Big Cats are coming!

Hello from T.I.G.E.R.S. Preserve in Myrtle Beach.  The animals and Dr. Bhagavan "Doc" Antle, the founder and director of T.I.G.E.R.S. are taking some time off since the season closed in October but they will be back this Spring 2012 for the most amazing animal exhibit in the world. 

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Speaking of coming back, enjoy this article.

By Luaine Lee – McClatchy-Tribune News Service

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. –When we think of endangered species we think of the red wolf, the black rhinoceros or even the short-haired chinchilla – if we think of them at all. But people rarely consider the big cats.

Still, they are among that elite group of animals (along with man) who are just trying to make it through the night.

Nat Geo Wild will chronicle some of these lithe predators when it plays its own game of Hello, Kitty with “Big Cat Week,” beginning Sunday.

 Part of the “Big Cats Week” is the National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, a long-term commitment to staunch the decline of these denizens of the wild. While cheetahs have disappeared from more than 75 percent of their range, the cheetah story offers a glimmer of hope, said Dereck Joubert.

“Cheetahs today came out of a genetic bottleneck of about 200 individuals and then grew back up to about 45,000 to 50,000. Today they’re down around 12,000. But the fact that you can actually recover a species is what gives us so much hope, and we think that we can do exactly the same with lions and leopards.”

“A lot of people don’t believe there is even a problem, so they all feel, ‘Why should we worry?’ ” said Beverly. “But through the Big Cats Initiative, we’ve just managed to raise a lot of money for cheetahs, so we will have a lot of cheetah programs out there. We’re not only looking at lions and leopards.”

The Jouberts spend days upon end watching wildlife do its thing. They see the animals prosper and perish. Sometimes it’s hard to watch and not intervene, said Beverly.

“It’s heart-wrenching. On a daily basis it’s heart-wrenching. So I don’t know if we’ve got a certain personality. We have a concern of looking at the bigger picture and wanting to protect wildlife in general. And so it is wrong of us to believe that we are going to play God with nature. This has been happening for millions of years. What we’re trying to do is show how unique and how similar, actually, wildlife is to us by doing that [observing] – and not interfering – even though it is heart-wrenching. Often Dereck and I will say that we’re more emotionally drained than physically drained.”

The two-hour premiere of the Joubert’s documentary, “The Last Lions,” airs Dec. 16.

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T.I.G.E.R.S. want to see you this spring, visit www.myrtlebeachsafari.com for more information on the animals, the Director and the tour.  See you soon!!


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