This week, we drove out to Kirbyville, TX to the Exotic Cat Refuge there, run by Monique Woodard & family. We met some amazing cats, including: Shambola, Chezza, brothers Simba & Doctari, and Natasha the Siberian Tigers; Tony the Indonesian Tiger, Kantu the Rhesus Monkey and more than a few horses and donkeys. All of the animals at this refuge are rescues, some with medical issues (Shambola has only one lung and Chezza is cross-eyed and awaiting surgery), while others were rescued from some pretty horrific circumstances (like Simba & Doc). You can read about the individual animals and their stories here.
Miss Monique is a fantastic lady! She walked us through her facility not once, but twice! You can clearly see the devotion and joy in the relationship that she and her family have with these cats.
One of the things that Miss Monique talked about was the costs of running such a facility. As one of the only sanctuaries of this kind for cats in the US, demand is high while space and funding are limited. She mentioned that her electric bill during the summer can run as high as$2,300.00 and that each of the seven big cats eat 65lbs of meat per day. The Exotic Cat Refuge & Wildlife Orphanage is also state and federally certified, and complies with USDA and Texas Parks & Wildlife regulations (which means spot-checks and permits).
We had an amazing time visiting, and look forward to going again. Many thanks to Miss Monique and her lovely family for having us out!
If you’re looking for resources to go along with this trip, here are some that you might find helpful
- Tiger Lapbook – http://www.homeschoolshare.com/tiger_lapbook.php
- Life of Pi (book and movie) & The Jungle Book (book & movie)
- Big Cats (Discovery Channel on YouTube) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JEO-ooGkRc
- Big Cat Recue Video (bobcat – an example of what kinds of things these cats may be rescued from) WARNING for content – it’s mostly only one man speaking, but the situation may be a trigger for some – happy outcome though!http://www.youtube.com/bigcatrescue
- Endangered Cats of North America – http://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Wildlife/catsreport.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130321T2053551575
- IUCN Red List of Endangered Species: Panthera Tigris – http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15955/0
- SeeTheWild Cats – http://www.seethewild.org/88/big-cat-threats.html
- Tiger – creative writing worksheet – http://busyteacher.org/14492-tiger-creative-writing-worksheet.html