I was recently having a chat with some friends about how we sometimes see big cats in the movies, or a magazine and at times they get the cats all wrong. For example, a person might say they love their cheetah print sweater but it is really a leopard print. I know this might not seem like a big deal but for big cat advocates, it makes us wince when we see or hear the cats thought of as interchangeable.
The new year has arrived and with it came a new responsibility for Eddie and me. It is time for us to follow Gracey’s paw prints caring about all cats big and small. Even though we are still kittens, we have grown a bit and learned a lot from Lazy Leopard and Bad Kitty. They have been guiding us and with their help we feel we can begin. After all, small paws united can make a big difference.
I am going to let Eddie go first.
We want to tell you a story…
Panthera’s Leopard Program Is Saving Lives
Two years ago we wrote about a new idea to help save the wild leopard, one of the world’s most persecuted big cats. The beautiful fur of the leopard is highly sought after and to make matters worse, today the demand for leopard skin is increasing among members of South Africa’s Shembe Baptist Church, which has adopted the Zulu practice of wearing spotted cat fur, mostly leopard, during religious celebrations. Even though trade in leopard skins is illegal in South Africa, the Shembe’s estimated 5 million members were spreading the practice.
Tristan Dickerson, Panthera’s Leopard Program Coordinator visited several Shembe gatherings to research the amount of leopard skins being used at these events. It was estimated that nearly 1,000 leopard skins were either worn or being sold at just one of the gatherings that he attended.
Tristan spent a year working with designers and clothing companies to create high quality and affordable fake leopard skins, which he presented at Shembe gatherings. At one event, there was a large number of fake leopard skins being worn by children and elders, and this was a sign of hope for Africa’s leopard populations.
The Cheetah is Racing for Survival
Thank you so much!
You did it! The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club is a finalist for Best Blog Post in the 2013 Petties. We are proud to be a finalist for our blog post Since You’ve Been Gone Our Message to Gracey. This post is very important to me as we work through our grief from losing Gracey.
We have been honored for the past four years, since the Petties began. We were thrilled to win the Pettie for Best Blog Post in 2012 for our Cat Obituary, Farewell Eastern Cougar, I wanted the post to be a voice for the big cats and the trouble they are having surviving in human dominated landscapes. Winning the Pettie helped amplify that voice.
In 2010 we were a finalist for Best Cause Related Blog, in 2011 for Best Cat blog, in 2012 we won for best blog post and in 2013 we are a finalist for best blog post.
Swimming for Cats!
When our facebook page first began, we gave away The Tiniest Tiger books to new friends when they liked the page and it matched a lucky number. Often times the lucky number ended in nine, for nine lives. Our lucky number 49 is Cathy and she works hard advocating for all animals. This month Cathy is swimming a marathon (26.2 miles) to raise money for two organizations – Cat Welfare Association, a no kill cat shelter in Columbus, Ohio, and Lions, Tigers & Bears, a big cat and exotic animal sanctuary in Alpine, Calif.
Cathy’s goal is to raise $2600 – $100 for each mile – with half going to each group. On her blog Big Cats, Little Cats, she is keeping track of the miles she swims, talking about issues facing big and small cats, and featuring adoptable cats from Cat Welfare and the big cat residents of Lions, Tigers and Bears.
Cathy told me that Gracey was an inspiration for her swim.
Gracey is part of the inspiration for a project I am doing in June that I wanted to let you know about. It is a fundraiser called Big Cats Little Cats. For my 50th birthday, I am swimming a marathon throughout the month to raise money for Cat Welfare Association, a cat shelter in Columbus, and Lions Tigers and Bears sanctuary in California, which helped place so many big cats from Ohio that needed homes when their facilities closed.
I too had been to the Ohio facility that closed and met the big cats and the bear that were located to Lions Tigers and Bears Sanctuary in California. Every effort is meaningful and we are touched that our Gracey inspired Cathy, aka Lucky #49 , to swim for the cats!
How An Ordinary Toad’s Extraordinary Night Came to Be
How The Tiniest Tiger Began
Over the last three weeks, we have spent some time reflecting on Gracey’s life with us and I couldn’t help but reminisce about the beginning of our The Tiniest Tiger community that started out on our facebook page. In those first days we talked a lot about the differences and similarities between Gracey and her big cat cousins. One of our first photo albums on Facebook was Compare and Contrast. Do you remember this post?
Compare and Contrast
This beautiful tiger lives at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Notice the stains on her pink nose.
Notice my stains on my pink nose?
Circuses End Performing Lions and Tigers in the United Kingdom
Big changes are underway under the Big Top in the United Kingdom. Traveling circuses have started their season but for the first time no circus will be entertaining the crowd with performing big cats. The Great British Circus was the last show to feature tigers doing tricks and they sent their cats to an operator in Ireland just in time before the new animal welfare regulations became active last month.
The Victorian era ushered in circuses with performing elephants, lions and tigers on tour. The last time the circuses toured without exotic animals was around 1768 when the first modern circus entertained the spectators with horses and riders performing daring feats. Wild animals did not debut in the circus until after the British empire expanded in the 19th century. Wild animals were captured and brought back to be put on display at a time when the average person had little chance of seeing a live lion, tiger or elephant let alone watch them performing tricks.
Over the last couple hundred years, our world is a very different place. We have access to learning about and seeing lions, tigers and elephants from many sources, whether that be a zoological park, a sanctuary, learning via the internet or nature programs on television. We also know more about the big cats that share our world and most people are concerned about how they are treated and find physical abuse unacceptable in modern society.