Lions, Tigers and People Oh My! - Tampa's Big Cat Rescue
This time last year I found myself at the bottom of a 250 foot gorge watching women ascend massive chunks of ice at the Ouray Ice Park in Colorado. If you were to tell me that a year later I would find myself in Tampa Florida at Big Cat Rescue taking pictures of lions, tigers, leopards, bobcats and more, I would have said, "That's not gonna happen." This just proves that I have no psychic powers whatsoever. No wonder I never seem to win the Lotto.
The Journey to Big Cat Rescue
For those of you who have never driven across the state of Florida, it has an interesting topography. It's mostly flat and mostly below sea level. In the early morning hours dense fog banks cling to the grass as spectral palm trees rise from the mist.
As I step out of my vehicle to capture this image my mind wanders to the classic horror movie, “American Werewolf in London" where two eager backpackers were warned to “Stay off the moors!” Was there something moving in the fog just outside of my field of view? I reach for my zoom lens to get a better view and the voice of reason whispers, “Get back in your Jeep, you idiot.” I wrestle with the idea and then the voice of my son chimes in, “Get back in the Jeep, you idiot.”
This time I listen and quickly scramble through the wet grass back to the Jeep. I had managed to wander a good 50 feet from the safety of my vehicle. Was there something following me? Of course there was! Life would be boring if “things” weren't always following me through the misty fog.
Let the Tour Begin!
As we moved through the sanctuary eagerly spying on tigers, bobcats and leopards something that I had never considered started to become very apparent to me and my faith in humanity went up about five notches. Not solely because of how well the big cats are treated but mostly because of the dedication that goes into keeping these cats happy and healthy. The Big Cats are the main attraction here but the people who run this place are the real stars.
Volunteers from all over the world dedicate their lives to helping these big cats. There are two words in that sentence that you should take special note of, volunteers and dedicate. Not many people volunteer their time let alone their lives to helping animals in need. The people at Big Cat Rescue are heroes in my book and I am very happy to have met them and their big cats.
Thank you Mark, Chuck, Trundy and Katie for taking us on this awesome tour, treating us like family and sharing your passion for these impressive big cats! I can now cross one more item off of my bucket list.
Mark your photos are stunning! I love the focus on their eyes. BCR is truely an amazing place. The love these wonderful people have for these beautiful creatures is beyond description. My visit changed me forever. I get to go visit again, next week and I am soooo excited.
I'm a volunteer Keeper at BCR and I really loved reading this post. You have pictures of two of my favorite cats (Joseph & Smalls) and they are truly amazing. You have a wonderful gift, thank you for sharing!
What an awesome read! Thanks for sharing! You photographs are fantastic and I can only envy your talent and this entire opportunity to visit Big Cat Rescue. They're truly doing awesome work for the cats. Thank you again for writing this blog post!
I'm sure BCR would appreciate it if you spent a moment of your time writing a review of the tour you took. Another wonderful opportunity to share your photos! (seriously, they're amazing!)
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