2019 12 29 Carole Baskin's Diary


Three Year Plan to Close Big Cat Rescue

Good things always come from difficulties.  Losing Sundari and having a key person callously quit and leave us in the lurch brought into focus the end game.  It’s been our plan to “put ourselves out of business” but no date had been set.  Howie, Jamie and I met to discuss the employees’ pay raises for next year and to evaluate the necessity of even having a store.  Onsite and online our store net is about 150k of our 4 million dollar a year revenue, so as we discussed the the idea of closing it down, we began to realize that we could close everything down.

In 1993 we had 57 wildcats.  Windsong and the 56 we rescued from the MN fur farm.  Today we have 54 exotic cats and 6 hybrids, which are considered domestic cats by most.  There is so much competition between sanctuaries that we could easily, never, take in another cat and all of the cats in need would still go to decent homes.  We decided that we would only rescue native bobcats who have a chance at going free.

We lose about 18 cats per year.  Right now there are 17 cats who are already older than our average age at death, which is 18.  The next group behind them are 21 who are over the age of 15, so we are likely to be down to half our current number.  I pointed out that in 1993 all of the animal care was done by Don, Jamie and me, so half as many cats is really reasonable for just Jamie and me and maybe one other person.  By the time we are down to 25 – 30 cats there isn’t much opportunity for a tour guest to see a cat.  We give them so much space to leave the tour path areas that I often wonder how we have so many five star ratings from guests who rarely even see the cats.

We talked candidly about our federal bill.  If is doesn’t pass by the end of 2020 we will know that it probably can’t pass in the 2021-2022 session.    Meanwhile, all of these articles, documentaries and ad campaigns we have going to end cub petting will have diminished that industry so much that it will never gain traction again.  If we close the sanctuary, it would free up more of my time to devote to those methods.  

I said we should close to the public in 2 years and then scale down everything else in the 3rd year to just the revenues we need to feed the cats who are left and keep the bobcat rehab program running.  By the end of 2022 we should be down to just a handful of small cats and maybe Kimba, Dutchess, Simba and Max the tigers.  Jamie suggested we could move the cats to the 20 acre, Return to Eden parcel where rehab and the party house are.  We could begin to sell off the northern 32 acres for development which would be around 4 million dollars.  I think we have about 5 million in the bank.  

I can go back to real estate and I’m guessing that 9 million could carry a bobcat rescue operation for 18 years.  By then Jamie will be 58, as I am now, and probably will be done chasing broken bobcats over the countryside to give them a second chance.  She hates dealing with people more than I do, so I don’t see her wanting to lead a team of younger people and in 15 years, with urban sprawl and climate warming, I doubt there will be any Florida panthers and probably no bobcats out there to save anyway. 

Hi, I’m Carole Baskin and I’ve been writing my story since I was able to write, but when the media goes to share it, they only choose the parts that fit their idea of what will generate views. These are my views and opinions. If I’m going to share my story, it should be the whole story. The titles are the dates things happened. If you have any interest in who I really am please start at the beginning of this playlist: http://savethecats.org/

I know there will be people who take things out of context and try to use them to validate their own misconception, but you have access to the whole story. My hope is that others will recognize themselves in my words and have the strength to do what is right for themselves and our shared planet.

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Music (if any) from Epidemic Sound (http://www.epidemicsound.com) This video is for entertainment purposes only and is my opinion. Closing graphic with permission from https://youtu.be/F_AtgWMfwrk


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