In a article published just a bit over a week ago by The Dodo, Susan Bass, Director of Public Relations for Big Cat Rescue, went on to address a viral video in which a tiger stalked two men standing on the opposite side of it’s enclosure. The article contained an exaggerated description of what actually transpired, but that’s par for the course when it comes to The Dodo’s reporting.
We could already tell the direction in which the writer was taking their article from the get-go. Not a difficult feat to accomplish considering that they claim the tiger had smashed itself against the enclosure wall. They even say the tiger had a look of defeat after the ordeal. It’s always odd when a random person thinks they know how a animal is feeling just by looking at its face.
In the center of the manufactured controversy is Mike VII, a nearly 2-year old male tiger that resides at the Louisiana State University (LSU) as a living mascot. LSU makes it clear that the tiger was donated to them just like their previous tigers because they want to avoid contributing to the problems tigers in the United States face (emphasis added):
So they’re against the inappropriate captive settings many tigers in the U.S. are supposedly kept? That’s quite ironic since many people consider a college campus to be an inappropriate setting for a tiger.
Anyway, the video featured below shows Mike VII stalking and pawing from behind its enclosure wall to get at two individuals:
Just like last time, we will point out how hypocritical they are. Where was the same worry Susan Bass currently has for Mike VII back when her employer released a video called “Never Turn Your Back On BIG CATS!?” In that YouTube video, Big Cat Rescue had Chris Poole, their former cameraman, do the same thing displayed in the video they’re currently criticizing.
Is it impossible for big cats to injure themselves on metal caging? Why would a smooth plexiglass wall be more dangerous than Big Cat Rescue's cattle panel cages? One would think that the metal wires would increase the chances of a tiger getting hurt since their teeth could chip by getting caught in the 4x4 openings.
Does the tiger in the clip below not notice that it's in a metal cage? Why else would it be ramming its body against it? Who are we kidding, the tiger "obviously does not know the barrier is there."
If Big Cat Rescue is truly against people provoking reactions out of big cats shouldn’t they delete the video we mentioned above? Doesn’t their video encourage others to try replicating the actions of Chris Poole? After all, Big Cat Rescue likes to claim that professionals engaging in hands-on interactions with big cats only serves to encourage members of the public to participate in activities involving the exploitation of exotic cats that are offered by facilities they routinely vilify. The video has amassed more than 20-million views on YouTube alone so they’re likely not going to delete it.
The writer of the article continues their one-sided reporting by bringing up a past incident in which Mike IV, a past mascot in LSU’s long tradition of living tiger mascots, was ILLEGALLY set loose by pranksters. The LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation website provides more information surrounding the events of that highly dangerous "prank" (emphasis added):
Why did The Dodo writer feel it was necessary to cite a 37 year old incident as though it’s currently a cause for concern? If that’s worth bringing up as a “safety concern” then why not bring up the history of the organization that’s providing them with a statement?
Back in 1996, two cougars escaped from their enclosures at Big Cat Rescue which was operating under the name of Wildlife On Easy Street at the time. According to a report by Tampa Bay Times, one of the escaped cougars was caught within an hour while the second cougar was captured more than 12 hours later outside the perimeter fences of the roadside zoo (emphasis added):
We wonder which facility poses as a more serious “safety concern,” a facility whose tiger was illegally set loose by a group of troublemakers or a facility that had cougars escape from their enclosures? It’s unlikely that the Dodo is ever going to bring up that piece of information when referencing Big Cat Rescue in their future articles.
Followers of Big Cat Rescue have been leaving comments saying how Mike VII should live at their facility. There is a stark contrast between what Big Cat Rescue and the Louisiana State University offer in terms of the quality of the habitats they provide for their cats: