In Carole Baskin’s dream world, there would be no lions and tigers in cages. That includes at her own facility — a certified sanctuary called Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, Florida.
Big Cat Rescue is home to 89 lions, tigers, ocelots, sand cats, bobcats, cougars and other big cats. Baskin keeps a spreadsheet of how each animal got to her, along with information about the animals that she’s been contacted about but hasn’t taken in.
It’s a grim read. There’s a bobcat kept as a pet, whose owner no longer wants him. A lioness seized in a drug raid. A tiger and a lion who used to be with the circus. A coatimundi losing his home because his owners are getting divorced. A cat merely identified as a “hybrid” found in the back of a U-Haul, along with a dead bobcat. Three tigers who need to go somewhere because the zoo where they’re living says they can’t afford to feed them anymore.