I started working with big-cats in 1995 at a "sanctuary" in Tampa. I soon discovered the numerous needs and problems of big cats in captivity! The captive breeding of exotic cats is the number one problem facing these animals! Mistakenly, most people think the worst offenders are breeders or private owners, sadly this is totally inaccurate! So-called "sanctuaries" often breed to keep cubs on hand to attract the general public and volunteers. My love for these animals was soon tempered by the knowledge that no-one was on "their" side! Most people see them as financial opportunities, either thru breeding, training or just being on display! In 1996 I raised Majik, a black Leopard born at the sanctuary where I was volunteering. I needed to provide Majik with a large habitat and a secure future so in August 2000 I purchased 10 acres in Springhill. I was then approached by a close friend who needed to provide a good home for a leopard cub, so in October 2000 Kiya came into my life! My only 2 motivations were to give a good home to this Leopard, and if anything ever happened to me, Majik would always have a companion. Majik was neutered at 6 months and Kiya was spayed at 4 months, so there would be no chance of breeding!!
As word spread of the wonderful homes Majik and Kiya had, I was constantly approached to take in other animals. I was very set in the fact I wanted no more animals, I did not want to diminish my time with Majik and Kiya! But I realized I had to do something! Even though they had brought so much joy to my life, I knew there were so many others in need. Wildlife Survival was born completely out of the desire to help! The people who are involved not only volunteer their time, but carry most of the sanctuary's financial burden! People like Debbie, Dale, Laura, Travis and my mother, Susan Moore, who actually moved from Tampa to be close enough to help care for the animals everyday!
Recent events have led me to the conclusion that I should share my thoughts on exotic animals, in particular, bigcats. The level of dedication it takes to provide properly for a large cat is something most people are not prepared for! Think of them as a child, that will never grow up, and one you can't leave with the neighbors, or a babysitter! These animals will always be dependent on you for food, care, & protection, for their entire life, which can be 25 years. Since 1996 when Majik was born, I have only been away from him and subsequently Kiya, a total of maybe a dozen days, the most at one time was 5 days, and that was my honeymoon. Two days of travel to Rome and only 3 days there! My only reason for such a short trip was the thought that they would not understand why I wasn't there! These animals should never be considered as pets, nor as a financial resource!! I annually put approximately 10,000.00 of my own money towards the care of all of our animals, so I do NOT make money from them. I pay the monthly property payment and annual property taxes out of my own pocket.
I work a 60 hour a week job to help support the sanctuary and spend my nights and weekends working at the sanctuary. I would like to see people educated about the need to protect these animals, both in the wild and in captivity. To understand they won't make a good pet, to understand why they shouldn't pay to see them perform, why they shouldn't wear fur! But first and foremost my responsibility will always be to the animals here, and my promise to them, to protect them.
To provide "sanctuary"
copyright 2001 Wildlife Survival Sanctuary Inc