white coat causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain, thus all white tigers are cross eyed, even if their eyes look normal. They also often suffer from club feet, cleft palates, spinal deformities and defective organs.” NOW LOOK TO THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH OR BETTER YET, FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE FULL ARTICLE http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523143342.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fplants_animals%2Fendangered_animals+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Plants+%26+Animals+News+–+Endangered+Animals%29
“The white tiger represents part of the natural genetic diversity of the tiger that is worth conserving, but is now seen only in captivity,” says Shu-Jin Luo of China’s Peking University.
Luo, Xiao Xu, Ruiqiang Li, and their colleagues advocate a proper captive management program to maintain a healthy Bengal tiger population including both white and orange tigers. They say it might even be worth considering the reintroduction of white tigers into their wild habitat. (copied from Science Daily)
Now as in any industry there were unscrupulous breeders that bred purely for that elusive color. In doing so sometimes in breeding can occur. But this is the case in ANY animal endeavor. Inbreeding if utilized PROPERLY and not over abundantly can be beneficial to a point. It can bring out all the faults of the animal with a vengeance, but it can also bring out the good traits. A good example of proper inbreeding is the case of the double muscled cattle called Belgian Blue and Piedmontese. But as always if anything is done without proper research, proper knowledge then you can and do have ramifications.
These extreme cases of inbreeding on the white tiger have been the poster children for extremists to tell the world that all white tigers are the product of in breeding. Which is simply not true.
Lesson for the day? RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH and never stop learning!
Please consider a donation today. Mystic Jungle is a unique facility that not educates the public on the plight of these wonderful animals in their natural habitat but their status in captivity. We are a 501(c)3 non profit and all donations are tax deductible
Authors notation: The pictures of the white tigers are not owned by Mystic Jungle nor is the copyright to these images. They are merely utilized as examples taken from the internet of the tiger. Any copyright infringement is strictly unintentional and will be removed at the picture owners request.
The cats are depending on you! Don’t wait for someone else to do it. It is as easy as the click of the button.
I have listened to the defense for this piece of bad legislation. How it is for the protection of the general public . Ok.. fact time. There has been NO cases of a big cat leaving the property where it is housed and going on a rampage killing people. Nor are their figures of big cat/human conflicts even remotely close. In fact they are grossly exaggerated! They state 200 people have been killed or mauled. There has been 20 people in 21 years. You have a greater chance of getting killed by a toaster than a big cat attack.
They fail to mention that it is private facilities that helped to recover the Florida Panther, NOT any of the organizations such as the AZA nor sanctuaries, which I might add do not breed the Florida Panther with the latter not breeding at all.
And finally they state they want to stop people from making money off the big cats. HUH? So, I thought this is America. If someone has a talent, and wants to share that talent and utilize it to educate the world what in the world is wrong with being compensated? WHAT HAS BECOME OF THE UNITED STATES?
PLEASE GO TO THIS LINK AND SIGN THE LETTER! Stop this bad bill NOW!
I could sit here and preach all day as to why this bill they are trying to introduce back into senate is a BAD BILL. Instead I will break it down with you and give you solid, logical and sound evidence and reason as to why this should be killed before it kills the big cats!
The first thing you see on the propaganda of all this is from the IFAW (International Fund For Animal Welfare) with “These cats don’t meow they kill” and “Across the US 10,000 – 20,000 big cats live in backyards and roadside zoo’s. Ummm where is their citations on this. I mean if you are going to quote statistics and be given any credibility, then one must list their sources.. funny how that is not there.. And the grand finale in the poster.. LOL… OVER 200 people have been killed or mauled SO FAR.. LOL.. WOW.
Now let us break THAT figure down. In the US from 1990- 2012 there has been.. drum roll please…. TWENTY ONE (yes, 21!) human fatalities involving big cats! This number is gathered from news reports and animal industry reports. For a more detailed report please see http://www.rexano.org/Statistics/Captive_big_cat_fatality.pdf as this is factual information. What you see on the 911 animal abuse site is over ninety something pages that are SUPPOSED to be made up of big cat attacks, when in fact all one has to do is READ the report and find it is padded with animal sightings, other animal encounters (monkeys, lizards etc) and wild animal attacks IN OTHER COUNTRIES… but I guess people are too busy to check the facts.
This pending bill is fueled by none other than the IFAW, Born Free, HSUS and of course Big Cat Rescue. None of these have taken the time to research the ramifications of what banning big cats in the US will do around the world. We are the reservoir of genetic diversity. We, the private sector are not beholding to an organization that tells us what is worthy of saving.. we research and find out for ourselves.
IF they get this into committee, it can signify the beginning of the end for many of the big cats, especially the Asian Leopard. I for one am so tired of fighting. I want to try to save an animal in a country that is fighting for their own survival and the Leopard is the least of their concern in that fight to survive.. some could care less if all of them were gone tomorrow. Others seek the leopard as a money making venture.. DEAD.. and others.. do care.. then I have to deal with THIS HERE in our own backyard. DAILY.
The Asian Leopard, in India, is being wiped out by poaching at the rate of 4 a week. (Poached as in they intercepted the pelts, claws,teeth etc) and this figure is not inclusive of man/leopard conflicts)
Over a decade ago, in 2001, the Asian Leopard numbered well over 8,000. Now in 2011 (the last census taken) there are less than 1200. India is the second most populated nation in the world and projected to be the most populated by 2025 (US Census Bureau) . The AZA has YET to place this animal on their SSP.
It takes a leopard 18-24 months to reach sexual maturity. The Leopardess will mate and carry a litter of 1-3 cubs for 91-93 days. The resulting litter has a 50% mortality rate from natural predation (snakes, other cats etc).
The surviving cub(s) will remain with the mother for 18-24 during which time the mother will not seek to re breed.
So if it takes almost TWO YEARS for 1.5 leopards to make it to maturity with less than 1200 surviving (no documentation on how many are breeding age females yet) and they are killing them off at the rate of at LEAST 416 a year.. and AZA zoo’s DO NOT BREED THEM, with big cat bans looming.. HOW LONG DO YOU GIVE THE ASIAN LEOPARD?
Here are some key points that the public NEEDS to be made aware of
We got an email from fellow wildlife lover and rehabilitator John Schwake of Bobcat Refuge and Rehabilitation. John wants to place Bob in a permanent home where he will be safe forever. He chose us and we are truly honored. It is no easy task taking on what John does. The general public does not realize that rehabilitators do not get compensated from the states that they reside in and most support it by putting their own money in most of the time and/or donations (and from personal experience unless you pay for BIG advertisement, and who has the money for that?, are few and far between!)
Here is Bob’s story. We do not EVER embellish the truth to make things sound better for donations. This sad story is straight from the owner of the facility. Mystic Jungle prides themselves on being open, honest and maintaining a safe and happy environment for it’s residents. Upon arrival here Bob’s care will continue throughout his life as he needs life time medication. Please read:
Bobby CANNOT be released. But Bobby is ALL bob cat and will need to have medication for the rest of his life. From the owner of the facility:
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-
We are currently asking for donations for his travel expenses. This will cover his fuel and any unexpected problems (flat tire etc). All the rehabber is needing is $500.00 to bring Bob from Arkansas to Florida.
Will you PLEASE consider a donation today? No donation is too small… even 5.00 helps! !
I have been involved with all species of animals at one point in my life or another. I am pretty much used to seeing the atrocities of mankind inflicted upon those that cannot speak for themselves. I really thought up until two years ago, that I had heard and seen it all. That was, until I saw a video that changed my life forever. This video made me cry, made me outraged, made me physically ill and made me want to either GO TO INDIA MYSELF or DO SOMETHING HERE TO SAVE THE ASIAN LEOPARD.
This video prompted me to face all adversaries against private ownership. Banning private ownership is a death sentence for the Asian Leopard. It is only the private facilities that are stepping up to the plate and BREEDING these magnificent creatures in captivity. Does it contribute to conservation? ABSOLUTELY!!
The gene pool is small here, but it is also small in the wilds of India (or whatever wild is left!) and I was actually posing a theory. You often hear the argument that the captive breeding programs by non AZA member zoo’s (in other words all private facilities) are not any good because their genes cannot be traced back to the wild. Well, they all came from the wild, but yes, they are at least FIFTEEN GENERATIONS REMOVED from the wild. Then you hear the argument that captive cats could introduce illness, defects, etc back to the wild. OK.. well, they did it here in the US with the wolf at Yellowstone and the Florida panther in Florida. They brought in sub species that were totally different and allowed them to breed with the wild population. And yes, they did have a captive breeding program with the Florida Panther that was released. For a few generations to boot. Would it NOT BE FEASIBLE for a captive bred Asian Leopard be released into a conservation area to breed with the wild population? But if you have no captive breeding facilities such as Mystic Jungle, then what distantly removed gene pool can the cats of India draw upon? Are you following me now?
So, in closing, think about the laws people are trying to push through. Are they really in it for the animals? Do they understand the ramifications, such as total extinction that this would mean for cats such as the Asian Leopard? Or are they on a band wagon and searching for a purpose? A lot of people do mean well, but because they have been spoon fed a lot of lies, and they themselves have never bothered to seek the real truth, have placed the beautiful cats in a spiraling downward fast track to extinction!
Watch the video. I have heard people state that they cannot bear to watch it. Well, if it is HORRIFYING for you to just WATCH, think of the agony this poor leopard went through. Her death will NOT BE IN VAIN!! This started me on my path and until the day I die I will be an advocate of this wonderful, elusive, cunning and majestic creature!
Social media has became the main way for a lot of people to gain information. Be it right, wrong or indifferent. You will also get those “arm chair quarterbacks” that have never taken a course in big cat husbandry, genetics or handling, nor have they spent any time in the world of the animals that they love to cite themselves on as experts. If their comments were not so hurtful to the animals, they would be laughable.
The most recent postings were the so called experts speaking of a white lion and how they would never survive in the wild, leaving the readers to believe that this is only found in captivity. WRONG AGAIN. There is a pride, native to Timbavati, that are critically endangered, but no they are not man made. In fact there was once upon a time, white tigers that roamed the wilds.. until man eliminated them from their native lands. These very same people cite the rhetoric that captive breeding programs by non AZA facilities is not conservation, without doing one bit of research. Yes, the gene pool is small but all big cats have a small gene pool due to teetering on the brink of extinction for so long. Also a lot of endangered species, such as the Asian Leopard are not listed on the AZA created SSP (remember the AZA is the Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums and not a governing body and they created the SSP which is known as the Species Survival Program) and they only have on there what they have availability to breed in their member zoo’s. So if we listened to the un informed general public that has no idea what is truly happening there would be a lot more species disappear from the face of the earth. In fact the Eastern Cougar is now declared extinct right here in the US.
And again I will address the fact that they argue that most cats here in the US are not pure and their roots cannot be traced back to the wild. That is absurd because they ALL originated from the wild and not being able to trace their roots simply means (and they are citing this without understanding the reason behind it) that they are no listed in an AZA stud book. As far as the lines not being pure they mean that species such as a Bengal Tiger has been bred with a Siberian, etc…which are different sub species. Well, again I will address the fact that here in the US our own government did in fact breed two different sub species in order to save a species. They did it with the Florida Panther and the Grey Wolf of Yellowstone. But none of your anti captive exotic advocates have bothered to research these facts.
I post only facts and can back every word I write with documentation. My hope is that one day the world will sit up and listen before it is too late and if just one person that is touting about how they think they know so much about genetics of these cats reads this and learns and does their own investigation, instead of taking everything they read on the internet as gospel… my job is complete!
It is a given fact that the majority of people spend a lot of time on the internet. It is a sign of the times and at times a wonderful innovative way to research things such as political issues, the latest news, research for an assignment, or even shop. The problem is though that people are under the impression that if it is on the internet, then by golly “It must be true!” Reminds me of that Allstate commercial!
When the Zanesville tragedy happened the general population and politicians went nuts! They cried out for justice for the animals. And rightly so as the animals were the true victims. There were fifty six animals shot dead. I will not go into whether I feel it was justified or not as everyone probably knows, I am for the animals. I personally know a lot of details that was not released to the general public, and for a true account one might want to read the book “Eighteen Days to the Massacre” by Teresa Headly. There is a lot of misinformation out there.
The one thing on that ordeal that puzzled me was why was the three leopards (one of which the zoo accidentally killed), two rare Macque monkeys and the bear not released? The leopards are by far the most dangerous if frightened and the most valuable, the Macque’s were rare and valuable and I have no idea why not the bear.
A lot of sanctuaries and animal rights organizations are pushing for an all out ban on the “private ownership” of all big cats. Organizations such a Born Free, HSUS, PETA, Big Cat Rescue, Shambala Preserve just to mention a few. The sanctuaries are mostly private owners that went to becoming a rescue/sanctuary. But one must be wary and research ALL of these people and organizations and then one will find the ultimate agenda. The end of all exotics, especially big cats in the United States. One would ask themselves why? Well in this authors opinion, it all boils down to one thing. MONEY.
Face it. People often romanticize a big cat and yes it is too easy to endear oneself with these magnificent animals! I know that I was totally AGAINST ANY Leopards coming here.. until that little black ball of hissing fur arrived, that today is known as Fury. She is what prompted me to stay abreast of the law, to fight for her wild relatives in another country and to stand fast for my right to do so.
The facts on the ramifications of big cat ban laws:
1. We ALREADY have laws in several states that regulate native and exotic wildlife. Here in Florida, you cannot be a “pet owner” but must now be either an educational facility, circus, zoo or sanctuary. You must have acreage such as five acres with a barrier width between you and your closest neighbor. Things such as lock downs, lock outs, perimeter fencing (our place is looks like fort knox LOL) , must be insured and BONDED. So although these are tight regulations.. they are doable and not without merit. I believe in my right to own these animals but I also believe in the safety of both the public and the animals. This latter part I will address later in this blog.
2. Ban laws would stop any breeding of big cats. Well right there would be the end of hope for my passion. The Asian Leopard. We do NOT sell our cats. We breed and they remain here as part of a gene pool ready and willing to help in any way we can. Currently we have five Asian Leopards but only four are of reproductive value. The general population of big cat owners hold a vast diverse gene pool of many rare and endangered species
3. Ban laws will NOT reduce any of the reported illegal exotic pet trade. In fact it is a proven fact that once you make something illegal, you create a criminal element. These criminals will go underground and there will be no accounting on them. This jeopardizes both the general public and the animals.
4. Ban Laws will eradicate places like mine. The laws they are trying to pass only exclude either the AZA (Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums) which has NO legal powers to punish but is an accreditation organization. They set the guidelines on what they can display and judge on the looks and scheme of the zoo, and the GFAS ( Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries which is also an accreditation organization with no powers to punish but merely take away the accreditation) neither of which I would EVER join on principle alone. For starters I don’t believe the government should force you to join and pay an exorbitant amount of money to a private entity that you may or may not agree with, and secondly I am the Vice President of the USZA (United Zoological Association) which I will have accredit me. And NO they do NOT cut any members any slack. WE POLICE OUR OWN AND WITHIN!
5. Ban laws will create a lot of financial crisis. Think about this. You have the toy makers for these animals, the food (yes there are commercial diets) the vets that specialize in the big cats will lose a good amount of income, the paid staff, the medical supply industry and the list goes on. This may sound trivial but in reality it will add up.
6. Ban laws will make criminals out of law abiding citizens and cost the tax payers more money. Instead of passing ban laws, how about ENFORCING THE REGULATIONS already in place? Instead of eradicating rare and endangered species, and peoples RIGHT to have them responsibly, help by RESEARCHING the facts.
I am a member of one of the best organizations that I know. The USZA is still in it’s birth years, but has done MORE by far in my opinion than a lot of other accrediting organizations!! They have pitched in and instead of attacking a facility they have reached out to the owners of a facility that asked for help, and HELPED THEM. They have rescued numerous animals that have been displaced by these ban laws that are sweeping the states because of ill informed representatives that listened to parties that have an agenda. I knew Florida was in trouble when Senator Bill Nelson stated (and I quote) “That a large female python (I forgot but he did give the length) that on autopsy (in medical animal language it is called a necropsy) had eggs that were ready to hatch”. Umm.. they have to LAY the clutch, set them and THEN they hatch. But this is truly not his fault. He has been listening to the likes of HSUS and others of that nature and is sorely mis informed. Problem is that I don’t think he is willing to listen to the other side. With the python issue, few people realize that the snakes in the everglades were NOT all released by private owners. It was not publicized a lot but there was facilities down in South Florida that bred these snakes and they were obliterated by Hurricane Andrew. No the Pythons do NOT belong in the glades, but this omission of a few facts added to the agenda of yet another exotic not allowed to be owned by private owners nor sold across the state lines which killed a big industry.
In the words of a veterinarian that I not only worked for, but admired, Ronald Burk, DVM , as I was lamenting about a woman that was spending her money on treatment for her rat… ” WHO are YOU to tell HER what she animal she can love?!” To YOU that is just a rat. but to her that is her pet, her love” WHAT A REALITY CHECK FOR ME! And the start of really being open minded to the fact that we are not all made from the same cookie cutter and I needed to respect that.
Did you know that in 2012, there were SEVENTEEN sky diving FATALITIES in the United States alone. Did you hear of these? My guess is probably not and yet you do NOT see anyone beating the drum to stop sky diving. How many big cat fatalities happened last year? ZERO.
The only time there is injury to a person with a big cat is when that person has knowingly put themselves into contact with the animal. In other words, people such as us, keepers, or people that wanted to get up close and personal. The only incident where a big cat has escaped and killed anyone was the incident where the people were taunting the tigress for HOURS and she scaled the wall and hunted them down. This was a revenge kill and at an AZA accredited zoo. A great place for the statistics is here: http://www.rexano.org/Statistics/Captive_big_cat_fatality.pdf
Which brings me to my final point. Having an accreditation does not make that facility any different than a private owner or organization. A cage is a cage.. call it an enclosure for political correctness, but a cage is a cage. These cats are now being displaced at an alarming rate from homes that they have been at all their lives. And trust me when I say, that stress is the number one killer of exotics. You cannot rip an animal away from the only person that it has bonded to (and they do bond and bond HARD to their person!) and throw it into a situation where many times is “no touch” when the animal is used to a soft hand and a kind voice…
If you love big cats… oppose ALL big cat ban laws, both state and federal! THE CATS NEED YOU!!
” What man does not understand he fears. What he fears he destroys”
I have done a lot of research. You have a lot of misinformation out there that is actually garnering animosity towards anyone that is working and striving for that ultimate goal of replenishing the native lands of these big cats with some of the gene pool from here in the United States.
I will address each issue individually.
“Captive breeding in private facilities is not true conservation” – I have heard this time and time again. While I will agree that there are some facilities that are out there that SAY they are doing it in the name of conservation, all they are doing is breeding a cat to a cat with no regard to the known parentage of those cats and taking care to lower the risk of inbreeding. There is always a few bad apples in EVERY industry, cause, or concern. One should NOT lump all facilities in one barrel. Here at the Jungle we KNOW where our leopards came from, what the parentage is and have successful matings with dynamic looking cats resulting. HEALTHY, genetic flaw FREE. These cats carry with them the genes of healthy Asian Leopards that WHEN (not if!) the Asian Leopard becomes extinct, we will STILL have this magnificent animal on this planet.
“Breeding of big cats in facilities in other than AZA zoo’s will result in inbreeding and is not true conservation.” I do believe I just addressed that one..
“You can not trace their linage to the wild” – WHAT A JOKE!!! THEY ALL CAME FROM THE WILD IN THE BEGINNING!!
“The big cats here are not pure sub species” – What they are stating is that most are mixed like a Siberian with a Bengal, a Sumatran etc. What they FAIL to tell you is the fact that our OWN government that stands behind these ludicrous statements have done the EXACT SAME THING in order to save a species!! You heard that right folks! The wolf native to Yellowstone was the Canis Lupus irremotus. They brought in the subspecies of wolf known as the Canis Lupus Lycaon, Then you have the Florida Panther project. The Florida Panther is a sub species known as Puma Concolor Coryi and was facing extinction. So the state of Florida approved a project of bringing in a male cougar from out in the other side of the nation. This most likely was the Puma Concolor Couguar. Now how is it ok for the to mix subspecies in the name of conservation, but not OK for private facilities? Understand private breeding facilities all have the same goal. The ONLY difference is that WE ARE WAGING A WAR across the GLOBE on our species of choice and it is hard to fight the politics, culture and poaching from here to there. WE try to do what we can though for the preservation of the species.
I LOVE this one! “They belong in the wild” – This is usually the battle cry of people that only know what they have followed on a twitter account, an email or a webpage. They have taken NO TIME to research the facts for themselves and often that same battle cry is followed by them berating someone that they should “release them” Ok.. captive breeding programs final goal IS THE RELEASE of these jewels of valuable DNA to THEIR NATIVE LANDS, but there are several factors that will not allow that right now. One of them being that there IS NO WILD LEFT that the animal can claim as it’s own safely and the other is that the big cats of today are from over FIFTEEN generations of captive breds! People that sound that battle cry are very uninformed and under the belief that your private facilities are taking them from the wild. Private facilities have NOT taken them from the wild since the induction of CITES in July of 1975. This restricts the importation/exportation of rare and endangered species! When you hear the statement that there are more tigers in the US than in the wild, yes, feel sad… but then rejoice that we have the genetic diversity to replenish what is left of the wild should man ever come to an agreement that this planet can be shared.
“The gene pool here in the US is too close” – Well that part may be on the true side. BUT all big cats are suffering a genetic bottle neck because of teetering so long on the brink of extinction. When the numbers are decreased in the wild do you think they walk up to each other and go “Oh, I can’t mate with you because you are my sister?” I think not. And even so, the Leopard suffered a genetic bottle neck thousands of years ago. The cause was unknown but they did come back and flourish. The Cheetah, that currently is under MAJOR conservation efforts has a SEVERE genetic bottle neck. One so bad that a lot of the males sperm is deformed thus low conception rates. Does this mean we should just throw our hands up and give up? HECK NO!! We keep trying!! One must never give up!
“Only AZA facilities should have and breed these big cats” – Did you know that the AZA is merely an accreditation organization? Although they do keep GREAT records on the animals they have bred, they also do not have all that many zoo’s that are accredited thus will not have enough of these species to re populate the wild. Remember these member zoo’s of the AZA can only breed and display what the AZA says and they allow only so many breedings of a species to be divided among their member zoo COLLECTIVELY. They are also the ones that created the SSP (Species Survival Program) that by their own admission, they have to decide from time to time what is worth saving more on a species. Meaning.. “Should we promote the breeding of the Snow Leopard or the Bengal Tiger?” The Bengal Tiger lost and they have stopped breeding the Bengal. WHY should this choice have to be made? BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE SPACE, the POWER OF NUMBERS to accomplish this alone. They also can NOT enforce any laws. So when you see ban laws on these big cats that state must be a member of the AZA or GFAS (AZA is a zoo accreditation and the GFAS is a sanctuary accreditation NOT GOVERNING BODIES WITH THE POWER TO PUNISH other than by taking away the accreditation!)
In the end, the SSP is NOT the final answer on this years old debate.. WE are. WE THE PEOPLE, A NATION, can save these cats.. simply by learning the TRUTH!
“What man does not understand, he fears. What he fears , he destroys”
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
13429 US Hwy 129
Live Oak, FL 32060