We provide homes to many large exotic animals. Here are the stories of our big cats and our bear.
Lucious (a.k.a. Sweet Lu)
Black Mane/Barbary Lion
Lucious is a very sweet lion. Unfortunately, he is also a very sick lion. He suffers from a genetic condition known as Hypovitaminosis, which is a condition affecting many lions bred in captivity. Lucious receives vitamin A treatments that will hopefully stabilize his condition, and we plan on having Sweet Lu be a part of The CARE Foundation for many years to come.
To read Lucious’ full story, click here.
Tyrian originally came to us to be companion to one of our other older tigers. When that tiger sadly passed away, Tyrian found a new playmate in young Danarus.
They share an exercise area where they get to romp together almost every day. Tyrian is playful and social, but can break out in random acts of wildness. He certainly keeps us on our toes, but it makes us love him even more.
Danarus came to us from California. Zoos are usually not interested in taking in mixed breed animals, so she was considered a “surplus animal” with nowhere to go. We happily took her in despite the fact that she exhibited every bad habit a young tiger could have. Given that she is super intelligent and a quick-learner, she soon settled into being a loving member of our big cat family (even though she still tackles her best buddy, Tyrian, on a regular basis).
Katrina was a last minute surprise for us. The day before Danarus was shipped to us from California, we learned of another young tiger in the area that needed placement. At 9 weeks old, Katrina had already had three owners. She had been taken off the bottle far too early and was in dire need of a safe and stable home. So the next day, we picked up two tigers instead of one. Now “Special K” is the best-behaved tiger in the bunch (except when she gets growly over food).
Leopards and Panthers
Asian Black Leopard
Toshi came to us with six other animals from a production facility that was forced to shut down. When she and her son, Makoto, came to us, they were nothing but skin and bones. Starving, we did not think either one of them would survive. But, with time, good food, and lots of TLC, Toshi and Makoto fought their way back to health.
The nutritional deficiencies Toshi underwent early in life means she is a bit smaller than most adult leopard females, but she makes up for it by being spunky and playful, even now that she is a senior citizen.
Asian Black Leopard
Makoto also came from same production facility as his mother, Toshi, and just like the other animals we received, was underweight and needed a lot of attention to get back to good health.
When he came in, we were told that Makoto was so aggressive that there had been talk of putting him down. However, once he regained his health and had a stable, suitable living environment, Makoto’s behavior issues became a thing of the past. Today, he is a playful, sweet leopard with a heart of gold.
Piper Stock Florida Panther
Elita was born in South Florida wildlife facility and was specially chosen to be an ambassador for her species. There are estimated to be only 100-180 wild Florida Panthers in existence today, and they and their habitats are in critical need of protection. Elita is a prime example of her species, with her powerful hind legs made for jumping and signature “swamp screamer” cry. She works hard to raise awareness about the struggles of the highly endangered Florida Panther and how we can help her and the rest of her kind from becoming extinct.
Male Florida Panthers roam an average territory of 200 square miles. It is this need for such a vast and protected territory that is making their fight back from extinction so difficult. But it is important to remember they are an umbrella species. They protect many other plants and animals that live in their habitats. At the top of the food chain, Florida Panthers help keep feral hog numbers in check and deer, raccoon and other prey populations balanced and healthy.
Rufio came to us a former production animal having been on stage and TV. However, when the production company who owned him could no longer use him, he just sat in a little cage doing nothing. So, his trainer brought him to live with us so that he could live a fuller life while still receiving the hands-on attention he was used to.
When Rufio first arrived, he wasn’t really sure about the monkeys who lived next door, but once he got used to the noise, he settled in just fine. He loves to play in his pool and many of our staff and volunteers have walked away from his area after being “Serval Slimed.”
Hannibal came to us from Montana to be a part of our educational team. When we realized he wasn’t really that fond of travelling, we decided to retire him to what has become one of our staff’s favorite “families.” He lives with an elderly raccoon, Louise, who helped raise him, plus three black and white domestic cats.
This motley crew is always up to something, whether it is sleeping in a big pile or bouncing off the walls for fun. Hannibal truly is a cherished and sweet member of our wild cat family.
North American Black Bear
Lola was purchased at a wildlife auction by a trainer to be used in a T.V. show that was filming here in Florida. When they were finished, the trainer was going to take her back to the auction to be sold. Bears very rarely go to good homes through auctions, and we felt she had been through enough, so we raised money to build her a home and take her in.
Now she is our spokes-bear with the media when it comes to Black Bear issues in Florida. She works hard to help people respect local bears as we build homes further and further into their remaining habitat and is an ambassador for bear conservation world-wide.