Sanctuary accreditation

One reason I support Lions, Tigers & Bears is that it is an accredited animal sanctuary.  LTB is one of the few sanctuaries in the country accredited by two organizations – the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and American Sanctuary Association (ASA).

Bakari enjoys his spacious habitat at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

Bakari the lion enjoys his spacious habitat at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

Accreditation means that a sanctuary meets specific standards for humane care of the animals, as well as operation and governance.  This is important for several reasons.

First, for animal lovers looking to donate to an organization that actually helps animals, accreditation shows the facility is providing a good home for the animals with appropriate care.  Food, water and veterinary care are readily available along with appropriate housing and enrichment.  Here, for example, are the standards of care for Lions, Tigers & Bears.

Lions, Tigers & Bears has a state-of-the-art veterinary facility on site.

Lions, Tigers & Bears has a state-of-the-art veterinary facility for the animals on site.

Accreditation also tells donors that the sanctuary is sound in operations, including finances and government.  The standards include best practices for things like composition of the board of directors and fundraising practices.  Even if you visit a sanctuary in person, you won’t see how fundraising is done or how governing decisions are made.  Accreditation tells you everything is on the up and up.

All this is not to say that any sanctuary lacking accreditation is a bad place.  I have visited several unaccredited sanctuaries that are very good organizations.  But accreditation is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.  It provides assurance that if you donate to an accredited sanctuary, you are supporting a good place.  This is one reason grant-making agencies are increasingly requiring accreditation before funding an animal sanctuary.

Any roadside zoo can call itself a sanctuary.  Accredited sanctuaries do not provide care like this.

Any roadside zoo can call itself a sanctuary. Accredited sanctuaries do not look like this. Source: GFAS

The problem is that any animal organization can hang up a sign calling itself a sanctuary, but that doesn’t mean it is one.  On the most basic level, true sanctuaries to not breed, buy or sell animals, and they provide a lifetime home for the animals they bring into their care.

Some organizations calling themselves a sanctuary breed animals to sell as private pets or use for profit in petting displays or photo booths.  Others sell animals to canned hunts or euthanize resident animals for space so they can charge fees to take new animals from private owners who no longer want them.

Jillian the lion enjoys her large pool at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

Jillian the lion enjoys her pool at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

In other cases, a facility might provide excellent care to its animals, but fail due to financial impropriety or mismanagement.  Perhaps they have questionable methods of fundraising, or they have trouble fundraising at all.  This is equally bad for the animals because eventually the facility falls apart.

Recent years have seen two high-profile cases of large sanctuaries folding and other facilities having to absorb all their animals.  In 2010, amid charges of financial and governing mismanagement, Wild Animal Orphanage in Texas closed its doors.  GFAS and many others worked hard to find new homes for the 400 animals of various species.  Most true sanctuaries across the country have at least a few animals from this failed facility.

Conga, a captive-born leopard, was abandoned at age 5 weeks but fortunately found a home at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

Conga, a captive-born leopard, was abandoned at age 5 weeks but fortunately found a home at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

The other more tragic situation was Montana Large Animal Sanctuary and Rescue, where 1,200 animals were found, mostly llamas and horses, and many close to death after being neglected for years.  The facility had been relying largely on the generosity of a single donor; when that donor pulled the plug, it had nothing to fall back on.  The owners were aging and sick, unable to care for all the animals they had taken in.  Some animals were able to be rescued, but many had to be euthanized.

Accreditation helps prevent cases like this by requiring facilities to meet standards for government, finance, acquisition, outreach, staffing, physical facilities, security, and animal care.  Accrediting groups such as GFAS also work with sanctuaries that aren’t quite there to improve their practices.

One advantage of working with a sanctuary accreditation group is the facility doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel.  An accrediting organization works with lots of other good sanctuaries that are already in operation, and can draw from their experience.  For example, on its website GFAS has several sample documents such as a sample lease, financial statements, and employee handbook.

GFAS also offers a series of webinars to help sanctuary personnel, on topics like grant writing, applying for accreditation, setting guidelines on intake and euthanasia of sick animals, and using technology.

Here is the list of sanctuaries accredited by GFAS.
Here is the list of sanctuaries accredited by ASA.
Here is a photo gallery from Lions, Tigers & Bears, so you can see the facilities for yourself.

Day 28 Swim Report
Number of laps: 45
Time: 75 minutes
Pace: Good pace

Day 29 Swim Report
Number of laps: 42
Time: 65 minutes
Pace: Good pace

Day 30 Swim Report
Number of laps: 40
Time: 65 minutes
Pace: Good pace

Ended up taking Day 27 off due to a very hectic work schedule.  A co-worker has left, and I get to fill in until we hire a new person in a few months.  I really needed the swim coming back — which was good because I had 117 laps to cover in the last three days.  I had planned to split it an even 40 laps a day, but ended up doing a few more the first two days.  So I made my swim goal!!

I hope I can keep close to this pace going into the future because I have felt so much better this month in general.  Regular exercise is very time consuming, but it helps all other aspects of your life.  And I hope my swims have inspired some of you to get started too.

Swim gear

Since I forgot to bring some of my swim gear to the pool one day last week, I figured I’d write a post about the gear I use.  Swimming lap after lap can get boring, so having a few tools to break up the monotony really helps.  And good basic gear is essential to getting into the pool at all.

The first piece of equipment you need, obviously, is a good swimsuit.  I have always bought Speedo products, and with one exception have been happy.

Here is the model of swimsuit I am currently using - a Speedo Endurance Side Shirred Contourback.

Here is the swimsuit I am currently using – a Speedo Endurance Side Shirred Contourback.

Women’s swimsuits come in two lines, one for competitive swimmers and one for fitness swimmers.  Competitive suits are sized in even numbers from 26 to 44 roughly corresponding to bust size.  Personally, I have never been able to wear them.

I go for the fitness suits, sized 0 to 16 corresponding to dress size.  Plus-size suits are also available.  Some are tank style with shoulder straps going straight back, while others are cross back.  I prefer the cross back, but either will work.

For swimsuits I am happy to pay extra to get endurance fabric instead of regular lycra.  Before endurance fabric was invented, I was replacing swimsuits every few months because they stretched out so much and got holes.  Now my swimsuits last at least a year.

Speedo Vanquisher goggles

Speedo Vanquisher

Speedo Hydrospex

Speedo Hydrospex

A good pair of goggles is also essential.  Some people try to swim with their heads above water, but you can’t do more than a few laps that way.  Happily, goggles have improved a lot in recent years in both comfort and leakage prevention.

Different goggles are shaped differently.  To see if they fit your face, try pressing them against your eyes without putting the straps behind your head.  If they stay on solely by suction, they will work.

Recently I’ve been using the Vanquisher goggle.  I didn’t think I’d like it because it’s made more for the competition than fitness, but it has worked great and doesn’t leak.  I’ve also tried Hydrospex, which are more flexible.  The goggles I bought were very comfortable but developed a leak after a few weeks.  I may try them another pair though, because they are so comfortable.

Speedo silicone stretch fit cap

Speedo silicone stretch fit cap – silicone on the outside, lycra on the inside

A third piece of essential equipment is a good swim cap.  I wish everyone still had to wear swim caps in the pool because there’s nothing worse than catching a bunch of loose hair in your fingers in the middle of a stroke.  But I always wear a swim cap regardless to protect my own hair.

Fortunately swim caps have also evolved since the days of grandma’s flower caps.  Latex caps are cheapest but hardest to get on and hardest on your hair.  I avoid them.  Silicone is better, though slick and hard to get on wet hair.

I like lycra caps, made out of the same material as swimsuits.  They don’t keep your hair dry, but they are much easier to get on and off and more comfortable.  Recently I have been using a cap that is the best of both worlds – silicone on the outside and lycra on the inside.

kickboard

Kickboard

Beyond the basics, I like to have two important pieces of equipment – a kickboard and pull buoy.  Most swim facilities have these items on hand for people to borrow, but some do not, so I keep my own in a drawstring bag in the trunk of my car.  (This is what I forgot to bring into the pool that day.)

Kickboards come in various shapes and sizes, and any of them will work.  If I have a choice, I go with the more streamlined pointy type.  I do five to 10 kickboard laps every swim.  They are a great way to break up the monotony and good to switch to when you are tired or hitting an exercise wall.

Pull buoy

Pull buoy

Many people don’t know about pull buoys.  They go between your thighs to hold your legs still so you can work your arms.  I find I swim faster than usual when using pull buoys – which makes up for the slower kickboard laps.  Again, any style works fine, but I prefer the older type with adjustable straps.

Swim fins are another accessory many people use.  I tried but never got into them.  They chapped my feet, and I felt like I was not getting as good a workout.  Your best bet is to try them and see what you think.

Personal care is also important.  Before each swim, I wet down my hair and put on conditioner.  This is very effective in keeping out the chlorine.  After each swim, I shower with soap and a shower poof to get all the chlorine off.  Chlorine removal products such as UltraSwim can also be a big help.

As with most sports, having the right gear makes a huge difference in swimming.  A good suit, non-leaking goggles, and cap are must-haves, while kickboards and pull buoys enhance your workout.  Good personal care habits and products also help keep you from carrying around that chlorine smell.

If these items become part of your routine, you can make regular swimming part of your routine too.

Day 25 Swim Report
Number of laps: 45
Time: 80 minutes
Pace: Somewhat slow

I had a day off Monday due to a busy work day.  Coming back Tuesday I was a little slower than usual, but I got through it and felt much better by the end.

Day 26 Swim Report
Number of laps: 48
Time: 75 minutes
Pace: Somewhat fast

Picked up speed from yesterday, and eked out a few extra laps before the pool closed.  Counting down the last few days of the marathon and hoping I can get it all in!

Photo essay: Cat Welfare Association

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I visited Cat Welfare Association.  I wrote about our visit in this blog post.  Unfortunately, the post had room for only a few photos, and we took a ton.  So I’m using today’s post to share more of the photos that we liked.  Hope you enjoy!

Cat Welfare outsidecat tree

orange look

oranges

cat bucket 2Color codes

cat toy

big boy

cage cat

outdoor yard

outdoors

red collar

white cat

cat tongue

cage cat 2

whole floor

cat box sleep

cat arch

cats toy

cage cat 3

sink cat

little black

Day 21 Swim Report
Number of laps: 40
Time: 60 minutes
Pace: Sightly fast

Day 21 was easier than the day before.  I did an easy 40 laps in an hour, which is slightly faster than my normal 35 laps an hour.

Day 23 Swim Report
Number of laps: 45
Time: 65 minutes
Pace: Fast!

My goal today was only 40 laps, but I got done with that in less than an hour, so I had time for 45.  Good thing – I think I will need 45 a day until the end of the month to make the marathon.

National rally for Big Cats act set for July 2 in Ohio

There’s not a person living in Ohio, or anywhere else for that matter, who doesn’t remember the night in October 2011 when Terry Thompson of Zanesville released 56 dangerous wild animals before killing himself (see definitive journalism on this event from Esquire, GQ, and Cincinnati Magazine).  Police were forced to shoot almost 50 of the animals, including 38 big cats of which 18 were rare Bengal tigers.

Some of the animals killed in Zanesville on October 18, 2011

48 lions, tigers, bears, wolves and monkeys were killed in Zanesville on October 18, 2011.

On the heels of this tragedy, Ohio passed Senate Bill 310, the Dangerous Wild Animal Act (analysis here), to regulate ownership of dangerous wild animals including big cats, bears, wolves, elephants, rhinos, alligators, great apes, certain monkeys, and certain venomous and constricting snakes (full list here).

Owners were required to register their animals with the state while an advisory board worked with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to create standards for housing and care (draft standards here).  To keep the animals, owners will be required to meet these standards and pay a fee to obtain a permit by January 2014.  Certain facilities such as accredited zoos and sanctuaries are exempt.

A patchwork of state regulations on ownership of big cats.  Source: IFAW

A patchwork of state regulations on ownership of big cats. Source: IFAW

One key provision of the Ohio Dangerous Wild Animal Act bans the buying, selling or trading of dangerous wild animals.  This provision is echoed in a new national bill, H.R. 1998, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, introduced into Congress in May by Reps. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

The bill would ban private ownership of big cats except at AZA-accredited zoos, sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitators, state colleges and universities, and select traveling circuses.  Current owners could keep their big cats so long as they register with the USDA, but breeding would be outlawed except at AZA zoos working under a Species Survival Plan and certain research and educational institutions.

These are the conditions in which big cats were kept at a substandard facility called Great Cats of Indiana before it was finally shut down.

These are the conditions in which big cats were kept at a facility called Great Cats of Indiana before it was finally shut down after years of pressure from local activists.

With states like Ohio cracking down on ownership of dangerous wild animals, why is a federal law needed?  First, several states still have no regulations regarding ownership of big cats, including Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  States have a patchwork of laws ranging from no rules whatsoever to a total ban on ownership of big cats.

No one knows how many big cats are in private hands across the United States, but estimates range from 10,000 to 20,000.  This is more than are left in all of the wild.  The trade in these animals and their body parts has resulted in serious public safety and rampant animal welfare problems.  In the past 21 years, U.S. incidents involving captive big cats have resulted in 22 human deaths, 248 maulings, 260 escapes, 144 big cat deaths and 131 confiscations, according to Big Cat Rescue.

This tiger was kept in this shed for six years at Animal Rescue Kingdom in Ocala, Fla.,

This tiger was kept in a shed for six years at Animal Rescue Kingdom in Ocala, Fla.

Having this many big cats in private hands makes for a regulatory nightmare.  A USDA license is required to exhibit or sell big cats, but the USDA, which is also responsible for thousands of zoos, circuses, breeding operations, and research facilities, does not have enough inspectors to adequately monitor compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.  Nor is a USDA license even required for private pets.

Animal welfare is repeatedly an issue for captive big cats.  It costs $5,000 a year to feed a big cat, and thousands more for housing and veterinary care.  Most people don’t have the knowledge or resources to care for these animals responsibly.  Big cat sanctuaries all have stories of rescuing animals from back yards, basements, tiny transport cages, junkyards, apartments, and other inhumane conditions.

Police came face to face with a tiger kept in an apartment in Harlem.  This tiger is now at Noah's Lost Ark in Ohio.

Police came face to face with a tiger kept in a Harlem apartment. This tiger is now at Noah’s Lost Ark in Ohio.

Tigers are perhaps the biggest issue in captive big cat welfare.  Of the estimated 5,000 tigers in the United States, only 250 (or 5 percent) are in AZA-accredited zoos.  The problem is that the USDA allows for public contact with tigers cubs from 6 weeks to 12 weeks old.  This spurs unscrupulous dealers to breed them in large numbers for petting booths and photo shoots.

Once the cubs get too old, however, there is no place for them to go.  These tigers are rarely bred according to Species Survival Plans, which require that subspecies such as Bengal and Siberian remain intact.  Instead, they are crossbred indiscriminately and so do not contribute to conservation efforts.  Zoos don’t take them, and sanctuaries cannot absorb so many unwanted tigers.

Regrettably in some cases these animals are sold to canned hunting operations, where trophy hunters kill them for a fee, and then their body parts are sold on the black market.  In 2000 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uncovered a ring doing just that through its Operation Snowplow, resulting in indictments of 17 people across three states.  With feeding and housing big cats running in the thousands, but a tiger skin rug selling for over $120,000, these cats are worth far more dead than alive.

Tim Harrison of Outreach for Animals relocated Tasha from an Ohio facility that was closing down to an accredited sanctuary.

Tim Harrison helped to relocate Tasha, a mountain lion, from an Ohio facility that was closing down to an accredited sanctuary. Source: Outreach for Animals

On July 2, the International Fund for Animal Welfare will hold an Ohio Big Cat Forum at 10 a.m. at the Statehouse in Columbus.  Among the speakers will be Tim Harrison, director of Outreach for Animals and a Dayton-based public safety officer at the forefront of rescuing exotic animals across the country.  The event kicks off a national campaign for the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act.

If you live in Ohio and have any interest in exotic animals, especially big cats, I highly recommend you attend this event.  To RSVP and for more information, contact Tracy Coppola at tcoppola@ifaw.org.

Day 20 Swim Report
Number of laps: 45
Time: 85 minutes
Pace: Very slow

I took a day off two days ago due to an inordinately busy schedule and lack of sleep.  Coming back the next day was harder than I thought.  First I went to a community pool where you have to bring your own swim equipment such as kickboard, but I forgot mine.  For some reason laps seemed to take forever.  I slogged it through, and hope today’s work out is a little easier!

Cats and kittens galore!

Many thanks to Bob Nunnally of WCMH-TV NBC4 in Columbus for having Doug Grotegeer from Cat Welfare Association and me on his Daytime show yesterday! Doug brought two adorable adoptable kittens, littermates Sal and Dorothy.

catwelfarespecialsJune is kitten season, and Cat Welfare is currently housing 350 cats! They are on special right now. Adoption fees are normally $80, but are now half price at $40, with a second kitten or cat for only $20. Check out this video preview of a few kittens they had available as of Friday.

I always advise people who are thinking of getting a cat to get two so they can keep each other company. We have four cats of our own — two sisters (now 13 years old), and two strays rescued on my husband’s birthday in 2010. They are best of friends.

Cat Welfare is at 741 Wetmore Road in Columbus. It’s open 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Any day is a good day to stop by and see some cats!

Day 18 Swim Report
Number of laps: 45
Time: 65 minutes
Pace: Fast!

I was a little late getting to the pool today and thought I wouldn’t make my goal today of 40 laps. Instead, somehow I managed to swim a few extra. It really helps when you can get a little ahead of the game because sooner or later, you’ll need to cash in those chips.

A webinar you won’t want to miss

In May I attended the Animal Care Expo in Nashville sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.  Animal rescue and sheltering is often dominated by dogs – cats are often an afterthought to the discussion even though there are more cats in homes than dogs, more homeless cats coming into shelters, and many more stray and feral cats roaming at large.

Some of the 2,000 people in the audience at the HSUS Animal Care Expo.

Some of the 2,000 people in the audience at the HSUS Animal Care Expo.

That’s why I was so happy to see consideration of cats get central billing at this conference, including a special plenary session on “Tipping Point 2013 – Radically Rethinking our Response to Cats” (handouts here in pdf).  Led by the country’s top expert in shelter medicine, Dr. Kate Hurley of University of California at Davis College of Veterinary Medicine, the session also included Dr. Julie Levy of University of Florida and Jon Cicirelli, director of San Jose Animal Care and Services.

The session was an eye-opening look at a whole new paradigm for managing feral and stray cats.  It will also be available for anyone to see through two webcasts sponsored by Maddie’s Fund:

I highly recommend that anyone interested in managing cat populations register for these events.

With up to 90 million feral and stray cats across the country, there is no way shelters can rehome them all – and feral cats are not suitable candidates for adoption anyway.  Yet shelters have been admitting most of the stray and owned cats that people bring in to them, and euthanizing the majority for space.  In California alone, Dr. Hurley said, shelters euthanized 2.5 million cats over 10 years – or 756 a day.

Ohiocatsintake

Credit: Kate Hurley

As Dr. Hurley’s presentation points out, these high levels of euthanasia are doing nothing to address cat overpopulation.  In Ohio, for example, intake of cats into shelters rose 10 percent from 1996 to 2004, while the number of cats euthanized rose 11 percent.  During this same time period, intake of dogs fell 19 percent and euthanasia fell 40 percent.

The problem is that even though shelters are euthanizing a lot of cats, they are taking in only a tiny fraction of cats in the environment.  The rest are left out there to keep reproducing.

Of all cats in the outdoor environment in California in 2010, Dr. Hurley said, 61 percent were stray and feral, 35 percent were owned cats allowed to go outside, 3 percent were impounded and euthanized, and 1 percent were impounded and released.

Credit: Kate Hurley

Cat statistics in California. Credit: Kate Hurley

With only 3 percent of the outdoor cat population being euthanized while 61 percent remain untouched, there is no way shelter euthanasia will solve cat overpopulation.  Only 2 percent of stray and feral cats are fixed, meaning the vast majority of that 61 percent will keep contributing to cat overpopulation.  That is why intake of cats has continued to go up even as intake of dogs has fallen.

Dr. Hurley is proposing a whole new paradigm for shelter cats – taking in only as many as they can rehome.  This proposal is the subject of a great deal of discussion and debate in the shelter community, because it feels wrong not to take every cat brought in for surrender.

Credit: Julie Levy

Programs for cats in Alachua County. Credit: Julie Levy

Yet shelters that have implemented this new paradigm, such as Alachua County, Fla., are seeing success.  What happens is that resources once spent on euthanizing large numbers of cats can now be spent on other programs, such as low-cost spay-neuter that addresses the root causes of cat overpopulation, and creative new adoption programs to place more cats than ever into new homes.

Statistics in San Jose. Credit: Jon Cicirelli

Cat statistics in San Jose. Credit: Jon Cicirelli

Nor is this translating into more suffering for cats as many have feared.  In San Jose, the number of cats being hit by cars is actually down since the shelter implemented this program.  At the Erie County SPCA, which implemented a waiting list for people to surrender cats, 14 percent of people on the list ended up keeping their cats while 50 percent were rehomed through another rescue group.

Dr. Hurley has figures showing that stray and feral cats are generally healthy and not suffering in their environment.  Less than 1 percent of cats at Trap-Neuter-Return clinics are euthanized for humane reasons, while less than 10 percent of cats entering shelters are sick or injured.

Statistics from Alachua County. Credit; Julie Levy

Statistics from Alachua County. Credit; Julie Levy

In Alachua County, Fla., where Dr. Levy led implementation of this program, both cat intake and cat euthanasia have fallen precipitously since 1994.  Friendly cats that can be adopted are placed into new homes.  Healthy strays and ferals that cannot be placed are altered and returned to their environments.  Only those cats that cannot be placed into a home and are not thriving in their environment are euthanized.  Alachua County, Dr. Levy says, is “the safest place in Florida to be a cat.”

Of course the dynamics of cat overpopulation are complex, and it will take a variety of approaches to solve this issue.  But until we tackle the root cause of so many cats being brought to shelters, we will never be able to bring down the number of cats being euthanized.

Rather than euthanasia, Dr. Hurley, Dr. Levy, and other experts are increasingly turning to managed admission of cats for shelters and trap-neuter-return for the large population of stray and feral cats. One reason I chose to raise money for Cat Welfare Association is they are practicing the very program these experts suggest, and have been since 1945.

Day 17 Swim Report
Number of laps: 45
Time: 75 minutes
Pace:  Right at goal speed

I took a day off from swimming on July 16 in order to catch up on numerous work and home projects.  Coming back I was a little worried about being slow, but was able to keep up with the pace I want to be at.  The laps went by quickly, and I was able to finish on time.

Lions, tigers, and seven bears

As its name implies, Lions, Tigers & Bears houses not only big cats but bears.  Its founder, Bobbi Brink, directed the move of dozens of big cats from failed sanctuaries and private owners in Ohio to accredited sanctuaries across the country.

Now it’s time for the bears.

Six bears are currently living together in a 15×20-foot enclosure in Prospect, Ohio.

Bobbi is currently trying find homes for and move seven bears from private owners in Ohio who can no longer keep them and want to place them before Ohio’s new exotic animal regulations go into effect on January 1, 2014.

These bears include six that were previously owned by an exotic animal “exhibitor” cited for hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including poor nutrition, neglect, and conditions described as “deplorable”and “squalid.”

Their current owner is better but does not have the resources to properly care for the bears.  All six are living together in one 15×20-foot enclosure – about the size of an average living room.  Such crowding is inherently stressful, and the enclosure has no grass and no enrichment.

Maddie the bear lives in a corn-crib enclosure in Covington, Ohio.

Maddie the bear currently lives in a concrete corn-crib enclosure in Covington, Ohio.

The seventh bear, Maddie, was originally purchased to be a pet.  Not surprisingly, the family decided they couldn’t take care of her after she grew up and considered selling her to a canned hunting ranch.

Fortunately her current owner stepped in, but can provide her with only a small concrete corn-crib cage, where she has been living for the past seven years.

Bobbi is searching for permanent homes for the bears where they will receive the care they deserve in a safe, enriching environment.  Lions, Tigers & Bears is also raising money for a host of expenses including:

Sugar Bear, who came from a sanctuary in Ohio that closed down, now lives in this spacious enclosure at Lions, Tigers & Bears.

Sugar Bear, who came from an Ohio facility that closed down, now lives at LTB in this spacious enclosure.

  • Travel expense for their volunteer team to get to Ohio and back
  • Medical evaluations and lab tests for all the bears
  • Neutering two of the males
  • Transport to new homes (one bear will come to LTB, while the others will go to other accredited sanctuaries)
  • Building an additional bedroom in LTB’s new bear habitat.

It wasn’t easy or cheap for Bobbi to rescue dozens of big cats from Ohio, and it won’t be easy or cheap to rescue these seven bears.  Your donation will help cover the costs of giving these animals happy new homes.

Day 14  Swim Report
Number of laps: 40
Time: 70 minutes
Pace:  A little slow

Day 15 Swim Report
Number of laps: 35
Time: 60 minutes
Pace:  Right at goal speed

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of activities, but I did manage to get in a swim each day.  I am finding that it’s more sustainable to spend a little less time in the pool and go more often than to try to do huge long swims fewer times a week.  I sleep a lot better on days I work out, so I am going to try to work out most days, even if it is for only an hour vs. 1.5 hours three to four days a week.