For the past five years, Big Cat Rescue has participated each May in an annual fundraising day in our community called Give Day Tampa Bay. It quickly became one of the sanctuary’s most significant fundraisers of the year – thanks to generous donors like YOU we raised over $105,000 for our cats in 2018!
This year the organizers of the community-wide day decided to apply their resources elsewhere. We were initially disappointed the cats would lose the vital financial support we’d come to rely upon each year. Then the idea hit us: Let’s continue the tradition with our own fundraising day and hold the first-ever Big Cat Rescue Giving Day on May 2nd!
Our inaugural Big Cat Rescue Giving Day will be even more special because the first $30,000 in donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar thanks to generous donations by Pilot Bank, Pam & Larry Trissel and a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Big Cat Rescue’s mission is first to provide the best possible home to the cats in our care. But the second part of our mission -- to stop the abuse of these magnificent animals in captivity -- is what can enable us to improve the lives of THOUSANDS of big cats beyond those we can care for at the sanctuary. That broader mission is where we would like to use the donations received during Big Cat Rescue Giving Day.
The single biggest cause of mistreatment of big cats is cub petting. The cubs used in this despicable trade are typically torn from their mother shortly after birth so they don’t bond to the mother, deprived of their mother’s milk which has antibodies to prevent disease, deprived of sleep which further weakens their immune systems, and physically punished to discourage their natural behaviors. Then, when they are a few months old and too big to pet, there is no tracking of where they end up or how many die or are slaughtered to sell their parts into the international trade. Some end up as pets in backyards. Many are sold to roadside zoos where they are kept as breeding pairs in tiny, barren cages and are “speed bred” as fast as possible, which is not natural and a miserable, unhealthy life for the mother tigers. Our tigress Priya came to us from suffering this fate for years. Because these exploiters need a constant supply of infant cubs, this cruel industry is responsible for the vast majority of tiger breeding.
What caused Ringling to close and SeaWorld to stop their orca shows? As public awareness of the mistreatment of the animals grew, fewer and fewer people attended the shows. The same thing can happen with cub petting! It looks innocent and adorable on its face, but if knowledge of the abusive and cruel back story of this industry becomes widely known enough, together we can stop it!
Digital marketing allows us to target people visiting areas of the country that offer cub petting and arm them with the real story by drawing them to our CubTruth.com page with intriguing online ads. This kind of internet marketing makes it possible to reach people for a tiny fraction of the per-person cost of traditional advertising. With the help of PPK, the Tampa ad agency that has generously created award-winning pro bono work for us for years, and with YOUR help to fund this effort, we have the opportunity to stop this horrible trade by diminishing demand for it through public awareness. Our initial five-month campaign is expected to educate about half a million potential cub petting customers so they know not to support this despicable trade!
Will you help us in our fight to stop the mistreatment of these helpless cubs? Can we count on your donation to help us reach our goal of $120,000 to raise awareness about cub petting and finally end the abuse of so many big cats?