Friday, February 27, 2009

Lion mauls man at Jeffrey Harsh's KS menagerie

OAKLEY, Kan. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating a weekend incident
in which a man was mauled by a lion at an animal refuge in western
Kansas, but no charges are expected to be filed.

The lion's owner, Jeffrey Harsh, told authorities that man staying at
the Free Breakfast Inn motel next to the refuge near Oakley apparently
made his way Saturday into an outer perimeter lion cage.

When Harsh showed up to feed the animals that evening, he found the
man with his arm over the top of a gate on the inner cage. A Barbary
lion had grabbed the man's right arm, said Thomas County Sheriff Rod
Taylor.

Harsh reportedly beat the lion with a steel pipe so it would release
the man. He then drove him to a Colby hospital. The victim, Bradley
Buchanan, has since been transferred to a Denver hospital for more
surgery. Buchanan, of Oakley, is expected to recover.

Taylor said photos of Buchanan's deep wounds appear to show that the
lion reached the bone.

Harsh previously has faced legal problems for his ownership of exotic
animals.

On Tuesday, the Thomas County prosecutor agreed to dismiss a
misdemeanor case against Harsh, provided he transfers three Barbary
lions to the Detroit Zoo.

Zoo officials were expected to travel to Oakley within three months to
examine the lions for any diseases. If the tests are negative, the
lions would then be taken to Detroit.

Taylor said no charges are expected to be filed in Saturday's
incident, providing Harsh follows through on his promise to move the
lions.

But Harsh still has two tigers at the facility.

"I hope we find a home for the other two," Taylor said.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29397583/

Lion Mauls Man in Western Kansas


Last Update: 2/25 10:02 pm

You wouldn't know it driving down I-70, but outside of Oakley you'll find cats you don't normally see in Kansas.

For almost 20 years Jeffrey Harsh has managed the Prairie Cat Animal Refuge. The refuge sits between a motel and farm field. From the outside, you see abandoned vehicles, construction debris and fencing. "No they don't have Disney land facilities, but are they fed well and are they happy," said Harsh.

Besides taking care of three lions and two tigers, Harsh also hires people to work at the Free Breakfast motel. Saturday night one of the workers came to see the animals. "He loved them and was good with them when he was sober."

But Harsh and the sheriff say the man was drunk and tried to pet the lion. "When you're drinking or under medication it tells them you're part of the food chain," said Harsh.

When he came over to feed the animals Saturday night, Harsh noticed the perimeter fence was open and he heard screaming. "It had him by the arm. I broke him lose from the animal by whacking her over the head. There was a major tear in his arm," Harsh said.

Harsh took the man to the hospital in Colby. He was then air lifted to a Denver hospital. Harsh says they stitched him up and he's been released.

Thomas County Sheriff Rod Taylor says long before this attack the county has tried to shut the refuge down. The lions have bitten two other people. "Get those animals out of there. They cause more trouble and we've almost got it accomplished," said the sheriff.

Due to Saturday's attack, Harsh agreed to give up the cats to avoid exotic animal charges. He says it's probably a good time to do it because it's getting too expensive to feed them.

Harsh and the county worked to find new owners for the animals. If the Kansas Health Department allows, the Detroit Zoo will take the three lions. The Detroit Zoo tells Eyewitness News after the lions are checked for rabies and approved by the health department they'll pick them up. A zoo employee says that could take several weeks or several months.

The zoo doesn't have room for the tigers, so Harsh is still looking for place to move them.

http://www.woai.com/mostpopular/story/Lion-Mauls-Man-in-Western-Kansas/snbsG-uIxkeo1J6EgTVaLQ.cspx

Lion Mauls Hotel Worker In Western Kansas


Last Update: 2/24 10:12 pm

A lion mauled a hotel worker near the town of Oakley in Western Kansas over the weekend.

The Thomas County Sheriff tells Eyewitness News, a worker stuck his hands into the lion's cage at the Free Breakfast Inn.  The owner of the motel keeps three lions and two tigers there.

The motel owner, Jeff Harsh, drove the victim to a Colby hospital.  Emergency crews then flew the victim to a hospital in Denver.  The sheriff says he's expected to recover.

The sheriff says the Detroit Zoo has agreed to take three of the big cats but zoo officials have to assess them first.

http://www.woai.com/mostpopular/story/Lion-Mauls-Hotel-Worker-In-Western-Kansas/QysxW1MzbUCvwWZ36w12XA.cspx


THOMAS COUNTY, Kansas – Authorities in Thomas County are investigating an apparent lion attack.

An Oakley man, identified as Bradley Buchanan, was staying at a motel off Interstate 70 in Thomas County when he allegedly approached a lion cage outside the property and had his arm bitten by the animal.

He's now being treated at a Denver hospital.

The county has long been fighting the lion's owner for having exotic pets and continues to investigate the attack.

http://www.ksn.com/news/kansasnews/40299337.html

Lion mauls man at western Kansas animal refuge

OAKLEY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the mauling of a man by a lion at an animal refuge in western Kansas, but no charges are expected to be filed.

The lion's owner, Jeffrey Harsh, told authorities that the man was staying at a motel next to his refuge near Oakley and apparently made his way into an outer perimeter lion cage on Saturday.

When Harsh showed up to feed the animals that evening, he found the man with his arm over the top of a gate on the inner cage. Thomas County Sheriff Rod Taylor said a Barbary lion had grabbed the man's right arm.

Harsh reportedly beat the lion with a steel pipe so it would release the man, then drove the man to a hospital. The victim, Bradley Buchanan of Oakley, has since been transferred to a Denver hospital for more surgery and is expected to recover.

Taylor said photos of Buchanan's deep wounds appear to show that the lion reached the bone.

Harsh previously has faced legal problems for his ownership of exotic animals.

On Tuesday, the Thomas County prosecutor agreed to dismiss a misdemeanor case against Harsh, provided that he transfers three Barbary lions to the Detroit Zoo.

Zoo officials were expected to travel to Oakley within three months to make sure the animals are healthy before agreeing to take them.

Taylor said no charges are expected to be filed in Saturday's mauling, providing Harsh follows through on his promise to move the lions.

But Harsh still has two tigers at the facility.

"I hope we find a home for the other two," Taylor said.

Information from: The Hays Daily News, http://www.hdnews.net


--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
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recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tiger Farming in Italy

Likely captive tigers in private hands, as in the US and elsewhere, entering international trade....

Tigers rescued from Chinese medicine farm
Animal inspectors have rescued eight tigers who were due to be slaughtered for the illegal Far East medical black market.  

The five fully grown tigers and three cubs were found stashed at a dog kennels in Somma Lombardo, in northern Italy, after a tip off to police.  

Investigators believe the animals were due to be used in traditional Chinese medicines where healers claim that illnesses can be cured by digesting parts of powerful animals like tigers.   Now animal welfare experts have moved the big cats to a nearby wildlife park.  

"They were living in small cages in terrible conditions and they are lucky to be alive. Sadly they have been so badly treated there is no chance of returning them to the wild," said one.

Croatian Times


--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Public opinion: Kerr County, TX asks for input

Public opinion: County to have hearing



Published February 24, 2009

The public will have its say about a revision to Kerr County's "dangerous wild animal ordinance" currently under review by county commissioners. A public hearing is set for 10 a.m. Monday, March 23, in the commissioners' courtroom at the courthouse.

The matter arose after a pet tiger escaped from its cage Jan. 18 in Ingram.

No one was hurt in connection with the incident, but officials agreed the situation easily could have gotten out of hand.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Bruce Oehler, who represents the area where the tiger is housed, has expressed a desire for "an outright ban" on "certain dangerous and exotic animals."

"It is time to change the ordinance with the population growing," he said during Monday's county commission meeting.  

But he doesn't believe all such animals should be banned and said he is in favor of "grandfathering" those that already are in the county — as long as they are licensed, permitted and kept in proper enclosures.

Currently, it is legal to own a "dangerous wild animal" in unincorporated areas of the county as long as the animal is registered. 

The order passed by commissioners in 2001 requires the registration of 20 animal types, which includes tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, bobcats and others.

State law requires "dangerous wild animals" to have a primary enclosure, such as a cage or pen, as well as perimeter fencing around the cage that restricts public access.

Kerr County Animal Control is required by the state to inspect such enclosures each year. But according to Times' archives, director Janie Roman said her office will inspect them every other month.


--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
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by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Tiger Seized Needs New Home

300-lb Tiger Seeks New Roommate The Humane Society of North Texas is seeking sanctuary for rescued tiger

By  MELISSA NEWTON

Updated 7:15 AM CST, Wed, Feb 25, 2009

close
Getty Images

A tiger much like this one was rescued from a home in Hamilton County, Texas.

 

A 300-pound Bengal tiger rescued from a home near Waco is now in the care of the Humane Society of North Texas.

The exotic animal was seized from the home in Hamilton County where it was living in unsafe conditions, underweight and infested with hook worms, said officials with the Humane Society.

The tiger, now named Hamilton, is in good condition, and is responding well to the Humane Society's care.

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department seized the big cat because he was not registered as required by state health and safety codes. The cat's owner was keeping Hamilton in a 15 by 25 foot cage surrounded by a makeshift perimeter fence, not secure enough to effectively hold a tiger.

The Humane Society of North Texas is raising money to continue housing and caring for Hamilton while they look for an exotic animal sanctuary to place him in permanently.



--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




snow leopard carcass and 45 skulls of endangered

ATLANTA (AP) - A Georgia man has been fined $15,000 for possession of
a snow leopard carcass and 45 skulls of endangered or protected
animals in violation of federal wildlife laws.

Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Toru Shimoji of Smyrna purchased
the leopard carcass on the Internet from an undercover agent of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said that
in a search of Shimoji's home agents discovered illegal skulls of
birds in his private collection.

U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III also ordered Shimoji on
Tuesday to serve two years probation and forfeit all the wildlife
seized from his collection.

http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9901366

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When Animal Activists Attack

When Animal Activists Attack

Bitten on the set of a Rick Ross video, Mark McCarthy now squares off against animal activists.

By Amy Guthrie

Published on February 24, 2009 at 2:46pm

Rapper Rick Ross was not on the set of the Miami music video shoot in May 2008 when Mark McCarthy led his 400-pound white tiger out of her crate. The producers had offered McCarthy $5,000 to use the big cat as a prop at a mansion on Star Island. They'd make it look like she was Ross' very own badass pet.

McCarthy bought 4-year-old Sabi for $5,000 when she was four months old. She's one of nearly a hundred exotic animals McCarthy keeps at his five-acre spread in the Acreage in western Palm Beach County. But inbreeding has brought out a mean streak in white tigers.

"A lot of the white tigers, in my opinion, are a little nutty in the head, a little unpredictable," says the 52-year-old McCarthy. White tigers have been so inbred, he explains, that they're responsible for a number of high-profile maulings.

After McCarthy took Sabi out of her cage, she decided to roll on the grass. The metal chain around her neck wrapped around her torso. The big cat couldn't breathe. She panicked. She dug her teeth into a nearby stair. She bit the chain.

When McCarthy intervened to unravel her, she bit into his right calf. "Just a quick bite, then a release," McCarthy remembers. "But it hurt like hell."

Sabi's canines actually met in the flesh behind McCarthy's tibia. Luckily for him, the three-inch-long teeth did not take out a tendon or an artery. A tiger in the wild typically downs its prey with a single bite to the neck. By holding tight onto its victim's throat, the cat can strangle an animal six times its size. Among mammals, tigers have one of the fiercest bites, with an exertion of 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. They can also kill with a single swipe of their paws. McCarthy realizes that his 200-pound, five-foot-four frame is no match for a full-grown tiger.

McCarthy pretended that everything was OK, despite his newfound limp and the blood seeping through one pant leg. He carried on with the shoot, loaded the tiger into his van, picked up the check, and drove back to his home.

McCarthy's nonchalance to a serious bite is one reason animal-rights activists say his business of renting out big cats needs to stop. Critics also say McCarthy's long-running school programs, in which he gives elementary-aged students access to potentially dangerous animals, are irresponsible and run the risk of causing serious harm to the kids.

Beth Preiss, director of the exotic pets campaign for the U.S. Humane Society, worries that McCarthy's schoolhouse shows give kids the wrong message. "It gives a false image that these animals can potentially be good pets," she asserts, adding that she wishes schools would not contract animal entertainers.

Richard Farinato, a former zookeeper and director of the Humane Society's captive wildlife protection program, compares on-the-road animal routines to playing Russian roulette. The list of potential mishaps is long. The animals could escape if the van got into an accident. A kid could contract salmonella from a reptile. An animal could get loose inside a school auditorium.

Farinato says animal shows like McCarthy's also help feed the problematic sale of rare animals. "You cannot separate this animal 'edutainment' from the exotic pet trade because it stimulates it, it thrives on it, and it takes animals that are cast off by the pet trade and puts them into entertainment. It's a circle. Animals just travel through it."

Carole Baskin, who owns Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, lists the Ross video-shoot incident on her 911 Animal Abuse website as an example of animal abuse. The way Baskin sees it, McCarthy is taking advantage of animals like Sabi when he shows them to the outside world for a fee. Baskin is a former breeder and displayer of big cats who now speaks out against breeding them for life in a cage.

"He's been around as long as we have," Baskin says of McCarthy. "He should have grown and evolved by now. For people like this, it's all about control. They try to get respect from other people by demonstrating control over animals."

Officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wrote a report about the video-shoot bite, but they did not issue McCarthy a citation. "The public was not endangered at any time and Mr. McCarthy controlled the situation," Fish and Wildlife investigator Shannon Wiyda wrote in the report.

McCarthy maintains that there was nothing to the Ross incident. "I get bit frequently," McCarthy says. "Just playing with these kind of animals, you're gonna get hurt. When they play, they play very rough. But they have thick skin — we don't. I still have not had anyone get injured by any of my animals, other than myself. It's like a carpenter getting hit by a hammer or something. It's part of the job."

The worst bite came from a clouded leopard named Siam, a 60-pound adult male that had performed well in many shows for kids. McCarthy says he can't recall exactly when it happened, but one day, the cat jumped on McCarthy's back as he knelt to pick up poop inside the leopard's enclosure. Siam planted his claws into McCarthy's shoulders and long canines into his skull. McCarthy squeezed the cat's face until he finally released. McCarthy escaped from the cage before the cat could come at him again. He was covered in blood from head to toe. McCarthy refused medical treatment that time too. But the wounds got infected. A doctor stuck tubes in his head to drain the swelling. "I looked like a Rasta guy with all this shit hanging out the back of my skull," McCarthy remembers.

Siam attacked, McCarthy believes, because a female cat in an adjacent enclosure was in heat. Still, he became leery of the animal, so Siam was banned from performing in any more animal shows. The cat lived out the rest of his life in McCarthy's backyard sanctuary.

Last August, McCarthy was in the news again. A lion and a tiger wandered out of their enclosures in his backyard while he was on vacation in Montana. A caretaker at McCarthy's place called Fish and Wildlife officials for help. The cats were sedated, still within the fenced property. But their escape prompted three nearby schools to go on lockdown.

Lisa Wathne, a specialist in captive exotic animals with the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote a letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in August that called for the agency to revoke McCarthy's state license to own and exhibit animals. She labeled the escape of the lion and tiger "one more example of Mark McCarthy's inability to safely handle dangerous animals."

Accusations like the one from PETA make McCarthy's blood boil. McCarthy is furious that Baskin listed him on her animal abuse website. After all, the tiger bit him. None of his animals have ever bitten a child or a model or any other member of the public, according to wildlife authorities. McCarthy takes insinuations that he can't handle his animals as personal insults. "Don't tell me I don't know my shit!" he warns would-be critics.

McCarthy estimates that he has presented more than 6,000 shows at elementary schools, old folks' homes, parks, hospitals, and birthday parties over the past two decades. He charges $350 for a one-hour encounter with nine animals. Last year, he banked $75,250 from 215 school shows. He also rents out creatures for fashion magazine shoots, movie cameos, TV commercials, print advertisements, and music videos. And he relies on donations. The Batchelor Foundation, a charitable trust based in Miami Beach, donated $250,000 to McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007, according to the foundation's most recent tax return on record. He estimates it costs $200,000 a year to care for all of his animals; many were abandoned pets and rescued wildlife.

McCarthy could have another payday coming soon. He got a phone call recently from Picture Perfect Productions, producer of the Ross video shoot. The production company wanted to know if McCarthy would bring a white tiger to another video shoot. McCarthy says he's leaning against it because the bite at the first shoot led to too much bad publicity after years of his animal injuries staying out of the media.

On a chilly Tuesday morning in February, McCarthy loads animals into his 8-year-old Chevy Astro van for a show at Pine Grove Elementary in Delray Beach. The animal performers include: Louie the kinkajou, Norma Jean the scarlet macaw, Harriet the tarantula, Wally the baby gator, Snowball the Burmese python, and Sandy the Florida panther.

Recently, a principal at another elementary school asked McCarthy to leave the panther out of the show for liability reasons. "In the past, I would have argued with the principal. 'What are you saying, I can't handle my cat?' Now I just put my pride aside. It's easier for me, anyway, because I don't have to pick her heavy butt up," he says. "You know, some of the other animals are more dangerous. Norma Jean will take a chunk out of you. I'd rather get bit by a panther than a parrot. That bottom beak is sharp like a shovel to get pulp out of fruit."

The show at Pine Grove Elementary is held outdoors, under the shade of a pavilion. The audience consists of about a hundred kindergartners. Norma Jean kicks off every show. McCarthy lets a handful of kids approach, one at a time, to act as living trees for the bird. A little boy volunteers. McCarthy instructs him to extend his right arm as if it were a branch. But when McCarthy eases Norma Jean onto his arm, the boy pulls away. The bird, which has one wing clipped, careens to the ground. The kids in the front row scoot backward, squealing, to avoid getting hit by Norma Jean. She lands awkwardly on one side. McCarthy scoops her up without missing a beat.

The next animal interaction also misfires. One after another, the volunteers that McCarthy chooses to hold Harriet the tarantula back out. Finally, a seemingly brave boy steps forward. But the kid withdraws his hand just as McCarthy lets go of the spider; the animal handler catches Harriet just before she goes splat. "Don't drop the tarantula, OK, big guy?" McCarthy says. "If the tarantula fell on the floor, it would surely crack and die." He's speaking from experience. A kid once dropped and killed one of his tarantulas.

After holding the baby gator, a little boy announces: "I want a cheetah!" Another boy, after feeling the weight of the Burmese python on his shoulders, tells his teacher excitedly, "Most animals bite. But they don't!"

A true showman always saves the best for last. In McCarthy's lineup, the last performer is Sandy the panther. Most of the children have no clue she's even there. The big cat has spent the previous hour lounging silently inside her big crate, facing away from the audience. McCarthy instructs the children to back up.


He tugs on a leash. There's a flash of fur. He lifts Sandy by the underarms, just as a father would pick up a toddler from a play pen. For an instant, before McCarthy releases the panther on top of her green plastic crate, he is face to face with the enormous feline.

Sandy sits regally on her hind quarters and stares into the crowd as McCarthy hurries through some nuggets of information about her species. His spiel includes a reference to Roy Horn, half of Siegfried & Roy. "Here in Florida, you're not allowed to keep the big cats like lions and tigers as pets, for one good reason: They will kill you! Or if you're a magician, they might drag you all over the stage in a place called Vegas."

McCarthy grabs the cat under the jaw to plant a loud kiss on the top of her head. The panther nuzzles him back. "She's a lover, not a fighter, aren't you?" he coos, his lips a few centimeters from Sandy's nose.

http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2009-02-26/news/when-animal-activists-attack/1

You can comment at the link

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Friday, February 20, 2009

No time for nerves as tiger bit: keeper

No time for nerves as tiger bit: keeper

4:00AM Saturday Feb 21, 2009
By Beck Vass

Instinct kicks in as Dalu Mncube acts to free colleague's knee from big cat's jaws

Dalu Mncube didn't have time to think - let alone get scared - when a 260kg tiger latched its huge jaws into his workmate's knee.

Instinct kicked in and Mr Mncube, Zion Wildlife Gardens' most experienced big-cat keeper, plunged his fingers into the gap between the tiger's 75mm-long teeth, before using a fire extinguisher to force the animal to release his colleague, Demetri Price.

Mr Price, 30, remained in a stable condition in Whangarei Hospital last night following more surgery to his knees after the attack on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Herald in the hospital yesterday, Mr Price said he was not a "victim" and had not been "attacked" by the white bengal tiger, which remains one of his favourite cats.

The Australian said Abu - Zion Wildlife Gardens' biggest tiger - simply got scared while he was being moved and bit him four times because the cat feared he was being cornered.

"It's like a builder falling off a ladder," Mr Price said. "It's something that's a calculated risk.

"If you're doing this type of work and you haven't thought about it happening then you shouldn't be doing your job.

"The most dangerous part of my job is carving the meat to feed the cats. There's more injuries from preparing their food than from the animals."

Mr Price said he had Abu in "tooth block" hold, holding the tiger's lips over his teeth, when Mr Mncube stepped in.

While the biting has attracted huge interest, both cat handlers and their colleagues are very relaxed about it.

"I never got scared," Mr Mncube said. "You stay nice and calm. If I got scared and panicked we could have had two casualties ... it happened in a flash. It was over before we knew it."

A South African cat keeper of nine years' experience, Mr Mncube said all keepers knew to keep calm if an animal bit and he played down his role.

Abu is not one of the tigers that interact with the public because of his tendency to get frightened.

Park employee Bridgette Henare-Winiata said she had initially denied the biting happened when contacted by the Herald on Wednesday because she was not aware it had occurred.

The park is the subject of an ownership dispute between Lion Man Craig Busch and his mother, Patricia Busch.

Mr Busch was also criticised last April for failing to notify the Labour Department when a white lion bit a guide.

Department spokesman Colin Patterson said a "robust" investigation into the attack would judge the incident.

He refused to say if the future of the park was in jeopardy.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10557927

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

150 Dogs, Tiger Rescued From Mo. Dog Breeder

150 Dogs, Tiger Rescued From Mo. Dog Breeder
Same Breeder Raided 2 Years Ago

POSTED: 2:24 pm CST February 19, 2009  http://www.kcci.com/news/18752453/detail.html

SENECA, Mo. -- The Humane Society of Missouri said it rescued more than 150 dogs and a Bengal tiger from a substandard dog breeder near Seneca.

The group said the rescue Thursday with the Newton County Sheriff's Department was its second major puppy mill raid in less than a week.

It said the dogs' cages were covered with waste and they had no food or water.

About 30 puppies and four pregnant canines were among the dogs taken to St. Louis for treatment pending a custody hearing March 9. The adult tiger was taken to a Springfield zoo.

The same breeder in Newton County was raided two years ago. The state seized 150 dogs but didn't file charges.

The Humane Society also raided a breeder in Greene County on Feb. 13 and rescued 100 Yorkies.


Missouri Humane Society rescues more than 360 dogs

SENECA | More than 200 dogs and a Bengal tiger have been rescued from a dog breeding facility near the southwest Missouri town of Seneca.

The state Department of Agriculture has confirmed that it stripped the kennel operator of her breeder's license almost a year and a half ago.

A veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture, Jerry Eber, says Jewel Bond had agreed to shut down the kennel and surrender her breeder's license after the state seized more than 150 animals in July 2007.

Eber says she had agreed to voluntarily turn over the animals to the state in exchange for charges not being brought against her.

The Missouri Humane Society said in a news release that the dogs' cages were covered with animal waste, and the animals had no food or water.

http://www.kansascity.com/news/breaking_news/story/1043953.html
--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

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It's Not Just Chimps: Americans Have 7,000 Pet Tigers

It's Not Just Chimps: Americans Have 7,000 Pet Tigers

On a sunny morning last February, Joe Murphy, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society's animal cruelty investigator, was called to Winfield, Alabama, a town 80 miles northwest of Birmingham whose 4,700 residents live in relatively close proximity. In the back yard of a two-acre property, he found a 500-pound tiger and a slightly larger lion. Both lay in cramped cages surrounded by mounds of excrement and old deer carcasses.

The scene was nothing unusual.

The California-based Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition estimates that as many as 7,000 tigers are currently kept as pets in the United States--that's more tigers than currently inhabit all the wilds of Asia.

Moreover, American homes host a total of as many as 20,000 big cats (principally tigers, lions, leopards and cougars), and, of note, 3,000 great apes.

Most states don't require licenses to keep exotic pets. Alabama is one of eleven states to have virtually no regulation on the possession or care of such animals.

Reporting for Alabama's Thicket magazine, I learned that even in the heart of downtown Birmingham, if you keep your 700-pound Siberian tiger confined to your apartment, from a legal standpoint, you're good.

Things have a way of going wrong, though.

"Tigers are awfully cute when they're cubs," said Murphy a genial and soft-spoken 32-year-old out of the Jimmy Stewart mold. "But for an idea of what they'll be like when they grow up, look at domestic cats when they're out in the yard, and watch what they do to small animals. Now add four hundred pounds to that."

"Tigers' instincts make them dangerous," explained veteran animal handler Wilbur McCauley. "There's no such thing as 'tamed.' When their instincts are triggered, no matter how much they love you, they don't know they love you."

The Winfield cats' owner had gone out of town and needed to stay away longer than anticipated. Her sons--one a teen, the other in his early 20s--didn't cotton to their cat-sitting assignment, to say the least. So she decided to turn the cats over to Murphy. Also in her yard was a third cage containing a comparatively small--120-pound--cougar (as it happens, because cougars are a protected wildlife species, keeping them is illegal).

Aiding Murphy in the extraction were members of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources along with representatives of the exotic animal preserve, Tigers for Tomorrow, including McCauley, its Director of Operations and Animal Care. The ten-person team crept into the yard--"everyone at the height of their senses," McCauley recalled.

They used meat to lure the tiger and cougar into transport cages. The lion couldn't be coaxed. McCauley drew a blowpipe and fired a tranquilizer dart--the first time in his long career he'd had to resort to the tactic. As soon as the lion was ready for transport, McCauley administered an injection that quickly reversed the drug's effect.

It was a good day on the whole. No one was hurt.

No people, that is.

"More often than not, it's the animal who suffers," said Susan Steffens-McCauley, the Executive Director of Tigers for Tomorrow and Wilbur McCauley's wife.

Tigers for Tomorrow provided a permanent home for the three cats at its 140-acre facility in Attalla, Alabama. The new arrivals joined seventeen other tigers, three other lions, and eleven other cougars--many rescued from similar circumstances.

Other residents included a six-month-old grizzly who was being used for photo ops at a North Carolina rest stop until he became too big and too lethal, a 90-pound tortoise found roaming the streets of Detroit, and a wallaby the McCauleys acquired on the internet.

The non-profit Tigers for Tomorrow's mission is to "uphold the highest standards of care and respect for exotic animals in need of a secure permanent home, creating a public awareness center to be utilized as an educational tool."

"Educating people is crucial," Murphy said. "Most of the time, people don't even know what they're getting into with domestic cats."

But education of this nature has been an uphill battle. The popularity of exotic pets--tigers in particular--is surging, perhaps attributable to a popular mindset that bigger and badder is better. As one owner exclaimed, "Tigers are the new pit bulls."

Even more troubling than such owners for Murphy are people who buy the animals without any intention of keeping them. He knows of a rural route, where, if you follow the hand-painted EXOTIC ANIMALS FOR SALE placard, you'll come to a dilapidated cattle barn. Inside you'll find a scene he characterizes as a flea market, with individuals bidding on big cats for "canned hunts."

Tigers usually go for $300 to $400.

The winners haul them to a remote area, loose them from their cage, then go hunting. Sort of. Having spent their lives in captivity, and the days prior to the auction in confines too small for them to stand, the cats often don't run.

And then there are the profiteers. Certain taxidermists have been known to buy a tiger and keep it until it's sufficiently plumped, at which point they kill it, stuff it and sell it as a trophy.

Other profiteers, sometimes fronted by bogus animal sanctuaries, will straightaway snuff and "part out" a tiger, selling everything from the hide (for as much as $15,000) to the penis, for which there is great demand among practitioners of Chinese Medicine who believe it to have an effect similar to Viagra's.The BBC reported on a restaurant in Beijing offering the organ for $5,700.

In the same circles, ingesting tigers' eyes is thought to improve vision. The whiskers supposedly remedy toothaches. And the brain? Cures laziness--and pimples too.

These theories are quickly repudiated by the vast majority of physicians practicing Chinese medicine. Regardless, a single tiger's parts can fetch $40,000 to $50,000.

Both canned hunts and "parting out" are illegal because tigers are an endangered species. Until exotic pet ownership requirements stem the supply, however, the United States will remain a major big-cat black market.

"Indifference is the biggest obstacle to legislation," legendary animal rescuer Carolyn Atchison told me. "The issue doesn't affect most people's lives, so they're not aware of it. The need is to raise public awareness."

(When I spoke to Atchison, she had recently extracted three big cats from a five-by-ten-foot unroofed pen just eight feet high and on a lot behind an elementary school.)

There has been some activity the federal level. The Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which passed Congress in 2003, bans the interstate trade of big cats like tigers for pets. Spencer Bachus (R, Alabama), Chairman of the House Zoo and Aquarium Caucus, told me in an e-mail, "Congress is looking at other legislation as well."

On state and local levels, most of the activity can be seen by following around Joe Murphy and his counterparts.

Allan Andress, Chief of Enforcement for Alabama's Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, told me, "We've been studying the matter for some time now. Public sentiment just hasn't driven public policy."

As another local official put it, "We already have a lot of laws, and people like things the way they are."

Meanwhile sanctuaries are blossoming. Tigers for Tomorrow plans to double in size. The venerable Tiger Haven sanctuary in Kingston, Tennessee, has 274 big cats and stands ready to accommodate more. New York financier Paul Parmar is spending $20 million in Mineola, Texas, to build what may become the nation's preeminent refuge.

Still, the hope at these booming facilities, said Steffens-McCauley, "is to take down fences instead of putting them up."

"The ultimate goal is to have no need to take in unwanted animals," Murphy said. "I'm working to put myself out of business."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-thomson/its-not-just-chimps-ameri_b_168094.html

--
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org
SaveTheBigCats@gmail.com

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be
confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby
notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of
the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The
recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of
viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused
by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Man finds African wildcat in Uptown backyard

Man finds African wildcat in Uptown backyard

by Coleman Warner, The Times-Picayune
Wednesday February 18, 2009, 8:08 AM

An African wildcat similar to this one showed up in an Uptown backyard Tuesday.

When Carl Henderson stepped into the backyard of his mother's Uptown home Tuesday at mid morning, he was checking out a neighbor's report of raccoon playing about.

He found something quite different.

Henderson encountered what looked like a small cheetah, 22 pounds and lean, two feet tall in the arch of its back, a long tail, with black and brown spots. An intimidating, lovely feline in an unlikely spot.

"The spots and design on it, the natural nature thing," the 58-year-old New Orleanian said later in the day, still flabbergasted at the mysterious find. "An artist couldn't do that. It was a sight for the eyes."

What he found resting in the shade was a female serval, a small African wildcat, the possession of which is illegal for private citizens in Orleans Parish, Audubon Nature Institute officials said.

Henderson's first instinct was to call the cops, nervous that the wildcat might harm children in the vicinity. But before the law arrived, he somewhat boldly tried to befriend the cat.

He took it water, then slices of American cheese, then pieces of turkey wing.

The cat lapped up the offerings, but bared her teeth and hissed when he drew near.

"I guess I got a little bit too close to his perimeter, and I kindly gave him his respect and backed off," Henderson said. He guessed that the cat's relatively calm demeanor meant it was someone's pet: "If it had been aggressive, it would have had my butt."

The official response to Henderson's 911 call was robust. A small crowd of police officers pulled up at his home in the 700 block of Jena Street, initially leery, he said, of stepping into the yard. An agent from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries came too, as did staffers from the Audubon Institute, which runs the zoo.

Henderson was shooed inside the house. Audubon's veterinarian staff tranquilized the cat with a dart gun, then captured it in a net, spokeswoman Sarah Burnette said. Late in the day, the animal was resting in the zoo's hospital as police tried to determine where it came from and whether it has an owner, legal or otherwise.

"You wouldn't just find a serval hanging around Uptown normally," Burnette said, adding that the cat is likely someone's exotic pet. But such a creature is nothing to play with, said Maria Davidson, large carnivore programs manager for the state wildlife service.

"It's a wildcat," she said. "It's not as big as a lion or a tiger, but it could certainly do damage to a person."

Servals typically feed on small animals such as frogs, birds and rabbits, although they occasionally have been seen taking larger game, such as small antelopes.

Audubon Institute officials have agreed to provide the serval a home, probably at the institute's Species Survival Center in Lower Coast Algiers, if no other option is available.

Henderson relished his brush with the wild kingdom just off Magazine Street, though he was perturbed that no one from officialdom got back to him about the cat's fate.

"They told me to go back inside because the cat, you know, might have other options," he said. "They didn't say hello, they didn't say goodbye."

. . . . . . .

Coleman Warner can be reached at cwarner@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3311.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Serval caught roaming New Orleans neighborhood

African wildcat caught in New Orleans neighborhood

February 19, 2009

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zoo veterinarians caught a 22-pound African wildcat in Uptown New Orleans, not far from the home of a man who was taken to court last year for keeping a similar animal at his home.

The serval caught Tuesday was being held in quarantine at the Audubon Zoo. Curator Rick Dietz said it will be moved to a wildlife center run by the zoo’s parent foundation if no one claims it.

The cat was found on the loose in a yard several blocks from the home of a man who was told last year he couldn’t keep a serval at his home because of a New Orleans ordinance against owning wild animals. A judge ordered Wayne del Corral to take his cat to nearby Tangipahoa Parish — which doesn’t have such an ordinance — last year after it was found roaming.
Del Corral said the cat found this week isn’t his. He said Wednesday that his own serval escaped more than four months ago in Hammond. "Unless that cat had a little homing device," it couldn’t have wound up back in the neighborhood, he said.
However, Dietz says its age, sex, condition, generally calm temperament — and the fact that all four feet were declawed — are "eerily similar" to the animal caught last year in the same area.

"We have our suspicions, yes," he said.

Servals generally eat frogs, birds and other small animals.

Heidi Heyns, 48, who lives nearby, said she saw a woman carrying a bag of raw meat and looking under houses in the area several days ago. The woman didn’t give any contact information but said she was looking for a lost cat, Heyns said.

"She described it as looking like a cheetah," Heyns said. "She said not to approach it, that it might not be real friendly."

http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20090219/NEWS01/90219042

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Injured Vet Talks About Tiger Bite

Injured Vet Talks About Tiger Bite

Henry Doorly Zoo veterinarian recovering from attack
Posted: 9:04 PM Feb 15, 2009
Last Updated: 11:34 PM Feb 15, 2009

A veterinarian bitten by a tiger at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo last week spoke Sunday about the scary incident.

When it comes to big cats Dr. Doug Armstrong is an expert, but in his 23 years at the Omaha zoo, he never had a day like last Wednesday. "I was just going to have someone drive me to the hospital. That's when it was kind of like, oh this isn't good."

Dr. Armstrong described the bite from the 200-pound Malaysian tiger that happened when the tiger was anesthetized for an exam. "One of the keepers had a hold of the back of his neck and I reached for his front legs and apparently stimulated him and it was just instantaneous."

An ambulance rushed Dr. Armstrong to Creighton University Medical Center. Not only did the tiger bite down three times, but when Dr. Armstrong pulled his arm away the skin tore.

Doctors actually made more cuts to help reduce the swelling. A vacuum system on Dr. Armstrong's arm removed all the fluids and infectious materials. Considering that tigers can crush bone, Dr. Armstrong knows it could have been worse.

"The major nerves, major arteries and bone was just fine. I'm sure it will make me more safety conscious, but we'll see the first time I'm working on a tiger again. If it twitches a little bit, if I jump, I probably will."

The zoo is using a new protocol on big cats. It will be re-examined.

http://www.wowt.com/news/headlines/39648702.html#

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Man-killers, not maneaters

Man-killers, not maneaters

Gaurav Misra
Posted online: Feb 16, 2009 at 0048 hrs

India’s vast, abundant wildlife has long since faded away, lost some of its charm. Today’s tigers breed primarily in national parks or their adjacent protected forests, sometimes dispersing outwards as the carrying capacity of their original home fills up. This is the hope on which our long-term tiger conservation effort rests. We want the big cats to explore new areas, restock empty jungles and enrich stagnant gene pools. But open a map of India’s forest cover and you’ll notice how tenuous corridors connecting forests have become. Tigers don’t have such a map; they occasionally venture into cultivated areas and the ensuing man-animal conflict is sometimes fatal. In the Terai region of UP this problem is worsened by sugarcane plantations which, for all practical purposes, seem like a shaded grassland habitat to the big cats.
So what is to be done about these stray tigers? On the one hand we base our long-term strategies on natural dispersal. Simultaneously we condemn every tiger that takes a wrong turn to the rifle or steel cage, on the argument that it has become a “maneater”.

Throughout history man-tiger encounters have occasionally been fatal for people. If all these man-killers had gone on to become habitual maneaters, we would have ten such animals for every one that actually existed. The truth is that only a fraction of tigers that kill a man once continue doing so later. It is time to challenge the tendency to label every man-killer a certain maneater-in-waiting; there is a difference between a tiger that kills man out of anger, surprise or habitat pressures, and one that deliberately seeks human prey as a survival strategy. The former doesn’t necessarily become the latter. Which brings us to the big challenge of making such a distinction in practice.

As in the case the recent case in Corbett, let’s assume a human fatality is reported for the first time and a suspect animal is identified. We want to know the chances of successful relocation. First: was the killing a result of outright aggressiveness, injury, lack of prey or an accident? Was it a tigress trying to protect her cubs? Or was she trying to feed her cubs? Was the body consumed or left largely untouched? Was the victim deliberately stalked and killed, or was it a chance encounter that ended tragically? Was a story reconstructed by tracking pug-marks?

Such seemingly small details are in fact the crucial clues. In most cases the animal’s fate is sealed because of our inability to piece them together. With only 1800 tigers in over three million square kilometres, each animal deserves some personal attention. A big cat that is known to be particularly aggressive is usually destroyed once it kills a man because it is likely to kill again. The same goes for a tigress that kills to feed her cubs, on grounds that similar pressures are likely to elicit a similar response in future. Opinions on the fate of the cubs differ. For example the Talla Des maneater, a tigress in Kumaon, was active over eight years during which she must have mothered several litters that fed on human flesh. Yet not one of them was recorded as a maneater in subsequent years. Corbett himself held the view that the cubs do not necessarily become maneaters because they were weaned on human flesh.

A tiger that has been constantly persecuted for a long time might kill and eat a man out of hunger. One wouldn’t expect it to continue killing people once conditions improved, and historical evidence seems to supports this. In spite of this, such animals are likely to be destroyed. The same applies to an injured tiger that cannot hunt fleet-footed game. In all cases where the killing seems accidental or one-off, we should refrain from destroying the animal or wasting such a precious resource in the zoo. It would be better instead to coax it towards the ‘real’ jungles or relocate it via other means.

All tigers certainly don’t think alike. An individual’s personality is perhaps the most important consideration in dealing with newly recorded man-killers. Such information can sometimes be got from field researchers, forest guards and villagers in regions bordering national parks or heavily degraded buffer zones: they might know individual tigers well and should be involved in the decision process.

So what decision is possible, if the decision-maker doesn’t want to harm the animal if possible and also doesn’t want the blame if it goes on to kill more people? Resources for a thorough investigation are needed. Additionally, radio collars can be attached on all tigers that have been ‘acquitted’ after man-killing allegations. This will allow us to monitor their movements, test our theories and develop a knowledge base for the future.

The problem is not going to go away. In itself it’s even a good thing. We’re trying to create a landscape of interconnected forests because the sustainable way to fix the weaker ones is to connect them with the healthier ones and hope for natural wildlife migration. Even a few more years of apathy can take us past the point of no return. The forests will get wider apart and polling booths will spring up in between.

The writer is a London-based pharma consultant and wildlife expert.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mankillers-not-maneaters/423962/0

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tiger kills woman in Kheri

Tiger kills woman in Kheri

16 Feb 2009, 0434 hrs IST, TNN

LUCKNOW: Kamp Tanda, a village in South Kheri is back in news with the third human falling prey to a stray tiger on Sunday. The woman had gone inside the forest with another woman and she was attacked by the tiger at around 1 pm. However, it was late in the evening that her body could be recovered after the other woman gave informaton about the incident.

Though it is not confirmed but it is the common opinion of the forest officials that it is the same tiger which had struck twice before in the village killing a boy on January 4 and a man on January 18. The tiger is believed to have strayed out of Kishanpur sanctuary. A team from Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) had come to search for the tiger but went back when it could not be traced.

Meanwhile, top guns from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) are expected to track another tiger that is on prowl in the Faizabad area.

WTI vice-president Ashok Kumar, while talking to TOI, had said about handling the operation if the tiger was not trapped for long. In all possibility the operation might involve traditional methods of trapping the tiger. Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary, NTCA might hold a meeting with the foresters at the spot to work out the flip side of the operation.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/Tiger_kills_woman_in_Kheri/articleshow/4133955.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Friday, February 13, 2009

SF Tiger Attack Victim's Family Settles Suit

SF Tiger Attack Victim's Family Settles Suit

Feb 13, 2009 5:03 pm US/Pacific

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) ― The parents of a 17-year-old killed in a tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day 2007 settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the zoo Friday, the family's lawyer said.

Marilza and Carlos Sousa of San Jose had filed the wrongful death suit in San Francisco Superior Court almost a year after Carlos Sousa Jr. was killed when a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped its enclosure.

The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount that will be paid in full by the zoo's insurance company, according to attorney Michael Cardoza.

As a result, all legal action by the Sousa family against the zoo and the city was dismissed, Cardoza said.

He indicated that zoo officials had also agreed to put up a Sousa memorial bench on the zoo grounds.

http://cbs5.com/local/zoo.tiger.attack.2.935130.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Tiger That Bit Omaha Vet Headed to Wichita

Tiger That Bit Omaha Vet Headed to Wichita

Posted: Feb 12, 2009 10:57 PM EST Updated: Feb 13, 2009 01:15 AM EST

by Rebecca Gannon

(WICHITA, Kan.)

A tiger who bit a Nebraska veterinarian will soon have a new home in Wichita.

The tiger, George, is slated to be one of four tigers in the new Sedgwick County Zoo exhibit. "He did what Tigers do," said the director of the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. "They bite people." The vet in Omaha is doing fine; he says he's just a little sore.

That tiger was under a mix of anesthesia drugs. "Each tiger is different in how it responds to drugs, and I think that's the case here," said Dr. Sandy Wilson of the Sedgwick County Zoo. "It seemed to be perfectly asleep, it aroused briefly, just long enough to bite him on the arm, and then it went back to sleep."

She says it takes at least 20 minutes for the animal to fall asleep, at least four people to make sure it stays asleep.

"Usually we have one person who is focused on just the animal's head," explained Wilson. "And so they're kind of stationed there by the animal's head, with their hands on their neck, so if the animal should move just a little bit, they might be able to have control of the animal long enough for us to give some more drugs, or get out of the stall."

The zoo has many varieties of big cats -- like lions, leopards, and cougars. "They're all pretty similar in their requirements," said Sedgwick County Zoo Mammal Curator Mike Quick.

"There's also differences between different tigers, as there would be with people. Some tigers are friendlier than others, some are more wary."

He said as long as everyone pays attention, there won't be any animal bites. The zoo hasn't had any yet.

The tiger exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo opens Memorial Weekend.

http://www.kansascw.com/Global/story.asp?S=9838712

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zoo Worker Bitten By Tiger In Fair Condition

Zoo Worker Bitten By Tiger In Fair Condition

'I'm A Little Sore,' Says Douglas Armstrong
TheOmahaChannel.com
updated 8:17 p.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 12, 2009

OMAHA, Neb. - A long-time zoo veterinarian who was bitten by a sedated tiger Wednesday is in fair condition at Creighton University Medical Center.

Dr. Douglas Armstrong released a statement Thursday in which he said he felt "a little sore" but was eager to get back to work at Henry Doorly Zoo.

Armstrong was bitten in the arm Wednesday morning as he was moving a 200-pound Malaysian tiger into its cage.

The tiger was sedated but reflexively snapped at Armstrong, biting down three times on his right arm, said zoo director Dr. Lee Simmons.

Simmons said the tiger's whiskers were likely brushed, which set off the animal's reflexive action.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29164173/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Unconscious tiger bites zoo's veterinarian

Unconscious tiger bites zoo's veterinarian

BY JOEL FULTON AND CAROL BICAK
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITERS
Published Wednesday February 11, 2009

A Henry Doorly Zoo veterinarian was bitten by an unconscious tiger during a routine medical examination this morning.

Dr Doug Armstrong Henry Doorly Zoo veterinarian.Rescuers were dispatched to the zoo about 10:10 a.m. to treat Dr. Douglas Armstrong, the zoo’s chief veterinarian.

Armstrong, 57, was taken to Creighton Medical Center in serious condition, but his injuries were not considered life threatening, authorities said.

The zoo’s director, Dr. Lee Simmons, said Armstrong was bitten on the right forearm — apparently as a reflex.

Zoo workers had been weighing the 20-month-old, 200-pound male Malaysian tiger that had been immobilized and was out of its cage.

After the tiger was weighed, workers were moving it to a sleeping cage when it turned its head, grabbed Armstrong’s arm and chomped. The tiger bit Armstrong three times, Simmons said.

"The bite was pretty severe. But it does not seem to have done any permanent damage," Simmons said.

"All animal bites are serious because they have a lot of bacteria in their mouth, but (Armstrong) has the use of all his fingers," Simmons added.

The weighing was part of a routine preshipment examination. The tiger and its brother are being sent to Wichita, Kan., as part of the Omaha zoo’s breeding program, he said. Today’s incident shouldn’t change those plans, Simmons said.

"It was unconscious at the time, under the influence of anesthetic," Simmons said. Armstrong’s arm "probably touched a whisker, and the tiger reacted. These animals have all kinds of sensitive reflexes."

The zoo is using a different drug for the anesthetic, Simmons said. It may not hold as long or well, he said.

"Anesthetizing animals is tricky," Simmons said. "We try to keep animals deep enough to do the procedures, but light enough so they don’t stop breathing."

Simmons said Armstrong, who has worked at the zoo for 25 years, "is one of the best in the world in handling animals."

"This is nothing to do with the animal being aggressive," Simmons said. "It was a fluke accident."

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10560997

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tiger strikes again in Jambi

Tiger strikes again in Jambi

Jon Afrzial , The Jakarta Post , Jambi Sat, 02/07/2009 1:06 PM The Archipelago

A resident living near the Berbak National Park in Muarojambi regency, Jambi, was lucky to survive a tiger attack, suffering only wounds on his thigh and arm, following three previous tiger attacks that led to fatalities.

Sutiyono, a resident of Mekarsari village in Kumpeh Ilir district, was attacked on Wednesday evening at 10:30 p.m. when going to the toilet located at the back of his house, Muarojambi Police chief of detectives Adj. Comr. Posma Lubis, said Friday.

Three previous victims were not so lucky and were killed by tigers. The victims were Rafa'I of Pematang village, and father and son Suyud and Imam of Sungai Gelam village. Both villages are located in Kumpeh Ulu district.

They were killed at a former forest production area, previously managed by timber firm PT RKI, which was being converted to farmland.

The victims were found in a poor condition with many body parts missing.

The Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) head, Didy Wurjanto, said the tigers could not be blamed for the attacks as the victims had entered the tiger's habitat.

Didy said that tigers have a roaming distance of 50 kilometers.

He also said that his office had received reports that poachers had taken a tiger cub, causing the mother to be angry.

"The mother tiger will continue looking for her cub and she will continue roaming the forest"," he said.

Didy said his office had the dual task of returning the tiger to her habitat while at the same time trying to catch the poachers.

"We have brought a cage with a goat as bait to capture the tiger. We have also prepared a rifle with tranquilizers," he said.

The tiger is identified as a swamp tiger. If captured, it would be returned to the Berbak National Park or to the Semetis forest in neighboring Riau province.

Dedy warned villagers not to stay near the forest because the tiger could appear at any moment.

"This precaution is important to prevent any other fatalities," he said.

Tigers coming out of their habitat could be related to the fact that some 40 percent of the park's 162,700 hectares have been destroyed by illegal logging.

The tigers are also threatened by poachers, as there are currently only 30 tigers in the area compared to 50 tigers several years ago.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/02/07/tiger-strikes-again-jambi.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wesa-A-Geh-Ya owners plead guilty to lying about tiger attack

Wesa-A-Geh-Ya owners plead guilty to lying about tiger attack

Last modified: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 3:12 AM CST

By Sarah Whitney

Ken and Sandra Smith pleaded guilty in early January to charges of tampering with evidence, according to court documents.

The Smiths were charged in September after lying to Warren County sheriff's deputies about a tiger attack at Wesa-A-Geh-Ya, the exotic animal facility the couple owned in northern unincorporated Warren County.

The facility housed close to 50 exotic animals including tigers, lions, wolves and a bear.

The Smiths, along with animal facility volunteer Roy Elder, told deputies a black and white pit bull had attacked volunteer Jacob Barr and ran off Aug. 3, according to the probable cause statements filed by the Warren County Sheriff's Department.

Barr later told his father he had been attacked by a tiger, Sheriff Kevin Harrison said at the time.

The father then informed deputies of the attack, Harrison said. Barr lost his lower leg above the knee as a result of the attack. The tiger was shot and killed.

Elder pleaded guilty to the charges in December and received probation, according to court records.

The Smiths also received probation in exchange for the plea, said Prosecuting Attorney Mike Wright.

The couple was charged because they initially lied about the attack, Wright said.

"It was the fact that something horrible had happened and they tried to cover it up," he said. "If they hadn't had tried to cover it up, I don't think any charges would have been filed."

When the attack happened, Ken Smith was serving probation on a previous charge of failing to register dangerous animals with the Warren County Sheriff's department.

The new charge will not affect Ken Smith's probation for the previous charge, Wright said.

"As part of his plea to go through, it was understood we would not file a motion to revoke in the other case," he said.

The Smiths closed Wesa-A-Geh-Ya after the attack. The animals were given to animal sanctuaries in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Colorado.

A personal injury case against the Smiths, filed by Barr in September, is still pending.

http://suburbanjournals.stltoday.com/articles/2009/02/04/warren/crime/0204war-wesa0.txt

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Bobcat on Staten Island may be escaped "pet"

Bobcat startles residents of Staten Island's Grasmere section

by Staten Island Advance
Wednesday February 04, 2009, 2:50 PM

A large cat -- Animal Care and Control officers identified it as a 45-pound bobcat -- that has been spooking residents and pets in Staten Island's Grasmere section for months, was captured by a resident this afternoon.

The animal, which neighbors said has been roaming the residential area since late November, was drawn into a metallic game cage at 26 Delphine Terrace using raw chicken liver as bait.

Officers from the 122 Police Precinct were summoned, as were Animal Care and Control officers. The animal was taken to a facility in Brooklyn where an officer said it will be evaluated and potentially given to a wildlife rescuer.

Neighbors told the Advance the cat was actually a pet, but would not divulge the name of the owner.

-- Reported by Deborah Young

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/bobcat_startles_residents_of_s.html


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