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About Lions, Tigers and Bears
Lions Tigers & Bears is a federally and state licensed non-profit 501(c)(3) rescue facility dedicated to providing a safe haven for unwanted and abused Big Cats and other exotic animals. We are one of very few accredited Big Cat Sanctuaries in the US. We are a NO KILL, NO BREED, NO SELL rescue and educational facility that allows the animals in our care the opportunity to live out their lives with dignity in a caring and safe environment. Our goal is to provide a safe haven for these rescued animals and to educate the public about the growing population of abandoned and unwanted exotic animals and where they come from. Our primary concerns are for the health and comfort of our animals and the safety of those who share these precious natural resources. We will protect and provide these animals with a lifetime home, realizing that environment, exercise, and personal attention are key to their well being. Every attempt is made to provide healthy diets, medical care, immunizations, and whatever else is necessary for the physical and psychological welfare of each animal in our care. In addition to our current family of cats, others in need of medical aid and rest have been welcomed to our sanctuary, limited only by the extent to which we are able to provide adequate help, shelter, and safety. Our original focus was on our rescued cats, but we are concerned with the welfare of all captive exotic animals.
Sadly, in many areas of the United States, there are countless unwanted, abused, and abandoned Big Cats in captivity. In fact, the number of animals bred and born in captivity is greater than that in the wild. In most cases, cats born in captivity must endure horrific neglect and abuse due to the immense responsibility in their upkeep. In many states Big Cats, most commonly lions, tigers, cougars and bobcats, are acquired by roadside zoos and then eventually become surplus animals, are retired from entertainment, are purchased as pets when young, or are sold and bred for profit.
There are far too many stories of abuses suffered by captive cats. The most common is neglect and for this there can be no excuse. A large cat, be it bobcat, serval, leopard, lion, or tiger, cannot be a pet. Many people do not realize that in many states a baby lion or tiger can be bought just as you would a pet dog or cat. What starts out as a novelty – that cute, little 10-pound cub – soon turns into a 500-pound wild animal that is expensive to manage and dangerous to have in your home.
How many tigers live this sort of terrible life? We believe there are about 10,000 exotic cats living in captivity in this country, bought and sold through this exotic animal trade – and remember, only about 5,000 are left in the wild! There are more tigers in backyards across this country than in all the zoos together. The exotic animal trade is a 17 billion dollar a year industry, second only to drugs and weapons. These exploited Big Cats are crassly used for silly entertainment, and when they don’t sell tickets or make money anymore, they are dumped and in desperate need of finding places to live. Then the exploiters buy another young cat and the same sad cycle begins again. It’s so heartbreaking. LTB receives calls every week from people who need to find a home for exotic cats because they can no longer afford them or no longer want to care for them. Owners of these cats soon find out that zoos and sanctuaries, already filled to capacity, have no room for them. These throw-away Big Cats can live 20 years or more – don’t they deserve a secure and happy lifetime home?
When our founder, Bobbi Brink, is asked why she started LTB, she often replies, “After witnessing the heart-breaking phenomenon known as the “exotic animal trade” and seeing the victims of this business, I was compelled to do what I could to help these animals. I have spent many sleepless nights picturing the tortured lives these cats end up living. The places where these marvelous animals are kept are truly disgusting – sometimes in places you would least expect, such as in miserable holding cells with no sunlight or windows, living in cages so small they barely have room to stand up or turn around. Many live in basements, never seeing the outdoors or smelling fresh air. I have seen 10 or more cats crowded together in a small enclosure, where they restlessly pace in filth and fight each other for scraps of food. Some starve to death. A full grown exotic cat costs about $15.00 a day to feed ($450.00 a month-just for food!)”
Lions Tigers & Bears strives to: