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. Tampa moves to put freed slave Fortune Taylor's name back on historic bridge

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — City Hall has agreed to return a long-lost honor to the memory of Fortune Taylor, a freed slave who amassed more than 30 acres near downtown Tampa after the Civil War.

    The Laurel Street Bridge over the Hillsborough River was once known as the Fortune Street Bridge in honor of Madam Fortune Taylor, a former slave and businesswoman who amassed 33 acres on the east bank of the Hillsborough River after the Civil War. The City Council voted Thursday to put Taylor's name on signs posted at the foot of the bridge and seek a historical marker telling her story. SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times (2016)

  2. Bucs' Mike Evans, Bills cornerback Gaines could face off again

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has gone up against four Pro Bowl cornerbacks in five games, and on Sunday he could be lining up against a corner he has a history with in Buffalo's E.J. Gaines.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28)  Sunday  in Glendale, Ariz. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Tie in Clearwater downtown development board election causes runoff

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The Oct. 10 Downtown Development Board election for three open seats did not result in the historic dynamic it had the potential to create.

  4. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: The importance of Kwon Alexander's return

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks the importance of Kwon Alexander's return Sunday in Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, pictured during training camp in July at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Top 5 at Noon: Live from Gainesville before Spencer's speech; Why Trump's definition of 'fake news' is wrong

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

    Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute and self-described creator of the term "alt-right,"  will speak at the University of Florida today. [Getty]