Being a small watchdog that is currently in the midst of growing larger, we sometimes struggle to stay fully updated on Big Cat Rescue’s latest shenanigans and social media posts which is why we’re extra thankful for the amazing people that take it upon themselves to bring certain pieces of information to our attention.
We were recently forwarded an intriguing comment Big Cat Rescue made a few days ago on a Facebook post where they linked to an article covering a zoo in China that fed a live donkey to tigers.
Their comment can be read below:
That’s quite an odd comment coming from a facility that also feeds live animals to some of their feline residents.
A live domesticated rabbit being forced into a cage with a wild bobcat is not an uncommon scene for the staff and volunteers of Big Cat Rescue. It’s a scene played out numerous times due to the methods they choose to utilize for their bobcat rehabilitation program.
When we inquired about rehabilitation practices pertaining to bobcats, the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association directed us to the Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a wildlife rehab facility that told us it's not necessary to use live prey.
As reported on ABC Action News, Kathy Finelli of the Gainesville Rabbit Rescue said, "When a rabbit walks directly up to a bobcat and puts its nose on the bobcat's nose, how is that training the animal to hunt? The animal is now expecting the animal to walk up to it."
When questioned about her live feeding protocol, Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, said the rehab bobcats had to 'recognize their prey'. We find this excuse ludicrous at best as nowhere in 'the wild' would a bobcat ever come across a domestic wild rabbit that will walk right up to it.
We’re currently unaware of any scientific data published by Big Cat Rescue that documents the success rate of their rehabilitation program by tracking the whereabouts of the bobcats released into the wild. That data is crucial in learning whether the rehabilitated bobcats actually thrive in the wild or quickly meet their ends due to a faulty rehabilitation program.
A failed rehabilitation program using live domestic animals as prey would ultimately mean that Big Cat Rescue has been releasing bobcats to die, as well as inflicting undo pain and suffering on the animals they use for the rehab bobcat’s hunting practice; all for nothing. Well, maybe not all for nothing.
Through years of honing their marketing skills, Big Cat Rescue makes certain they receive full media coverage each time they release a bobcat, then pat each other on the back for a job well done. That brings to mind one particular quote Carole made back in 1997 (emphasis added):
Below is a 2015 recording of Big Cat Rescue's live-stream camera that was pointed at their bobcat rehabilitation cage. Notice how both bobcats in the recording appear to have no fear of Jamie Murdock, President of Big Cat Rescue, and can clearly see that she is the one feeding them.
Do you think a reputable wildlife rehabber would conclude that those bobcats are viable for release when there is a notable lack of fear of humans and quite possibly an association of humans with free food?
There was an interesting update as the story was being written. It turns out, Big Cat Rescue deleted their Facebook post containing the comment quoted earlier in this article. We wonder if they were forced to delete it due to an influx of racist and hateful comments from their followers directed at the people of China. Quite an odd bunch of followers Big Cat Rescue has on Facebook.
Fortunately, there were some sane followers that also noticed the vitriolic comments being spewed on the post. Even Afton Tasler, a current volunteer of Big Cat Rescue, noticed, as did someone who seems to be claiming they were a former intern.