Archive for the ‘Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act’ Tag

Global Tiger Day 2015   Leave a comment

gtd banner tony

International Tiger Day, or Global Tiger Day – created at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 – is celebrated on July 29th. Its’ goal is to raise world awareness for wild tigers and support for their conservation. Tigers are magnificent majestic big cats who deserve our utmost respect, protection and advocacy. We ‘d like to contribute to this important day by posting links to visit to learn more about wild tigers, captive tigers, and of course to show our love and support for Tony ~ who has himself raised awareness to the plight of captive tigers in the U.S.

WILD TIGERS

Sadly there are only an estimated 3,200 of Tony’s “cousins” remaining in the wild,  a decline of 97% since the turn of the century.

Six sub-species remain: Amur, Bengal, Sumatran, Indo-Chinese, Malayan, South China (functionally extinct – has not been sighted in the wild for more than 25 years); three are extinct: Bali, Caspian and Javan.

Poaching, human-tiger conflict, loss of habitat and prey are the main threats to tigers.

 

Learn more about wild tigers at these links:

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/tigers/tiger_wwf_double_tiger_number/

http://tigerday.panda.org/

http://www.bornfree.org.uk/animals/tigers/

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/saving-the-last-tigers

tiger collageCAPTIVE U.S. TIGERS

Tony is one of the estimated 5,000 or more privately owned tigers in the United States and his plight has definitely raised awareness to this serious issue. Captive U.S. tigers are used in roadside zoos and attractions, photo ops and exhibitions, entertainment shows and circuses, pseudo-sanctuaries, bred for profit or are owned as “pets.” From IFAW: “Private possession of big cats is a legal patchwork: 30 states ban private possession, 14 states allow possession with a permit, and 6 states have absolutely no restrictions on private possession at all. All states but for Kentucky, Ohio, and Washington exempt USDA licensees.”

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/big-cat-advocates-map

http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/education/captive-wildlife-laws/

TAKE ACTION! Protect Tigers: Keep Them Out of American Backyards!

“Shockingly, there are about 5,000 captive tigers in the US—many more than in the wild. Almost all of the captive tigers are owned privately as pets—not by zoos or accredited institutions. Because there isn’t a system to keep track of the tigers, both the American public and the tigers are at risk.”

Please take action at the following link:
https://support.worldwildlife.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=797

THE BIG CATS AND PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ACT

One of the most important ways we can help tigers like Tony and other captive big cats in the United States is to support The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. This bill would prohibit the private possession and breeding of captive big cats in the United States except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed. It would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions.

When the Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act is reintroduced, actions to take will be posted, but in the meantime you can learn more about this legislation here:
http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-act/

TONY

We truly appreciate everyone’s dedication to Tony and support of his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary. Tony has become the “poster tiger” for captive U.S.  tigers and has raised awareness to this serious issue globally through social media.

A recent Dodo article about Tony’s 15th year at Tiger Truck Stop got tremendous response and support when Mr. Ricky Gervais tweeted it.

ricky g 7.24

We support ALDF’s continued efforts to secure Tony’s release to a reputable big cat sanctuary, three of which have standing offers of a home for him:

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida ~ http://bigcatrescue.org/

The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone MN ~ http://www.wildcatsanctuary.org/

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg CO ~ http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

For those of Tony’s friends who may be new to his story, we ask you to reference these articles from Tony’s legal reps The Animal Legal Defense Fund to learn more about the legal battle to “Free Tony The Tiger”:

http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/

http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

Special Thanks to Animal Legal Defense Fund for their extraordinary representation of Tony and dedication to him. Please visit their site to learn more about them and their tremendous work to help animals through the legal system and support their Animal Bill of Rights.

  • Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the law remains open and has over 51,000 signatures:

http://www.change.org/petitions/ldwf-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

Petitions provide a platform to keep people supportive, involved and updated as well as to demonstrate the interest and support Tony has worldwide.

  • Social media is a major component of the “Free Tony The Tiger” Campaign

Join ~ Follow ~ Share these social networking sites for Tony

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

Twitter:
@FreeTonyTiger http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger
@TonyTiger2000 http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

Instagram: http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

WordPress: https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

If you visit Tony, document your visit with pictures and/or video and please share them. Send us a tweet via Twitter or email: roar4tony@yahoo.com

Please share this post and ROAR FOR TIGERS on GLOBAL TIGER DAY!

ROAR TONY WM

Tony Is A Finalist For A Shorty Award!! #Shorty4Tony   Leave a comment

finalist shorty 4 tony

Shorty Awards finalists have been announced and for the second year in a row…TONY IS A FINALIST!!

THANKS to ALL of Tony’s friends who nominated, tweeted and shared!  This is a great platform to bring Tony’s story and that of captive tigers to more people.

Each Official Category will have 7 finalists. These include 3 with the most nominations from the public, 3 selected by members of the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences which is comprised of luminaries from advertising, media, entertainment and the internet, and 1 Wildcard Finalist.”

The winners of the 7th Annual Shorty Awards, as chosen by The Academy, will be revealed at the ceremony on April 20th, 2015 at TheTimesCenter at the New York Times building in New York City.

Please join us in congratulating Tony by sharing this post! Easy share buttons below and if you’re on Twitter be sure to follow @TonyTiger2000 and use the hashtag #Shorty4Tony

Shorty Awards Nominations CLOSED! Thanks For Your Support!   Leave a comment

DSCN2914

Shorty Nominations Closed! Finalists Will Be Announced Soon…Thanks For Your Support! Photo ©FreeTonyTheTiger2014

 

Just a quick note to THANK all of Tony’s friends for their awesome support during the Shorty Awards. Nominations CLOSED on February 19th, 2015; the Shorty Awards website states that “All finalists will be announced soon.”

“Tony’s” Shorty Awards Campaign objective is to raise awareness for captive tigers and he does an awesome job of it by tweeting ways for friends to take action.

For more of Tony’s Big Cat Caturday tweets click here: http://tinyurl.com/tonytigertweets

CAPTIVE U.S. TIGERS

Captive U.S. tigers are used in roadside zoos and attractions, photo ops and exhibitions, entertainment shows and circuses, pseudo-sanctuaries, bred for profit or are owned as “pets.” From IFAW: “Private possession of big cats is a legal patchwork: 30 states ban private possession, 14 states allow possession with a permit, and 6 states have absolutely no restrictions on private possession at all.” ( http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/big-cat-advocates-map )

THE BIG CATS AND PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ACT
One of the most important ways we can help tigers like Tony and other captive big cats in the United States is to support The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. This bill would prohibit the private possession and breeding of captive big cats in the United States except at highly-qualified facilities like accredited zoos where they can be properly cared for and safely managed. It would only allow breeding at accredited zoos, along with some research or educational institutions.

Learn more about this legislation here: http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-hr1998-s1381/ (via Big Cat Rescue ~ Tampa FL)

Click the social media buttons in the picture below and

GET SOCIAL with TONY!!

LIKE TONY ON FACEBOOK! FOLLOW @TONYTIGER2000 ON TWITTER! CHEK OUT @TONYTHETRUCKSTOPTIGER ON INSTAGRAM! WATCH TONY ON YOUTUBE! PIN WITH TONY ON PINTEREST! SUBSCRIBE TO TONY'S BLOG! Image HTML map generator

 

Last Day To Nominate @TonyTiger2000!!   Leave a comment

shorty last day

CLICK TONY’S PICTURE TO NOMINATE HIM FOR A SHORTY AWARD!!

 

Nominations for the Shorty Awards end TONIGHT – Thursday February 19th, 2015 at 11:59pmEST!

If you have a Twitter account please vote for Tony and help raise awareness for him and captive tigers in the United States.

It’s so easy to vote! Options:

1. Click Tony’s picture in this post, you’ll get a “Share a link with your followers” box. Then just click the Tweet button. Please be sure to leave the #nonhuman hashtag in the tweet.

or

2. Visit: http://shortyawards.com/TonyTiger2000?category=nonhuman Add your reason why you’re nominating Tony and click Tweet Your Nomination! Please leave the category as Non-Human!

or

3. On Twitter: Send a tweet that starts with:

I nominate @TonyTiger2000 for a Shorty Award in #nonhuman because…

(Votes must have a reason after “because…” or they won’t count!)

Note: Retweeted nominations and tweets starting with @replies do not count toward the rankings. Voting for the same person in the same category more than once just replaces the text of your original vote; it does not count as an additional vote.

Please share this post…easy share buttons below…ROAR FOR TONY!!

Shorty Awards Update!   Leave a comment

wix for wp
Click the tweet button to nominate Tony!

Thanks everyone for nominating Tony and sharing the information on Tony’s Shorty Awards Campaign. If you’ve voted please continue to share the info.

Voting ends February 19th 2015 at 11:59pmEST ~ So if you haven’t voted please do!

As of this post Tony is in 4th place with 142 nominations. Each Official Category will have 7 finalists. These include 3 with the most nominations from the public, 3 selected by members of the Real-Time Academy and 1 Wildcard Finalist. The Wildcard Finalist will be selected by the Nominating Board from among the top 25 nominees with the most nominations after the nominating period ends.

Ways to Nominate:

  • Click the Tweet button in the picture above
  • On Twitter: Send a tweet that starts with:

I nominate @TonyTiger2000 for a Shorty Award in #nonhuman because…

Votes must have a reason after “because…” or they won’t count!

Note: Retweeted nominations and tweets starting with @replies do not count toward the rankings. Voting for the same person in the same category more than once just replaces the text of your original vote; it does not count as an additional vote.

Rules: http://shortyawards.com/rules

Watch and share Tony’s Campaign video:

ROAR for Tony & Captive Tigers!!

Tony’s Shorty Awards Campaign Video   Leave a comment

If you have a Twitter account Please Nominate Tony for a Shorty Award!

There are two ways to nominate Tony:

  • On Twitter: Send a tweet that starts with:

I nominate @TonyTiger2000 for a Shorty Award in #nonhuman because…

Votes must have a reason after “because…” or they won’t count!

Share Tony’s video and this post, vote, and ROAR FOR TONY & CAPTIVE TIGERS!

shorty rules

 

Smithsonian Magazine: America Has a Tiger Problem And No One’s Sure How to Solve It   Leave a comment

Re-posting this article from Smithsonian Magazine that mentions the importance of The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act,  (see links below to ask your Congressional reps to co-sponsor it) and features Tony’s picture and story.

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/ask-senate-protect-people-and-big-cats

http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/get-involved/tell-congress-protect-people-and-big-cats

smith tony 2

America Has a Tiger Problem And No One’s Sure How to Solve It
No one even knows how many of the big cats are in the United States
By Max Kutner
Smithsonian Magazine
February 2015

Clayton James Eller loved going to his aunt’s house in Millers Creek, North Carolina, where he got to visit Tigger, her 317-pound pet Bengal tiger. One December day in 2003, ten-year-old C.J. was shoveling snow near Tigger’s outdoor pen when the animal attacked him from an opening in the chain-link fence and dragged him under. C.J.’s uncle grabbed his rifle and shot the tiger, but the boy died before he reached the hospital.

Tiger attacks in the United States are always dramatic news—there were 27 reported between 1990 and 2006, with seven people and most of the tigers killed. But maulings aren’t the only problem arising from the perhaps surprising fact that there are more captive tigers in the U.S. than there are wild tigers on earth.

Conservationists estimate that about 3,200 wild tigers remain around the world, while there are some 5,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S., according to the World Wildlife Fund. Even that number is probably low, says Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, because reporting is “based on the honor system, and we’re dealing with a lot of people that are really dishonorable.” Edward J. Grace, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s deputy assistant director for law enforcement, estimates that the nation is home to more than 10,000 captive tigers. Only about 350 of those, says the WWF, are held in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

For the thousands of tigers in private hands, from those in big-top circuses and roadside attractions to others in backyard dens, the regulations are inconsistent at best. Six states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, Alabama and West Virginia) place no restrictions on owning a tiger; 14 states require a permit; and 30 states prohibit ownership, though in some of those states people have been known to flout the law, as in the famous case of the man who kept a tiger in his apartment in Harlem.

One of the problems associated with these captive tigers, animal welfare advocates say, is that many of the creatures suffer. For example, the popular and stunningly beautiful white tigers—all descendants of a single, anomalous albino Bengal named Mohan, captured in 1951, and bred with his daughter—continue to be inbred with immediate family members to disabling effect; one frequent defect is severe strabismus, or crossed eyes, which hampers vision and coordination. Moreover, animal rescuers point out that many privately owned tigers live in deplorable conditions. Some tigers spend lifetimes in small, unsanitary enclosures. And wildlife advocates have accused tiger cub exhibitors of depriving the cats of sleep and exercise, and endangering both animals and people. One well-known captive animal is Tony the Tiger, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal mix who has spent more than a decade in a cage at a truck stop in Louisiana. Baskin has been working with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to bring Tony to her sanctuary, but not everyone thinks his owner should be forced to send him. A Facebook group called “Keep Tony Where He Is” has more than 10,000 “Likes,” and Tony’s owner has called animal rights activists terrorists.

Some advocates argue that America’s other tiger problem, to put it bluntly, is hypocrisy, at least on the world stage. In China, a booming market for tiger parts has fueled the growth of legal “tiger farms,” where the animals are raised to be slaughtered for luxury décor (a tiger pelt can run tens of thousands of dollars) and pricey tiger-bone wine (up to $135 for a half-liter bottle). U.S. conservation groups and others have criticized the tiger farms both on humane grounds and for stoking demand for tigers—including poached wild animals. But Chinese officials dispute the claim that farmed tigers threaten animals in the wild, and, in any case, Americans have little credibility on the subject, given our own large but untallied population of neglected tigers and the patchwork of weak or nonexistent protections, according to J.A. Mills, a wildlife conservationist and author of the new book Blood of the Tiger. “U.S. tigers have a direct bearing on what China does,” she says, “and what China does has a direct bearing on whether wild tigers survive.”

So some advocates are heartened that America is trying to get its regulatory act together. The Fish and Wildlife Service has long overseen buying and selling “pure” tiger subspecies (such as Bengals and Amurs) across state lines, but the agency has limited authority because most privately held tigers are mixed breeds; a 2011 move to expand the agency’s authority over all tigers is reportedly close to being approved. Even more sweeping is the proposed Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, which would formally restrict tiger ownership to facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. (A grandfather clause would allow unaccredited owners to keep their tigers as long as they register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.) The bipartisan bill was introduced in 2013 and may come up again in the new Congressional term. Some tiger owners and businesses feel the bill is overly restrictive, but proponents say it would go a long way toward closing the gap between what we say about the treatment of captive tigers and what we’re actually willing to do about it.

Direct Link: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/america-has-tiger-problem-and-no-ones-sure-how-solve-it-180953974/

Nominate Tony For A Shorty Award! @tonytiger2000 @shortyawards   Leave a comment

2015 shorty tonyIt’s time for the Shorty Awards again…with your great support, last year we had tremendous success (Tony was one of the finalists in the non-human category last year) with getting the word out about Tony and the plight of captive tigers in the United States.

So…if you tweet and want to help raise awareness for Tony and the est. 5,000 plus privately owned tigers in the U.S. Nominate Tony for a Shorty Award! Twitter has been a very effective platform for networking Tony’s story and the serious issue of privately owned tigers and big cats in the United States and how we can help by supporting legislation – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act – to end private ownership of these magnificent yet dangerous animals. Captive tigers suffer in roadside zoos, circuses, and traveling exhibitions; tigers cubs are bred for profit and used in photo & feeding ops, when they are no longer longer “cute” and “legal” to exploit, and turn into 300 to 500 lb. dangerous cats, they face years of captive life in roadside zoos/exhibits and pseudo-sanctuaries. Others are bred to produce more cubs, end up in canned hunts, or are killed and sold on the black market.

The Shorty Awards are a worldwide effort to engage hundreds of thousands of Twitter users to identify the best people – (and tiger) – and organizations on social media. The 7 nominees with the most nominations in this category (nonhuman) will become finalists after the nomination period ends which is Feb. 19th 2015.

“The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media. They recognize the people and organizations producing great, impactful content on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare and the rest of the social web. Millions of people visit the Shorty Awards site every year to support their favorite social media content creators by tweeting nominations.”

Nominate Tony:

  • On Twitter: Send a tweet that starts with:

I nominate @TonyTiger2000 for a Shorty Award in #nonhuman because…

Votes must have a reason after “because…” or they won’t count!

shorty 2015

Note: Retweeted nominations and tweets starting with @replies do not count toward the rankings. Voting for the same person in the same category more than once just replaces the text of your original vote; it does not count as an additional vote.

Rules: http://shortyawards.com/rules

Please share this post – easy share buttons below.  Nominate Tony and help keep his plight and that of captive tigers known worldwide! Thanks!

Happy Holidays To All of Tony’s Friends   Leave a comment

tony blue silent quote

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays and THANKS for your continued support of Tony. Because of YOU our campaign and advocacy for Tony remains strong and sets such an important example against privately owned big cats in the United States.

There are many actions to take to help privately owned tigers and big cats in the U.S.  One of the most important is to support The Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act.

Here are two links to ask the Senate & the House to support this bill:

Special Thanks to our friends The Animal Legal Defense Fund who continue to fight the legal battle for Tony’s release. To keep up to date with his case and for more background information visit these links:

Timeline of Tony’s case:

http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/

ALDF Page For Tony:

http://www.aldf.org/tony

Thanks also to these wonderful sanctuaries and organizations for their support of Tony and for their tremendous work for animals:

Big Cat Rescue (Tampa FL)

Wildcat Sanctuary (Sandstone MN)

Wildcat Haven (Sherwood OR)

The Wild Animal Sanctuary (Keenesburg CO)

Born Free USA

Tony’s petition is nearing 46,000 signatures. The petition requests the LDWF to enforce Louisiana state law and ensure Tony is relocated to a reputable sanctuary. If you haven’t signed please do and continue to share.

https://www.change.org/p/ldwf-enforce-louisiana-state-law-ensure-tony-the-tiger-is-released-to-a-reputable-sanctuary

KEEP ROARING FOR TONY! Share his petition, “LIKE” his Facebook page, tweet for him and “with him”  and join Tony on Instagram @tonythetruckstoptiger. See the links below.

GET SOCIAL WITH TONY:

“LIKE”Tony on Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/FreeTonyTheTiger

Tony’s Blog: https://freetonythetiger.wordpress.com/

Follow Tony On Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/FreeTonyTiger

http://twitter.com/#!/TonyTiger2000

Tony on Instagram: http://instagram.com/tonythetruckstoptiger/#

Tony on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tonytiger2000/

Tony On Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FreeTonyTheTiger

Wishing you peace, happiness and compassion…and as the New Year approaches we will continue our advocacy on behalf of this beautiful tiger with the respect he deserves.

TONY: Stay Strong Striped King…and to quote your Twitter words: “Merry GRRRRRistmas”

DSCN2789

Yes, There Really IS a Tiger at a Truck Stop   9 comments

DSCN2853

I first learned of Tony about five years ago while I was online researching information about big cats. I can honestly say I had no idea about privately owned tigers in the United States or the seriousness of the issue. I remember falling upon Big Cat Rescue’s (of Tampa FL) website and it was there I read about Tony. As with most everyone who learns of Tony’s story, I was shocked – the more I learned the more I wanted to do something to help. I signed petitions, shared his story, and embraced social media starting a Facebook page, blog, Twitter and Youtube for Tony. Tony even has his “own” Twitter and Instagram.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund took interest in Tony’s case and the legal battle began in 2011. ALDF victories in court prevailed with a judge ruling the permit issued by LDWF to Tony’s owner was illegal; Mr. Sandlin countered with appeals that were ruled against.

See this timeline from ALDF:
http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/timelines/tony-the-tiger/

ALDF’s feature article about Tony:
http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

The most recent attempt by Mr. Sandlin to keep Tony came about with him enlisting his state Senator, Rick Ward, to propose a bill, SB 250, to exempt himself from the Louisiana state law banning private ownership of big cats. SB 250 was passed by the Louisiana Legislature and then was signed into law as Act 697 by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

ALDF challenged this bill by filing a lawsuit against the LDWF, state of Louisiana, Tiger Truck Stop and Mr. Sandlin:

Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Lawsuit against Louisiana for Violating State Constitution with New Tony the Truck Stop Tiger Law:
http://aldf.org/press-room/press-releases/animal-legal-defense-fund-files-lawsuit-against-louisiana-for-violating-state-constitution-with-new-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-law/

Thankfully friends of Tony would visit him and share pictures and video they took which is a tremendous help in maintaining a presence online, updating people who follow his case as well as to gain support when there are actions to take on Tony’s behalf. But with all the pictures, videos, and accounts of Tony at the truck stop, I longed to see him for myself.

I finally got the opportunity to visit Tony recently and it has taken me some time to write this account. The whole experience was surreal, exciting, heartbreaking and bittersweet. I was honored to be in the presence of this majestic tiger but saddened by the conditions he is subjected to and disgusted by the blatant corruption and disregard for a state law that passed unanimously in 2006 banning private ownership of big cats. This along with the lack of concern for Tony’s well-being has shocked and disturbed those of us who are committed to Tony’s release to a sanctuary that can provide him with a natural spacious habitat, excellent medical care, proper diet, enrichment and a peaceful life cared for by those who have the utmost respect for him.

Driving along I-10 I saw the signs for exit 139 Grosse Tete and “LIVE TIGER ATTRACTION” It still seemed like a dream to me…I couldn’t believe I WAS GOING TO SEE TONY – a tiger, known and loved all over the world!

DSCN2782

DSCN2783

As I pulled into Tiger Truck Stop I was anxious to see Tony but remembered a friend’s accounts of visits where he stayed in his den or on top of it where you hardly could see him.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I parked and gathered my camera and phone and walked over to his cage…Tony emerged from his “den” – a handsome big beautiful tiger. I was overcome with mixed emotions: sadness, disbelief, joy, anger  –  I muttered something like: “Hi Tony, I’ve waited a long time to see you beautiful boy.”

DSCN2788

DSCN2810

DSCN2789

I finally was able to see for myself his enclosure which is 4 compounds of concrete flooring with cinder-block dens and a small grassy area that had a ball; platform, old battered tire and what looked to be a kiddie pool in a wooden platform.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tony paced from one compound through the grassy area and back again. It was extremely hot near 90. After pacing for quite some time, Tony retreated to one of the den platforms where he stayed for a while until he came down to eat.

DSCN2799

DSCN2828

DSCN2905

I observed people who stopped to take a picture, locals talked amongst themselves how “they” tried to take Tony away from them; a man asked me where Tony was because it was difficult to see him on top of the den; after pointing out Tony to him he said: “This is bloody sad.”

DSCN2891

A few days earlier I had visited Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. I had been to BCR a few years ago and on both occasions I kept thinking what a wonderful life Tony could have at such a sanctuary. BCR, along with The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado and Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone Minnesota all have standing offers of homes for Tony.

Tiger at Big Cat Rescue - Tampa FL

Tiger at Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL

For 14 years Tony has been exploited at the truck stop as a roadside attraction. He has become the “spokes-tiger” for captive tigers and big cats in the United States by networking the issue to people worldwide and gaining support in the U.S. for a federal ban on private ownership of big cats with the Big Cats & Public Safety Protection Act. United States Residents can take action by asking their Congress Members for their co-sponsorship and support of this bill; visit this link from Big Cat Rescue – Tampa FL:
http://bigcatrescue.org/big-cats-and-public-safety-protection-hr1998-s1381/

It was very difficult to leave to Tony. I thought of how wonderful it would be to see this striped king running, splashing in a real pool or just resting peacefully in green grass – away from the noise, smells and gritty truck stop environment. I told him to stay strong and that we’ll never give up on getting him to a “good place.”

DSCN2926

It was an honor to see Tony. I look forward to another visit – the next time at a sanctuary where Tony will truly be able to experience the magnificent cat he is and live in the home he deserves. Until then, I’ll continue to do whatever I can to support efforts for his release to such a place. Tony has captured the minds and hearts of people globally and his worldwide “army” will never stop roaring for him and his release to a reputable big cat sanctuary.

Stay Strong Tony

tony wm 2014

%d bloggers like this: