Sadly, the wild pet trade is the third largest illegal trade internationally. While the United States bans the import of threatened and endangered species and regulates the interstate trade in the U.S., loopholes and lack of enforcement leaves trade and breeding of these animals rampant.
All but 4 states in the U. S. have some kind of regulation of wild cats (Nevada, Alabama, Wisconsin, and North Carolina have no regulation at all). However, regulations vary from an outright ban to simple registration. As a result, there are still a lot of wild cats living in captivity throughout the country.
Where do your rescues come from?
Our rescues come from private owners, mom and pop zoos, traveling circuses, and other facilities as a result of being abandoned, relinquished, or confiscated by the authorities.
How does a rescue work?
When we receive a call from authorities or from an individual requesting a rescue we evaluate the request against our decision tree, which is based on our core values What We Believe and management considerations.
- Do we have a habitat already available for this animal? We do not accept animals for whom we do not already have a habitat completed or near completion.
- Can we provide a home that is appropriate for the species? Until we have climate-controlled facilities for them, we will not accept Canadian lynx or snow leopards for example.
- Is this a species we are experienced with or similar in needs to one we are familiar with?
- Who is relinquishing the animal? We do not accept “rescues” from active breeders, non-AZA-accredited zoos, etc. who will continue to traffic in that species unless they sign a contract agreeing to close the business and never own a wild cat again.
- Is the medical history known? We do not accept FIV or Feline leukemia positive animals as the resources required to care for them would preclude other rescues.
- Is a move contraindicated for this animal? If the animal is very old or medically impaired it may be better to let the animal remain where they are.
- Can we provide a home for the rest of this animal’s life? In other words, are we financially secure for the foreseeable future? Our Sanctuary Stewards estate giving club is one way we ensure this.