Friday, September 27, 2013

Blackfish

Even though this blog is about big cats I feel the movie Blackfish should share in the spotlight. Blackfish is all about Tilikum a 12,000 pound whale who lives at SeaWorld. From 1988 to 2009 their were over 100 reports of incidents with whales and trainers. This is Tilikum's story in 1983 the only way to get Orca whales in to captivity was capturing them from the wild and Tilikum was no exception. Orca Whales live in pods, pods include a whale's family similar to a lion pride. Tilikum was just a baby when he was separated from his pod and moved to a marine park called Sealand of the Pacific. He was placed with two other female orcas, they didn't get along to well. Sealand of the Pacific was very cruel and used food deprivation to train their animals, not giving the orcas food for days unless they did the commands asked during a show. Trainers were worried the orcas might chew their way threw the nets or activist might cut the nets, the nets were the only thing separating the whales from the Pacific ocean. So stop this from happening they put the whales in to extremely small metal pens they were 28 feet in diameter keeping in mind Tilikum is about 22 feet long. This made the whales stressed and they took it out on one another. In 1991 Tilikum was doing a normal performance, a trainer slipped in the tank no one is clear about what happened but the trainer was killed by the whales and Tilikum was directly involved with the death he's even believed to have killed the trainer.
Tilikum was moved in 1992 to SeaWorld Orlando Florida, SeaWorld used positive reinforcement to train their whales. Even though SeaWorld had bigger enclosures it can never match the wild and is hundreds of miles less than his native habitat. The whales at SeaWorld did not like Tilikum often teasing and injuring him, in the wild Tilikum could get away from the other whales but in captivity he was trapped never getting a break from them. Tilikum was an excellent performer and not to mention the biggest whale in captivity. SeaWorld didn't properly inform the trainers about Tilikum's history they said he wasn't directly involved in the death of a trainer at Sealand of the Pacific. Tilikum was involved in many attacks with his trainers but so were the other whales so it wasn't a big surprise even though some of them were near deaths of trainers. In 1999 Tilikum had killed another person, this person had snuck in after hours, he was found the next morning dead on top of Tilikum. Tilikum was still allowed to swim with trainers and participate during the shows.
He attacked many trainers since them but his last attack was on February 24th, 2010 when he killed Dawn Brancheau, during a Dine with Shamu Show. After this Tilikum was seperated from the other whales put in a small enclosure and only allowed to perform one stunt at the shows. This was his third death because of this death a policy was made that banned trainers from entering the water with the whales. SeaWorld says that Tilikum mistook her ponytail as a toy thinking he was playing with a toy not a person. But her injuries say other wise it is more likely that she was dragged in by her arm, and all trainers had their hair in ponytails so it is unlikely he randomly became interested in a ponytail when he was so used to seeing them.
Tilikum has 21 offspring only 11 are still alive. The movie also talks about how the mothers are separated from their calfs and if SeaWorld really supported natural family bonds why do they separate the calfs. They show how stressed they are when they are separated at one point they had to call in a marine biologist because one of the orca mothers had made noises never heard before while her calf was being separated from her, turns out they were distress calls made to be heard miles away to keep in touch with her calf which was being driven away. The movie talks about how they have to throw nets between them because the baby won't leave its moms side. And how the baby and mom are in distress sometimes it takes weeks until they start to calm down. Now Tilikum spends his life pacing his enclosure, bored.
Is this how SeaWorld should treat their animals? Keeping them in small enclosures just for our pleasure? When it is so obvious they are stressed and bored? They belong in the wild where they can roam free having miles of space doing what whales naturally do. Is riding on the back of a whale natural for the whale or is just entertainment for us? I love SeaWorld I always have but this movie has opened my eyes to the truth I would love to go back to SeaWorld but I would only feel comfortable doing this if they got rid of the whales, placing them in to sanctuaries, and rehabilitating the babies back to the wild. Blackfish the movie has done a great job in giving the whales some justice and I feel bad for Tilikum there is so much more to his story than meets the eye. This is just my opinion based on the Blackfish the movie for more info go to www.blackfishmovie.com

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Big Cat Rescue Summer Camp!

I know this is a little late but I went to Big Cat Rescue's summer camp for the 4th year in a row! I had a great time! We saw so many animals and even made some enrichment for the cats! This year was especially exciting because it was also the week of my birthday!
The first thing we did was do a full tour of the sanctuary I got to see all of the cats that I haven't seen in a year. I was super excited!
This is Joseph and Sasha and than Zabu



On one of the days the Florida Aquarium came in and let us dissect a squid! Sorry no pictures of that!
We even got the chance to talk to Big Cat Rescue's Vet and Founder Carole Baskin!!! It was super exciting I loved hearing about all the rescue updates and their perspective of the Big Cats! I want to be a vet in the future so it was really cool to talk to the vet and hear her daily life working with Big Cats! During the week we got to prepare some of the food for the Big Cats, my group worked on preparing food for some of the Big Cats who had specific meals. Like some of them needed food with out bones in it because they were to old, we prepared food like that. It was so fun and really helped out the volunteers. By the end of the week we had made some enrichment for TJ the tiger. TJ had a habit of stalking Big Cat Rescue's golf carts, some of the volunteers wondered if he ever actually caught one what would he do? So we figured we would make him one made of cardboard, and covered it in smelly spices and meat to see what he would do. It also allowed him to have some fun! :)

TJ vs The Golf Cart!!!



The little kid group was also working on their own enrichment project with Saber the Black Leopard they had made a giant Lizard for him! He was a little nervous at first and was determined to take all the meat inside. But an hour later he was sleeping inside the giant tube!


 During the week I went it was also Discovery Channels Shark Week! And Big Cat Rescue celebrated by giving some cats shark inspired enrichment! It was such a special opportunity to watch some of the cats enjoy even more enrichment!
The first one was a Leopard they hung a shark in a tree we were so excited to watch!


Than Joseph and Sasha got a shark but Sasha was really nervous with the big group of people watching so Joseph was the only one who came out to see what we had brought!


 He was so proud of his enrichment he decided to let every one else know! You can see Sasha in the background roaring with him it was so cool to be that close to them!


The keepers showed us how they did operant and conditioning with the cats!


 I had a really grrrrrreat time with the cats and can't wait to go next year!
For more info go to www.BigCatRescue.org


Monday, July 22, 2013

The Issues with Petting or Posing with Cubs

What is the truth about petting cubs at fairs, malls, and sometimes even parking lots? The truth is these petting sessions are abusive. Many of these sessions you must pay 5$ to pet cubs like tigers, bears, and cheetahs. Most of these cubs are from road-side zoos that don't have proper food or shelter. The exhibitor often claims that these cubs are at a legal age where the public can pet them but they usually are not, most are too young or too old.

These exhibitors seem to have thousands of cubs, the reason for this is they continually buy and breed cats. Which means the mother and cub are often stressed because for the cubs to be exhibited they must be separated from their mother usually a few days after birth. The mother still has these instincts to care and nurture her cubs, but because the need for more and more cubs she must continue having cubs and then they must be taken away. And with so many cameras and flashes in their face they can't sleep, cubs need to sleep most of the day and they cannot because the exhibitor needs them awake for photos and "play time". It also makes their eye sight bad when they grow up. Almost all of the cubs have health problems because of inbreeding and diseases they were prone to because of the lack of healthy food and shelter. Breeders often say they breed them for the conservation of their species in the wild but how are they helping the species if the cubs are never going to end up in the wild and instead they are going to spend their life in a cage. They also say they breed them for education purposes but what are you teaching people that these cubs are being dominated by people or how they aren't showing natural behaviors because we as people have interfered?

Where do they go when their older?
Most of the cubs are sold as pets, canned hunts, or are used in the illegal animal parts trade. Almost none of them go back to the place they were raised at because of constant lack of money, good food, shelter, and space for the animals.



You can help save these animals by going to http://www.bigcatrescue.org/ or http://www.catlaws.com/

The bottom line is that these cats will always be in cages and will never see the wild unless we stop these abusive actions
 
 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Truth About Circuses

The circus is a fun entertaining and amazing place showing many great shows and performances. But not any more. People have now introduced more and more exotic animals making the show extremily abusive. These animals are forced to do behaviors they would never do in the wild, and is often painful for the animal involved. For example how is an elephant standing on a ball natrual for the elephant, or how bears have to where unconfortable outfits just for the people to find it enjoying, or even how tigers and lions have to jump through rings on fire. These animals are ofen trained by force with bull hooks, the trainers strike the animals with these hooks when they do something wrong or fail to cooperate. One of the biggest circuses in the world The Ringling Brothers is also known as the most abusive circus. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) fined their biggest civil penalty against any exhibtor in the Animal Welfare Act's four decade history. They were fined 270,000$ because they were allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act. They immediatly paid the fine instead of going to the hearing. These animals do not get the appropriate amout of sleep and are usually over exausted because they are constanly on the move practicing, preforming, and getting transported in small confining cages. And during transport they are usually chained up for hours and even days at a time.

Please do not go to circus acts they are cruel and abusive to their animals.
Be Their Voice!
For more info go to www.CatLaws.com or www.BigCatRescue.org

For more info on how circuses originated and their affects on animals who preform in them go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTwQdMNLA8I

Compare these photos to the ones in the wild!
 
 
Baby Elephant in Ringling Brothers Behind the Scenes
 
Baby Elephant in the Wild
Tigers in Ringling Brothers Behind the Scenes
Tiger in the Wild

Please Be Their VOICE!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fur Coats

The Truth About Fur.
Most big cats are killed for their fur this is often cruel and unfair for these animals who are victims of this crime. These animals are killed and used for their fur just for fashion. Exotics are often popular for fur coats because of their unique or diffrent patterns. Fur was most popular in the 1900's when only the rich and famous could afford the best clothes and fur happened to be it. Other people looked to them and wanted to be them so they would spend thousands on fur coats, hats, dresses, and more.
The more people bought these clothes the more the stores asked  the manufacutors to get more fur. So the suppliers bred these animals in fur farms these animal were in the tiny enclousures with barely food or water, where thousands of animals would be bred and killed for their fur but the suppliers needed even more than that so they would get hunters to go in to the animals territory and sell the dead animal to the suppliers where they would use the animals fur as coats.
 Most of these animals involved would soon become endangered like the snow leopard they are nearly extinct because of over hunting. Did you know it takes 100-200 chinchillas, 18-15 lynxs, 10-25 foxes, 16-25 bobcats, 12-18 ocelots, and so many other animals are killed to make one fur coat. Why do people not where fake fur those who do may have saved thousands of lives already. To save these animals who can not speak for themselves do not buy fur or suppoort places that sell fur. For more info to save these animals go to http://www.bigcatrescue.org/ or http://www.catlaws.com/  It may be in fashion but not for the animals that lose their life. 
Don't Where Fur! 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Exotic Animals on the Loose in Ohio!!!

Exotic animals on the loose in Ohio! Forty-nine animal deaths in Ohio when these exotic animals were on the loose. This all started when a man bought exotic animals after buying a few he became an animal hoarder, owning more than fifty animals. Not only was it unsafe for him and the public, it became an extreme case of animal cruelty. This whole thing could have been avoided, by having more laws to protect these animals from people privatly owning them. Did you that only 18 states ban big cats as being privatly owned, in the U.S? The man who had raised these animals from birth set them free, soon after commited sucide. After the animals being loose people reported to the police they'd seen wild tigers, bears, wolves, and other exotic animals. The animals were hard to tranquilize and took a lot of time considering they were running on adrenaline. They were then forced to shoot and kill all of the other animals. If private ownership were banned that would make all the innocent lives killed in incidents liked this be abolished. Please Stop Private Ownership in the U.S. by going to www.CatLaws.com or www.BigCatRescue.org


Monday, October 17, 2011

Jaguar!!!

A jaguar is a big cat that lives in the jungles of South America. A jaguar 7 feet in length and weighs from 150 to 200 pounds. They have large black rosettes or spots. Their coat color is black or yellow simmilar to leopards, it's closest cousin. Jaguars are very energic unlike most other big cats. And they use a completly diffrent hunting ways instead of breaking the neck they break or pierce the skull with their strong jaw. They eat deer, wild pig, rodents, etc. They live to 11-12 years in the wild. They climb trees and spend alot of the time in a tree. These cats need our help. Jaguar's face deforestaion and are losing their habitat. And when they go back to what used to be their territory towns have been placed there and hunters kill them saying they are a danger. Farmers also shoot them in the open because they are afraid the jaguars will eat their livestock. And jaguars often think that the livestock is easy prey. People also kill jaguars for their rare coat. About 18,000 jaguars are killed a year by people. In the 1970's many people started to where fur coats and they were hunted to almost extiction for more info go to http://www.catlaws.com/ or http://www.bigcatrescue.org/.