So what happens to these animals that are in the news, plus the many others that don't make the headlines but are abandoned by irresponsible individuals or organizations that obtain an exotic animal for egotistical or financial reasons without concern for its future care? Well, THAT IS WHY WE EXIST. These animals are shuffled off to us, some other sanctuary or suffer a much more dire fate if such facilities aren't available. One of the saddest things we have to do is turn down many animals that need homes on an almost weekly basis because we don't have the funding to care for more animals and build new habitats without endangering the future well-being of our existing inhabitants to whom we owe the most. Unfortunately, unless there is media attention and great sympathy, most people aren't willing to donate the necessary funds to insure the endowment of the animal.
It is sadly the fact that woefully small amounts of money are expended for the welfare of wild animals -- in the wild or in captivity -- compared to any other charitable endeavor. As an example, most everyone has heard of the Save The Tiger Fund, which is the pre-eminent worldwide tiger conservation and research organization for tigers and their preservation for future generations. Stop now and think about what you would assume they spend annually for tiger conservation worldwide. Well, would it surprise you to know that they spend much less than $2 million dollars a year? Even a small town hospital in almost any city in the country probably spends at least that much a year including their capital construction costs. And, that is about a third of all money spent for tiger conservation by all sources. Less than $3 million dollars is spent by all sources every year for tiger conservation!
Because of these stories and the emboldened actions of many well-intentioned animal rights groups, many cats are being confiscated without any idea as to where they will end up. The groups and media that raise the alarm that initiates the pressure to confiscate these animals do not usually also concern themselves with what will happen next. We become that "last hope" for these animals.
So what are we to do? The popular position for most people involved in these issues is to take the position that all these animals must be confiscated from private ownership. The figures cited (no one knows exactly how many big cats are in private hands) is on the border of 7,000 cats. Where would they go? Should we really want them to be confiscated if they are being reasonably maintained in their current location? Before everyone takes up the banner of mass confiscation, be sure the fate of the animal will better for it.
We, as a facility, do not have a political position involving legislation or governmental action. Quite properly, our mission is and should be--what is in the animals' best interest at all times, without regard to the humans or politics involved. However, we need to raise these issues before a mass tragedy for the affected animals results.
Please, if you really care about the fate and future of the wonderful and noble exotic animals, help us financially to the extent you can so that we can give the maximum number of exotic animals the best quality of life that is possible to give in captivity. THAT IS WHY WE EXIST! We will do all the work. Just help us with the funding.
These are difficult times for the animal world. The need is great! We can often get someone to help with the capital costs of a habitat, which ranges from $20,000 to $40,000, depending on the size of the animal. Then the maintenance costs are equally high. It costs us $500 a month to maintain a tiger or lion and $250 a month for the smaller cats. Sure, they don't eat that much, but who is going to clean out their habitats, give them fresh water every day, put hay in their houses, keep the grounds presentable, maintain the book work, pay the utility bills or give them medical assistance?
We need you, and I believe there is nothing more satisfying than sitting by a cat or bear one has adopted, providing them with emotional enrichment and seeing how happy and content it is at IEAS and knowing you were directly responsible for such a pure and innocent being having that quality of life. We really want as many people as we can get to adopt a number of animals and encourage you to come out and spend time with your adoptee(s). Both you and the animal(s) will benefit from the experience. We want and encourage assistance in many other areas as well, but please include adopting a cat or bear in your assistance package as it will keep you in touch with why we all do this.