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Pinatas and pumpkins at Big Cat Rescue

Published Oct. 17, 2013

Like domestic cats, exotic cats are curious about anything new and different in their environments. So, Big Cat Rescue decided to offer a little holiday-themed enrichment to their charges. The center is home to more than 100 big cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats and more.

On Thursday morning the tigers, T.J. and Bengali, got to pounce upon and attack unsuspecting pumpkins filled with meat.

Reno the golden leopard got to catch a fluttering ghost pinata as it hung from a tree within his enclosure. Treats, like carved pumpkins filled with meat or papier-mache ghosts hanging from trees, provide the big cats with mental stimulation.

"Enrichment is something we try to (offer) on a regular basis," said Gale Ingham, Big Cat Rescue's operations manager. "(Outside) captivity, these animals would have hundred of miles to scent, look at, dig up and trees to climb. In captivity, they don't have that opportunity."

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