Sharing is caring!

What’s your Reaction?
+1
188
+1
36
+1
11
+1
5
+1
2
+1
1
+1
3

It’s a big day at the Wildcat Sanctuary, which recently took in lions from Ukraine. Cat Man Chris, the sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, the Humane Society, and many other rescuers are happy indeed today. Because something big cat lovers everywhere have been anticipating for over a decade has finally happened!

Big Cat Public Safety Act Passes Senate – Unanimously

The Big Cat Safety Act previously passed the House with bipartisan support in December 2020. Then it was reintroduced to the Senate in 2021 and has finally passed unanimously. Next, the Act will move to the President’s desk for a signature, which is expected to happen.

Cat Man Chris with Hoover, the tiger at Big Cat Rescue in 2018.

Cat Man Chris with Hoover, the tiger at Big Cat Rescue in 2018.

“A BIG DAY FOR THE BIG KITTIES! The Big Cat Public Safety Act that will put an end to the breeding of big cats for cub petting/photo ops, roadside zoos and the pet trade in the US passed the Senate today!” Cat Man Chris shared on Facebook.

It’s been a long time coming, and it means lots of changes which will mean less suffering for big cats. Next step is for the President to sign it into law. I knew this day would come, but MEOW, it’s been a long road getting there… when I moved to America in 2008 to work at Big Cat Rescue, all I wanted to do was make a difference.”

Cat Man Chris with Joseph the Lion on World Lion Day in 2017.

Cat Man Chris with Joseph the Lion on World Lion Day in 2017.

“Thanks to everyone else who’s supported this bill and listened to me talk about big cats for the past 15 years; what a GRRReat way to end 2022! Going forward, no unlicensed person can have a big cat as a pet after the long-championed Big Cat Public Safety Act passed in the Senate,” Cat Man Chris said.

Tiger shared by Cat Man Chris via facebook

Tiger by Cat Man Chris via Facebook

What Passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act Means

The Humane Society of the United States discusses what passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act will mean, and it’s complex. The Humane Society mentions big cats who famously got loose in Texas: India, Elsa, and Loki. Fortunately, they found refuge at Black Beauty Ranch.

Often, such cats began as cubs as part of the “cub petting industry” for photo ops and ended up in miserable conditions. They also posed a risk to people in captivity and when they got loose. But that’s about to change for the better.

“When signed into law by President Biden, the Big Cat Public Safety Act will sound the death knell for the cub petting industry and eliminate the terrible risks posed by the private possession of such animals. By closing the door on cub petting and the era of private citizens keeping big cats inappropriately, we’re making the country safer, better and kinder for all. It couldn’t happen fast enough,” says the Humane Society.

Tiger claw versus Marmalade's claw

“Tiger claw sheath next to one of Marmalade’s… tigers should not be kept as “pets” I rest my case!” Cat Man Chris shared last year.

Ukraine Pride of Lion Cubs Rescued by Wildcat Sanctuary

It was an “emotional night” for rescuers at the Wildcat Sanctuary when the Act passed. Those who currently have unlicensed big cats will have to register with US Fish and Wildlife and can’t get more cats or breed them. 

However, cats needing rescue will still find sanctuary in accredited sanctuaries, universities, and zoos. That brings us to four lion cubs taking refuge from Ukraine, 

The Ukraine Pride of cubs all have unique purrsonalities.

  • Taras (male, 4 months)
  • Stefania (female, 4 months)
  • Lesya (female, 4 months) 
  • Prada (female, 6 months)
Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, Ukraine Pride of lion cubs play in snow, 2

Pictures via Facebook/Wildcat Sanctuary

Video via Wildcat Sanctuary:

The cubs will live together, forming their pride in a specially designed habitat in Sandstone, Minnesota. Recently, they were making “lion snow angels” in their expansive outdoor habitat. But don’t worry, they have everything they need to stay warm and cozy indoors.

Below, the cubs play in the snow via YouTube:

The smaller Ukrainian cubs were bred for the illegal pet market but abandoned at a train station and surrendered to Ukrainian rescues. Prada, the larger cub, was separately rescued from the same circumstances. Sadly, they were all imprinted on humans and, as such, couldn’t return to the wild. Their mother’s locations are unknown.

“These cubs have endured more in their short lives than any animal should,” said Meredith Whitney, Wildlife Rescue Program Manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, Ukraine Pride of lion cubs play in snow

Images via Facebook/ Wildcat Sanctuary

The rescue’s Tammy Thies flew to Poland over Thanksgiving to finalize plans to transport the lion cubs safely to the sanctuary. They had taken a 36-hour journey from the war-torn country to Poland’s Poznan Zoo. 

“They’ve been through so much already, growing up around bombs exploding, being transported time and time again to get them safe. Now, it’s time to finally bring them home,” she said.

You can see they are having a blast at the sanctuary, and home for the holidays.

Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, Ukraine Pride of lion cubs play in snow, 5

Efforts to Rescue Big Cats from Ukraine

Caring for the cubs over their lifetimes is expected to cost as much as $800,000 at $10,000/year per cub. The TWS has cared for 300 big cats, offering them the next best thing to being wild, with roomy spaces and comfort. It’s not completely like being wild but given the circumstances it’s the best outcome for these lions.

These four cubs may only be the first of the rescues from Ukraine as international rescue efforts are underway to save other big cats there. 

Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, Ukraine Pride of lion cubs play in snow, 3

You can learn more by following the Wildcat Sanctuary on Facebook as well as Cat Man Chris.

More about Ukraine Lions from the Wildcat Sanctuary:

Featured image: Cat Man Chris with Hoover, the tiger at Big Cat Rescue in 2018 with Ukraine Pride lion cubs via YouTube/Wildcat Rescue

 

 

What’s your Reaction?
+1
188
+1
36
+1
11
+1
5
+1
2
+1
1
+1
3

Sharing is caring!