As many of you know, Carter and Olivia have been adopting Cheetahs from south Africa for years. That is actually how One More Generation came to be. We first set out to raise awareness about the plight of the many endangered species and then we started aligning ourselves with some of the best and most progressive animal rescue organizations in the world. Shortly after we launched OMG, Carter celebrated his 9th birthday and instead of birthday gifts, he asked allhis friends to make donations to OMG so we could start helping however we could. He raised $175.00 dollars that day and he felt so bad that all his friends donated money, that when they all left, he went up to his bedroom and placed $20.00 of his own savings in the pot. If you ask him today how much he raised, he will proudly tell you $195.00
Anyway, since that day, we started making donations to various groups including the ‘Big Cat Rescue’ in Tampa FL which runs the largest Big Cat Sanctuary in the world. Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. The nonprofit sanctuary began in 1992. The sanctuary is home to more than 100 exotic big cats. The cats at Big Cat Rescue are there for a variety of reasons, including:
- Abandoned by owners who wrongly thought they would make good pets
- Abused by owners in order to force them to perform
- Retired from performing acts
- Saved from being slaughtered to make fur coats
- Rescued as babies after hunters killed their mothers
Big Cat Rescue’s mission is to provide the best possible home for the animals in their care and try to stop the flow of exotic cats needing sanctuary by educating the public about the plight of the animals and supporting stronger laws to protect them. The non-profit organization is: Accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries, Certified by Independent Charities of America as a “Best in America Charity”, a Member of the WorldSociety for Protection of Animals, Rated 4 Stars (highest rating) by Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. The sanctuary is situated on 55 acres in the Citrus Park area of north Tampa.
We have watched their work over the years and during the summer this year, we actually made a trip to the sanctuary to meet with the folks who work so hard to try and save these amazing animals. We were greeted by WILLOW HECHT – EDUCATION CO DIRECTOR. Willow is the on-site liaison for Dr. Beth Kamhi who works remotely to manage their Education Department.
While we toured the facility, Olivia and Carter we mesmerized by the sheer number of Big Cats at the facility and we were also pleasantly surprised to see how well each of these cats were taken care of. Often we visit organizations seeking our help and find conditions less favorable but not here. The entire team at Big Cats Rescue sincerely care for what they do and for each of their residents. Although it is sad that these animals have to live in such tight quarters, their lives are far more improved compared to the many horror stories associated with each rescued animal. Each of these animals came from a situation that was truly horrific. We are all (as are all the cats) so fortunate that the folks at Big Cat Rescue do what they do.
While talking to the folks at Big Cats Rescue, we learned that although things on the surface looked rosy, the reality is that the Big Cat Rescue is facing a major hurdle. The issue is regarding food prices. Due to the increase in beef prices, the high quality carnivore diet that they feed the 100+ cats at Big Cat Rescue has tripled in price. Natural Balance, from whom they buy the vitamin-enhanced diet, had held their price at $1/lb all these years while beef prices rose. They have now raised the price to $3.10/lb, over 300%! The ‘Big Cat Rescue’ buys 64,000 pounds of beef per year. This will increase their food bill by $128,000 this year–a HUGE number for any organization to have to contend with! Here is a video about the issue:
Big Cat Rescue must continue to feed their cats the best quality food they can buy, so they are asking for everyones help. Please donate towards the cats’ food at www.bigcatrescue.org or mail donations to 12802 Easy St., Tampa, FL 33625.
Here is also a “Wish List” they supplied us which contains various items they need to continue their daily operations. Please look over this list and see if there might be something you could help them out with:
Big Cats Wish List
- Chocolate Fountains for our parties, preferably commercial grade 44 inch tall.
- Pet carriers (medium and large).
- Large, strong nets.
- Walkie Talkies and a PA system (Motorolla only)
- Unused 3cc syringes with 18-22 Ga. needles for shots.
- Gas masks for anesthesia, small to REALLY large. (Not the military type for combat)
- Lawn Tools of all kinds, especially shovels, rakes, limb loppers, weed eaters.
- Garden hoses, sprayers and nozzles. Hoses need to be: New, Heavy Duty, Anti-Kink, Garden Hose in 25 ft length only. These are available at Home Depot.
- Commercial grade ladders in excellent repair and various sizes.
- Bird feeders to attract birds into visual range.
- Canoes and paddles, paddle boats, etc.
- Storage containers of all sizes.
- Cat books for our gift shop and educational center.
- Copy paper, office supplies.
- Plants, flower and grass seeds. Plants, shrubs, trees… Please check the toxic list first if you are donating plants.
- Old perfumes for attracting cats into favored spots.
- Old spices for cat enrichment that have not been opened. The cats are intrigued with new scents. For their safety however, we cannot offer spices to them that have been opened and sent to us by people we do not know. The cats often ingest these. The cats favorite spices are: allspice, oregano, nutmeg, apple pie spice, and Italian seasonings. We use most spices that are used for cooking however we do not use any spices mixed with pepper or salt.
- New AA batteries or rechargeable with charger for radio contact.
- Small T.V.s, Radios, animal videos or DVDs for intern housing.
If you have yard sale items, volunteer Kym has a yard sale for Big Cat Rescue every weekend and can sell your stuff with the money going to the cats. Email her at CornishGirl7@msn.com
You can ship any of the above to Big Cat Rescue at 12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL. 33625 along with an invoice estimating the value and we will mail a Donation Receipt back to you. Thank you for helping the Big Cats at Big Cat Rescue!
We ask that everyone please consider chipping-in (even if it is a small amount) to help these guys continue to do the amazing job they do for all these poor cats. And we strongly encourage you to stop by and visit the Big Cat Rescue next time your in the Tampa area, you will be glad you did. Make sure you tell them OMG sent you.
Thanks for caring from all of us at OMG