Monday, July 31, 2006

Beating The Heat - Big Cat Rescue Style

AP Report July 20, 2006:  Britain Endures Record July Heat  "Lions licked blood-flavored ice blocks in the zoo, judges went wigless in court, guards at Buckingham Palace ducked into the shade."
 
What's news in London is a typical day in Tampa at Big Cat Rescue.  With summertime temperatures consistently in the 90's and a humidity level that makes it feel so much more, our lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, lynx, bobcats, servals, caracals, ocelots, and little cats look forward to their regular frozen "sicle" treats.  Besides cooling them down, there's always something yummy inside as a special treat for them.  Our keepers become certified in handing out enrichment items of this type to our cats.  Tossing enrichment items into our big cats' habitats stimulates their hunting instincts.
At Big Cat Rescue, we use small paper cups to freeze treats like chicken pieces or beef pieces or even sardines in flavored water.  It's always fun to watch the big cats lick, lick, lick away at the "sicle" until they get to the treat inside.
 
Today's enrichment with one of our bobcats was more a sporting event than anything else.  With temperatures feeling close to 98 degrees, all the cats were receiving frozen "sicle" treats to help cool them down.  One of our bobcats had other ideas, though.  He took his frozen beef pop and turned it into a World Cup Soccer match.  He ran back and forth batting it as hard as he could so that it flew outside (through the 4x4 wire enclosure) and rolled back in the other side of the enclosure where he would already be waiting to swat it back the other way again.  Back and forth, back and forth, he scored goal after goal after goal. Who knew that a fur farm rescued bobcat could become such a fantastic soccer player?  Senior Keeper Julie Hanan who gave him his treat, just stood there holding her arms up saying "SCOREEEE!!!!"  He had turned enrichment into an athletic event!
 
**Enrichment - In the wild these cats have miles and miles of territory to explore.  They run, smell, taste and chase prey.  In captivity these cats have an enclosure to explore.  They see, smell, and taste the same things every day.  Animals in captivity can become bored and display negative behaviors.  They can pace, over groom or become aggressive.  Here, at Big Cat Rescue we have a very active Enrichment Program.  We enrich our cats daily, helping to alleviate boredom.  Our enrichment helps to stimulate our cats emotionally and physically.
 
Barbara and Julie
 
 


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Big Cat Rescuers unload a semi of cage wire, bring in new housing for the interns, discuss staffing issues and relay a peacock attack in this 15 min. video with music by Stacey Knights. See lots of great footage of the snow leopard, bobcats, black leopards, golden leopards and more.


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To watch a high resolution version click the link below http://media.libsyn.com/media/bigcatrescue/BCR1.wmv

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Big Cat Picture

This is a 60 minute film that reveals the plight of big cats, such as lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats and 18 of the 35 species of exotic and endangered wild cats in the wild and in captivity.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Beating The Heat - Big Cat Rescue Style

AP Report July 20, 2006:  Britain Endures Record July Heat  "Lions licked blood-flavored ice blocks in the zoo, judges went wigless in court, guards at Buckingham Palace ducked into the shade."
 
What's news in London is a typical day in Tampa at Big Cat Rescue.  With summertime temperatures consistently in the 90's and a humidity level that makes it feel so much more, our lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, lynx, bobcats, servals, caracals, ocelots, and little cats look forward to their regular frozen "sicle" treats.  Besides cooling them down, there's always something yummy inside as a special treat for them.  Our keepers become certified in handing out enrichment items of this type to our cats.  Tossing enrichment items into our big cats' habitats stimulates their hunting instincts.
At Big Cat Rescue, we use small paper cups to freeze treats like chicken pieces or beef pieces or even sardines in flavored water.  It's always fun to watch the big cats lick, lick, lick away at the "sicle" until they get to the treat inside.
 
Today's enrichment with one of our bobcats was more a sporting event than anything else.  With temperatures feeling close to 98 degrees, all the cats were receiving frozen "sicle" treats to help cool them down.  One of our bobcats had other ideas, though.  He took his frozen beef pop and turned it into a World Cup Soccer match.  He ran back and forth batting it as hard as he could so that it flew outside (through the 4x4 wire enclosure) and rolled back in the other side of the enclosure where he would already be waiting to swat it back the other way again.  Back and forth, back and forth, he scored goal after goal after goal. Who knew that a fur farm rescued bobcat could become such a fantastic soccer player?  Senior Keeper Julie Hanan who gave him his treat, just stood there holding her arms up saying "SCOREEEE!!!!"  He had turned enrichment into an athletic event!
 
**Enrichment - In the wild these cats have miles and miles of territory to explore.  They run, smell, taste and chase prey.  In captivity these cats have an enclosure to explore.  They see, smell, and taste the same things every day.  Animals in captivity can become bored and display negative behaviors.  They can pace, over groom or become aggressive.  Here, at Big Cat Rescue we have a very active Enrichment Program.  We enrich our cats daily, helping to alleviate boredom.  Our enrichment helps to stimulate our cats emotionally and physically.
 
Barbara and Julie

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Take a 25 minute walk with Lisa Shaw and Susan Mitchell and a few of our other great keepers as they hand out enrichment, in the form of mouse cicles, to the cougars and a few other exotic cats at Big Cat Rescue.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

**Bienvenue � Gros Chat Secours!

Who would have thought that our 3pm tour on Friday July 14 would need a French translator.  We had a group of  9 guests who spoke French.  Always willing to please our guests we called in our very own French Volunteer Keeper Marie. She left her place of business and quickly drove to Big Cat Rescue to help where she was needed.
Our French guests were thrilled and impressed with Big Cat Rescue. Educating people here and around the world about the plight of these animals is what we are all about. Many thanks to Marie who introduced them to our many residents and helped spread the word globally.
 
**Welcome To Big Cat Rescue!
 
Barbara


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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Children's Home Visits Big Cat Rescue

On Thursday, June 30, we hosted a special tour for twelve children from The Children's Home. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms brought the kids out as part of the new Wild Adventures Program that Chris has developed.  The children heard stories about our cats and how they became residents of Big Cat Rescue.  They were especially impressed when Operations Manager Scott Lope demonstrated Operant Conditioning with Bengali the tiger.  Placing "meat on a stick",  Scott encouraged Bengali to stand.  In this way, Scott explained to the children, we can observe the tiger's paws, tummy, teeth, etc.  This helps us to make sure our cats stay healthy.
It was one of the hottest days yet, but that didn't deter the kids from enjoying the Cats and their hero Chris.
...And, I received an autographed football!  Thank you Chris Simms.
 
***Operant Conditioning - is a type of learning in which behaviors are altered by the consequences that follow them. The behaviors are not forced, but "caught", reinforced and therefore trained.  We train only natural behaviors, no entertainment types of behaviors.
 
Barbara                  


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