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UPROAR! The Wildcat Sanctuary

May 2014

Aslan, lion PCML Photography

UPROAR! The Wildcat Sanctuary

Zepo the caraval and Mufasa the serval

May 2014 | Issue 3

Tammy Thies Founder & Executive Director Julie Hanan Contributor Carissa L. Winter Graphic Designer Photography by TWS staff and Pamela Lammersen of PCML Photography

Mission: Provide natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspire change to end the captive wildlife crisis. Vision: Help create a world where wild animal sanctuaries are no longer needed. The Wildcat Sanctuary is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuary Association. TWS is also a member of the American Association of Zookeepers and licensed by the USDA.

The Wildcat Sanctuary PO Box 314 • Sandstone, MN 55072 320-245-6871 Follow us on:

Copyright © The Wildcat Sanctuary. All Rights Reserved.


May 2014

From the Found e


Growing over the years…


t seems like yesterday that we broke ground on the first enclosure for a rescued wild cat at The Wildcat Sanctuary. Over the past 15 years, I have acted as executive director, animal care director, keeper, construction manager, fundraiser, financial manager, and overnight caretaker of the facility. Often all at the same time. Anybody who has started a business understands the commitment and sacrifice it takes. Starting a sanctuary is no different, except there are 100+ animals whose lives depend on us. The sanctuary grew from nine cats housed on ten acres to having a population of more than 100 on a well-run facility on almost 40 acres. Because of our high standards, devotion, great volunteers and donors, we have become an industry leader. During this growth, the priority was the best possible care for the animals and free-roaming habitats. The support for our mission by all of you has been wonderful! Thank you to each and every one of you. As we strived to be the best at animal care, our operations quickly outpaced the business infrastructure and we made some mistakes. We are not alone in these challenges, many in the animal rescue field have faced similar scenarios. Recently, we have made headway in several areas to professionalize our processes: • Engaging industry experts to provide recommendations on human resources and financial policy • Outsourcing our accounts payable and other bookkeeping duties • Hiring a new independent audit firm • Added oversight of expenditures by the board • Upgrading our overall financial policies, including petty cash • Upgrading our overall human resources policies • Creating an office manager position that will support financial and human resources functions • Professionalizing our volunteer program and engaging dozens of our volunteers As we grow, we will continue to formalize business infrastructure and processes. Being stewards of your dollar is just as important as being stewards for the cats in our care. Your gifts allow us to continue to grow to be a strong and sustainable organization for the future. Thank you for your support and care for our important work. Thank you,

Tammy Thies Founder & Executive Director UPROAR!

Zepo, caraval May 2014


Langley, cougar


May 2014

Giving Monthly, Gives Hope….


aomi Wikane grew up on a farm respecting all animals, both domestic and wild. She watched cats keep the mice population down. She watched chickens provide eggs. She enjoyed the companionship of dogs. But, Naomi was shocked to find out how others used the word “farm.” She had visited the Catskill Game Farm, not too far from her farm, back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. As years passed, she heard about how it had changed. Nothing prepared her, though, for what she heard when she spoke with an undercover animal welfare advocate who attended the closing auction there. This person recounted to Naomi the story of seeing big time buyers from hunting preserves buying the animals, knowing what their fate would be. Animal advocates scrambled to help save as many animals as they possibly could from this fate, transporting them to safe sanctuaries. Naomi was terribly distressed as she watched this unfold on the news. Naomi Wikane She heard that the cats were being taken in by The Wildcat Sanctuary. She felt the best way she could help would be by sponsoring Max, the cougar, a Catskill Game Farm survivor. Over the years, Naomi has opened her heart to sponsoring many more cats here at the Sanctuary. Currently, she sponsors different species of wild cats including Scarlet, a clouded leopard, Cedar, a bobcat, Noah and Langley, two of our cougars, and Kona, a hybrid Savannah. For Naomi, TWS is a very important part of her life. She values the care given to the animals as much as values the integrity of the Sanctuary. As she says, “I know I can trust my money is being used properly. Your kind of sanctuary is so needed in this world we live in. I’m not rich. I’m very careful where I spend my money. Helping you folks makes me feel part of something that is good in this world, where so much is not good. And my giving comes back to me greatly in the way you respond to me. I’m a real individual person to you. Not just somebody who gives money. I’m proud to be part of TWS today and its future. You folks and the cats are a real part of my daily life.” We’re so proud to have Naomi as part of our family, too. Two of the most important ways to give are by becoming a sponsor parent, like Naomi, or by becoming a guardian angel through our monthly giving program. It’s automatic and easy. Learn more at Noah, cougar UPROAR!

May 2014


Who Pays the Price?


tiny, adorable white tiger baby. Who can resist? Everyone wants this thrill of a lifetime; to hold one, to play with one, to bottle feed one, to take photos with one – right? That’s exactly what exhibitors are counting on when they offer cubs for petting or posing for photos – for a fee. But, if you knew the bigger picture, what life will be like for that cub when you’re gone, would you still do it? It’s a very lucrative business and one that’s responsible for filling thousands of cages with unwanted, full-grown tigers and lions. White tigers aren’t a separate species and they’re not albinos. They’re a genetic mutation caused from inbreeding regular tigers, father to daughter, brother to sister, etc. Along with the white coat you see, these tigers are usually afflicted with many genetic problems like cleft palates, scoliosis, crossed eyes, mental impairments, etc. Sadly, the ones with gross deformities are often disposed of at birth. The white tiger business is a major contributor to the surplus of regular tigers we deal with. Since litters have several orange tigers, too, where will they all go? Some breeders pick the white cubs that bring in lots of money and euthanize, inhumanely destroy or neglect cubs that aren’t white. When we see a white tiger, we see the lost souls of all the tigers that have died or suffered in order to create this mutation, the one the public is clamoring to hold and play with. Nikita, our white tiger, was one of the unfortunate tigers bred for photos and interaction. This is her story:


May 2014


was born into a sea of light. What a strange world, one that would light up with camera flashes whenever I was around. People would line up to take pictures of me. These humans seemed to think I was something strange. Was I? My first year of life, I was so tired. I was dragged out whenever people came to visit. It seemed everyone wanted to touch me. As I got bigger, the man would chain me down so people would still be able to take a picture with me. I hated this. But, soon, I guess I was too big because he stopped taking me out for pictures. He put me in a tiny 10x10 cage with another tiger. He’d throw food into our cage and we’d fight for it. Thank goodness, I was strong enough to survive and fight for my share. Our cement floor cage was filthy, covered in our feces, and our drinking water was green and slimy. For almost seven years, this was my life. Then, one day, everything changed. Our cages were surrounded by many people with trucks, transport cages, and cameras. I heard them saying the man had died. They loaded us all up and drove away. Where were we going? Would it be even worse?? Miles and hours later, I stepped out into my new home. It was a bigger cage, but still pretty small for a big tiger like me. I lived by myself now, but there wasn’t much room for me in this backyard either. Though the family wanted the best for me, times were hard for them. They called a sanctuary they heard of to ask if I could come there. More miles on the road, but this time when I stepped out of the trailer, I couldn’t believe my eyes! I crept out into the most beautiful area I’d ever seen – and it was all just for me! Now, I have a huge natural habitat where I can run free. I have a pool to splash in, a warm building to snuggle in, a hammock to soak up the sun in, and perches to climb high. I can finally choose my own path to walk. I’m living wild at heart at my forever home, The Wildcat Sanctuary. I’m definitely one of the lucky ones!

Please remember, when you pay to play with a cub, you’re sentencing them to a horrible life in a cage forever. For your thrill, they pay with their lives. Please help us educate others about the sad reality and never support this form of abuse.

Nikita, tigress


May 2014


Growing Older and Wiser…


he day I arrived at a Texas facility, I was overwhelmed with the number of animals that needed help. The facility was closing down and over 400 animals needed a new home, almost 60 were big cats. Their kind caregivers refused to leave their side until each found a new sanctuary to call home. Passing each tiger, one by one, each had their own personality and each face told their own story. One tiger

in particular caught my eye – her name was Layla. She laid still on her den with a stare I hadn’t seen from a tiger before. Layla, was one of nine cats that we’d bring back to TWS while we helped facilitate placement of dozens more. Layla is now our oldest resident at the Sanctuary, though she doesn’t act like it. From the records we have, Layla is almost 24. She has renal disease, which is common for geriatric cats. Your support allows us to give her the specialized care she needs. Layla responds very well to her caregivers and is very


May 2014

active. She even likes to play a game, pulling her water bowl out of her room and dragging it out to her yard, sometimes several times a day. Now, she has a new water bowl holder that she’s been unable to conquer. Diablo Guapo, a black jaguar, wears his age a little more obviously. Being declawed on four feet by his previous owner, he walks tenderly. He still likes to bask in the sun on warmer days, but tends to spend more time in his heated room when the temperatures are damp or cold. Because of this, he has two indoor rooms and your support enables us to provide enrichment to keep him stimulated. His favorite is any kind of paper or cardboard, but he also enjoyed his life-size Easter basket. Then, there are cats who’ve been with us for years, like Sidney the bobcat. I remember picking her up in 1999 at animal control between kennels of barking dogs. She was perky and let out a little bobcat chirp back then. Now, as one of our oldest and wisest at 18, she still talks to her care givers. Her body shows her age, she has a curved spine and walks low on her hocks. She has battled pneumonia, but Sidney, bobcat made it through with grace. She truly is an inspiration. You cannot walk through the Sanctuary without coming across her and she always makes you smile. She enjoys life to the fullest because of what you’ve helped us provide her. In captivity, cats will live twice as long as they would in the wild. No matter how long they have been with us, their time seems too short. But, your help allows us to give them the best days of their lives. Cats with arthritis receive glucosamine, cod liver oil, and pain medication. Their habitats are modified with ramps or steps to help them get up on their perches to

Diablo Guapo, jaguar

enjoy the same pleasures as the younger cats. A slow walk following their caregivers at nightly rounds helps keep them active and enrichment allows them to stretch and move at their own pace. Others cats with renal disease need medication several times a day and extra fluids. They also receive special diets to try and decrease their protein and prolong the life of their kidneys. Watching cats like Layla and Sidney is so bitter sweet. Each day is precious, but we know their time with us is limited. Saying good-bye will always be the most difficult thing we do. And if we never had to say good-bye again, that would be fine with me. But that is not possible. Each cat that eventually leaves us also leaves a legacy. UPROAR!

They leave their story to hopefully prevent others from suffering the same fate. And until the time of no more wild pets, they also leave an opening at TWS for us to save another life. Your generosity and kindness allows us to treat each resident as an individual. Providing what each cat needs medically and emotionally is the best gift we can give while they are here with us. They have been through so much in their past, and yet each forgives and lives every day to the fullest. They don’t think into the future, but instead they enjoy each day of sunshine and each blade of grass today. They relish the moment they are in and they have you to thank for so many special ones!

May 2014


Layla, bengal tiger


May 2014

Layla is now our oldest resident at the Sanctuary.


May 2014


In Honor and In Memory

Gifts through 4/4/2014

In Memory In memory of Anne Wilder John Debee and Michael Shields In memory of Tyler Tenorio Joan Harbison In memory of Aunt Penny Karen Manning In memory of Jan Whitt Jessie Sams In memory of Duncan McGill Pust Yolanda Brantley

In memory of Wickett, Woody, Argos and Mandi Stacy Husby In memory of Marlys Ann Walker David Walker In memory of my beloved Ginseng Suzanne Rausch In memory of my daughter, Sydney McKenzie Kim McKenzie

In memory of Roy and Delores Iskierka – together again Nancy Iskierka

In memory of Winterfyre Sigurd Hobbesson – sweet Norwegian Forest Cat loved by Nancy Rector Marilynne Roberts

In memory of Sadie and Stinker – together again – miss you daily Nancy Iskierka

In memory of Aster Ellen Stewart

In memory of Bjorna, treasured yellow lab companion to Barbara Gislason, an excellent dog loved by many Marilynne Roberts

In memory of Eloise Raymont Joanne Richmond In memory of Melinda Adams Laura Silbernagel

In memory of Everett Anderson Wood, Sr. LaVerne Wood

In memory of my Bengal Maui R.S. Williams

In memory of Kuba, Kinky, Monty, Atlas and Robbie – all rescue animals who were much loved and cared for by their humans Gregory and Kathleen Olson Doris Olson.

In memory of Wild Song Wildchild Jennifer McCann

In memory of Makisha Ted and Barb Saurman

In memory of Stephen Robert Hunter Lorraine May Hunter

In loving memory of spooky Sherry and Joey Pedro

In memory of Anthony Virgilio Linda and Eric Lezy

In memory of my wife, Diane Lee Elwood “Bud” Lee

In memory of Dr. Ron Tilson The Wildcat Sanctuary

In memory of our cat, Rusty Jones Delores and Lloyd Hanson

In memory of Sierra Gloria Pope

In memory of beloved Spooky Barbara Brown

In memory of Pepper and Tofu Brooke Manley


May 2014

In memory of Grandma Hogden Jill and Eric Swenson

In memory of Princess Julie Ronning In memory of Nezumi Laurie Lee In memory of Levi and Meme Barbara Kull In memory of Campbell & Kohlee Mark Phelan In memory of Kookla, the tuxedo kitty Lynda Lowry In memory of Mary Hansen Arlene Vasquez In memory of all The Wildcat Sanctuary residents that have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge Charlene Hogan In memory of Bumpus and Piper Locher Cindy Outlaw In memory of Ronald Phillips Barry O’Rourke, Corinn Murtha, Richard Salter, Nancy Nichols, Jack & Judy Cameron, Lee Strong, Virginia Shaw, Debra & James Campbell, Gordon Hoff, Kathryn & Dean Koutsky, John & Shirley Elliott, Harry E. Johns, Donald & Suzanne Laukka, Don & Lucy Luce, Tom & Judy Tyler, Anne & Robert Patrin, Charles & Carol Kussman, Maureen Phillips, Nancy Hallman Pinzka, JC Unger, Joyce Borgen, Sharon Aadalen, Herman & Karmen Kahl, Pam Kruger & Todd Hamre, Ramona Opal Emmer, Kelley Cahill, Randall & Kimberly Thompson, Marjorie Moreen, Patricia Downey, Richard & Mary Lund, Marilyn Berdahl, Nancy & William Van Benthuysen, Shannon & Corey Gow, Vernon & Barbara Husemoen, Joan Regli, Grant & Debbie Paulson, Gary & Arlene Brame, Randall & Heidi Isaak, David & Ruth Rinker, Robert & Cheryl Powell, George Barry, Carole Wenborg, Arnold & Terrie Pirsig

In Honor Of In honor of Pamela S. Coleman Douglas Coleman, Jr. and Lois Sands Coleman In honor of Carol Anderson Cheryl Nystrom In honor of Audrey Beckstrom Cheryl Nystrom In honor of LaVonne Ludke Don Johnson In honor of Evie Barber – tiger lover extraordinaire Tiffany Anderson In honor of Eduardo Jose Castrillo, Jr. Stephanie Castrillo In honor of Mr. David Menere Dr. Mandy Mottram In honor of Didi Klusmann Morgan Mae Schultz

In honor of Barbara Sharpe at Christmas and for her birthday Rosalind Annen

In honor of Jen Glick Ann Lewis

In honor of Mary Mahley Darci Fredricks

In honor of Polly Stilp and our 51st wedding anniversary Tom Stilp

In honor of Diane Anderson Shilah Fangman

In honor of Kalie and Cheerio Immer Marietta Keenan

In honor of Lauren Humphries Rita Nunn

In honor of Chris Harder Cynthia Harder

In honor of Barbara Sharpe Christmas and her birthday Paula Nelson


In honor of Rosalind Annen for Christmas Paula Nelson

In honor of Elsa Johnson for her birthday Amy Steege In honor of my good friend Ed Cartwright Brian Begley

In honor of Summer Solinger’s birthday David Alkire

In honor of Jeanna Hensler Lindsey Hensler In honor of Royal Chitwan Park in Nepal Pamela Wright-Clark McCool In honor of Elodia Rivera, from Norma Rivera In honor of Wildcat Sanctuary volunteer Sally Thornton Kristine Schulz

Sierra’s memorial Sierra, know you are loved and cherished. Please visit us often. No time is too soon. For now, just sleep peacefully.

In honor of Bonni Kautz Max Christman In honor of Lynn Krapf Sarah Bonnie In honor of Yukari Schilling Jennifer Whyte In honor of Timothy Amstutz and Dawn Perault Bruce and Nan Amstutz In honor of Sue Holden Valerie Holden

Mia’s memorial You are now free in your new wild life. We find peace knowing that you are back again with your mate Max.

In honor of Paula Nelson at Christmas Rosalind Annen


May 2014


Brianna, bobcat


May 2014

From Fur Farm to Room to Roam


or years, Bobcat Brianna and three others lived in 4×8 foot suspended wire cages in their owner’s backyard. Being raised for their pelts, the bobcats were not named. The owner’s 3-year old granddaughter had a very close call while near one of the cages and the owner was also scratched severely, requiring stitches. His family convinced him to reach out to The Wildcat Sanctuary in order to spare the bobcats’ lives. We were concerned for the safety of this family and the lives of these bobcats and, with your help, we were able to take them in. Having never felt grass under their paws before, it was a joyous moment when they were released into their habitat here at the Sanctuary in 2012. Brianna and the others began acting like kittens, exploring their new areas, tossing their enrichment high into the air, batting it around and rolling in the grass and on the different scents. We could hardly contain our tears as we watched them jumping from hammock to den, marking and rolling on everything in sight. Without you, we could never give cats like Brianna a second chance at life!

A family member of the owner has since shared this: “Thank you for taking them! I am very glad he chose to let them live. I told him that you provide the most amazing life for the cats.”


May 2014

Working Together


he Wildcat Sanctuary’s Facebook page is over ¾ million voices strong!! With dedicated volunteer Julie Hanan now running our page, it has quickly grown from 20,000 to over 750,000 supporters in six months. We haven’t spent a dime in order to achieve these numbers. Instead, we believe the engagement of fans qualified us for a “Page Suggestion” program, which is free and that we’ve obviously benefited from. Perhaps the best part of this, though, is the amazing amount of people we’re educating. It’s the best feeling knowing we’re changing minds, around the world, teaching wild cats do not make good pets! “You guys restore my faith in humanity. You do a very special job for these sacred animals. Well done and thank you!!” —Alex Liddle

“It’s awesome that they have some room to roam! If they can’t be in the wild, then I think TWS is the place to be!” —Kimberly Harney Merritt


May 2014

Together, all of us are helping to create a world of No More Wild Pets.

Miracle Match Success!


ll of you came together for two important months and made the Miracle Match program a victory for the cats! Generous donors donated $40,000 in matching funds. Guess what? You blew that away!! During March and April, you raised over $240,000 for the cats, their daily care, and our advocacy work. This includes all gifts received through our various programs. So many of you have been supporting our work for years, others were new to the cause and this was your first time giving. We even had donors as far away as Chile and the United Kingdom. You should be proud of what you accomplished knowing you have made a difference to more than 100 wild cats. Thank you!


May 2014


Sampson, caracal

Adrian, F3 bengal cat

O’Malley, serval

Max, Eurasian Lynx


May 2014

Benson, bobcat


May 2014


PO Box 314 • Sandstone MN • 55072



Details of all our programs can be found at SPONSOR-A-WILD-ONE Sponsor a cat of your choice for yourself or a loved one. As a sponsor parent, you will receive their personal story, photos and updates throughout the year.

IN HONOR AND MEMORY Gifts of $25 or more can be made in honor or memory of a loved one or pet and will appear in UPROAR!

LEAVE A LEGACY A planned gift is a way to leave a legacy of support for The Wildcat Sanctuary that endures even after your lifetime. There are numerous different types of gifts, each with unique features and tax benefits.

email: phone: 320-245-6871 Shazam, leopard

The Wildcat Sanctuary Uproar Magazine - May 2014