Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Reise, an 18-year-old cougar, latest addition to Big Cat Rescue

TAMPA — Reise, an 18-year-old cougar, had likely never placed her paws on soil before tentatively entering her new home Sunday night at Big Cat Rescue.

The cougar was transported from South Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Homestead after the owner of the facility was diagnosed with cancer and had to find homes for dozens of animals. The animals were kept in concrete pens. Workers who transported the cougar estimated her enclosure there to be about 20 by 40 feet.

"It's quite likely the first time she's ever walked on the earth," said Carole Baskin, founder and chief executive officer of Big Cat Rescue, as she watched the cougar adjust to her new enclosure, full of grass, trees and structures to climb on.

Big Cat Rescue near Tampa is an accredited sanctuary dedicated to rescuing and providing a permanent home for abused and abandoned exotic cats. The rescue has 106 cats, including tigers, lions, panthers and leopards. The operation is largely volunteer-driven, including the veterinarian who assessed Reise early Sunday and helped transfer her to Hillsborough County.

Veterinarian Justin Boorstein and a group of four others spent a couple hours in Homestead trying to get Reise to enter a cage on her own but had to resort to sedating her. Sedating large cats is risk — the drugs affect each cat differently.

"A lot of times, the drugs will kill them," Baskin said. "Sedating and transporting them is very dangerous."

Boorstein said Reise seems generally healthy after volunteers evaluated her teeth and claws and assessed her for injuries.

Reise was originally from Texas, where she was de-clawed as a cub. But whoever did it botched the job, and her nails continue to try to grow back and cause pain. Boorstein said she will be sedated again to trim back her claws, administer vaccines and give her a microchip.

Each year the Big Cat Rescue acquires about five or six cats, depending on space. In recent years, it has had to turn away about 15 to 30 cats each year.

"We're happy to give Reise a good home," Baskin said. "She seems to be healthy and adapting nicely."

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2443.

Reise, an 18-year-old cougar, latest addition to Big Cat Rescue 09/22/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 23, 2013 12:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  2. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  4. Hernando sheriff: Orlando mother turns in 18-year-old son in pawn shop burglary

    Crime

    Times Staff Writer

    SPRING HILL — Hernando deputies have arrested a fourth person in connection with a pawn shop burglary, but they really didn't have to do anything to find him.

    Elijah Pickard, 18, of Orlando, was turned in by his own mother in connection with a pawn shop burglary, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office [Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]