Internships or Volunteering with Big Cat Rescue (Tampa)

This article is for people who are interested in careers in the zoological sciences, which include working in aquariums, zoological facilities, nature centers, animal exhibition and education, management, training, and any other applicable fields.

Interning or working at Big Cat Rescue of Tampa, Florida is a giant contradiction toward your interests and pursuits.

If you support zoos and any other fields with animals in captivity, and certainly if you seek to work in one, you should understand that Big Cat Rescue may be an animal ‘sanctuary’ but its founder staunchly holds the position that exotic animals should not be in captivity, period.

“At Big Cat Rescue we don’t believe that any exotic cat should be bred for life in a cage. “

"Big cats don’t belong in cages and we won’t quit until the rest of the world understands that these animals are just too magnificent to be caged for our amusement or education."

---Carole Baskin

There you have it. While founder Carole Baskin may be referring to big cats in this quote, it certainly wouldn’t make sense for her to support the caging of non-felines as well. Carole Baskin readily explains to her fans and critics that her ultimate goal is to shut down the ‘big cat trade’, ending the existence of big cats in captivity as well as her own rescue sanctuary. Don’t be fooled, this certainly includes zoos. Of course, animal rights followers harbor more disdain for ‘private pet owners’ and 'road side zoos' over AZA-accredited zoos, and this is how they market their philosophy to the general public; but they want all zoos ‘phased out’ as well.

In fact, a few years ago BCR uploaded a video on their youtube channel supporting an anti-pet bill, which made some of their followers realize that they are indifferent towards the ban of 'exotic pets' that do not end at Bengal tigers, but extend to pet reptiles and rodents. Of course, this video was promptly removed later and the bill did not pass (but variations continue to pop up).

Big Cat Rescue has the philosophy (and this has also been stated by Baskin) that keeping a wild animal in a cage is cruelty. What do you picture when you think of animal cruelty? Someone beating a dog with a bat? Factory farming? Moving and abandoning a house full of cats without food and water? Carole Baskin and other animal rights followers put caring for animals in zoos into the same category. Cruelty denotes extreme harm. Animal cruelty is not acceptable in any form.


But then why would Baskin own a facility that commits ‘animal cruelty’?

Because the actual goals of sanctuaries like these are to gain control of the nation’s captive wildlife for many reasons; hubris, financial gain, acclamation; probably a mix of the three.

“Please do not support those who breed these majestic animals for a life of cruel confinement. No animal, especially a tiger, belongs in a cage.”

--Carole Baskin

Of course as you realize, zoos breed animals. Sometimes for conservation, and sometimes simply to produce animals the public enjoys viewing (this is often referred to as 'exploitation'). Whatever the case may be, the majority of exotic animals and certainly big cats thrive in zoos when the proper knowledge and care is possessed by their keepers.

Big cats in particular are guaranteed premature death in the ‘wild’ as once they age, their hunting ability will force them to go hungry. Carnivores like wild felines live a highly stressful existence to merely survive. They establish territories that they must fight for; there is no ‘freedom’ to meander about free of danger, seeking aesthetic beauty such as is implied by nature idealists.

Baskin, while claiming that her dream is to end the need for her sanctuary, is in the process of creating a 50-room dormitory for Big Cat Rescue's interns. It seems as though they do not have plans to shut themselves down anytime soon.

Sea lion exhibit at the Bronx Zoo
Sea lion exhibit at the Bronx Zoo | Source

A Zoo of the Future, BCR-approved


Big Cat Rescue can’t close down zoos!

Big Cat Rescue’s rhetoric might be subtle regarding their obvious discontentment with zoos, and they may not even overtly state they want them to close, but the spreading of hateful anti-captivity messages is harming these places. Top of the line zoos like the Bronx Zoo, which is known to be one of the best animal facilities in the world, has seen budget cuts and intermittent drops in attendance. I’ve gone there since I was a child, yet lately I have seen the disablement of their popular skyride that transported visitors to the other side of the park, and the ‘World of Darkness’, an awe-inspiring exhibit that was home to hundreds of bats and other nocturnal animals.

Attendance and financial problems at some zoos may be an issue for different reasons, but obviously, an accompanying drop in visitors due to a portion of people not attending and spreading myths about zoos because they’ve been mislead into thinking that zoos are cruel will not help at all. Activists are aware of this and attempt to indoctrinate the message that the whole idea of a zoo is an outdated and unethical occurrence.

Simply put, supporting Big Cat Rescue is aiding the effort to destroy your career and lifestyle pursuits. Carole Baskin would enjoy it if she and other sanctuary owners were the last individuals to own and work with these unique species.


If you want to work with animals other than kittens and domesticated bunny rabbits, this is an admirable goal that many people share. Don't let other people tell you otherwise. Organizations like Big Cat Rescue and countless others are harboring agendas to insure that this will not happen, or that it will be entirely in their control. Please consider this when looking toward an opportunity to care for wild felines and other exotic animals at Big Cat Rescue.

More by this Author

Comments 14 comments

Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 4 years ago from Indiana, USA

Well, SOMEBODY had to say it. I've been waiting for a good piece on this "piece of work" for some time. My family has visited the sanctuary and have no idea how bad it really is for people like me who enjoy exotic animal ownership. Very nicely done, and thank you SO much for saying what needed to be said about BCR. It's very easy to get confused about their ultimate goals for exotic ownership in the United States.

I don't comment much, but I often find myself commenting on your work. I really appreciate what you're doing here on Hubpages and your niche. It means a lot to me to see that someone is able to focus their writing in such a manner. I appreciate this a great deal and am inclined to share your information as much as I can.

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for the motivational words as I certainly have no plans to stop. I just keep finding more information to expose the nonsense that is occurring these days. Their youtube channel is highly misleading. They appear as though they are just doing great work with raising their own animals and taking those in that need homes. Yet they are trying to forcibly remove other animals, like Tony the Truckstop tiger, for life in their sanctuary all while claiming they are running out of room, and there is no basis for that at all.

I have noticed that they are luring in zoo-aspirees and I found that bizarre. The rhetoric that BCR and others spread is turning the lives of those involved with captive animals into a nightmare. So thanks again, your comment means a lot to me too.

Everyday Miracles profile image

Everyday Miracles 4 years ago from Indiana, USA

The most important thing that I think people don't think about is the fact that these animal rights organizations are often anti-conservation. It's very difficult to promote the continuing survival of a species that is not being bred in captivity but is being poached in the wild.

Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks

For many species, survival is contingent on breeding in captivity. The organizations that condemn breeding do not wish the species to continue in existence. Thanks for pointing this out.

Caveman Etris profile image

Caveman Etris 4 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

It is a good thing you put some exposure out there telling the truth. More people get sucked in to lies and places like this sanctuary get control and also make a profit. If there were no zoos or preserves then many more species would go extinct. I may not talk about this on my website but other things humans do to kill off wildlife is mentioned. I will add more pages in the future. If you or anyone else wants to learn more on other subjects involving wildlife and the environment then go to my site Caveman's Nature Site and check out some of the pages. There are many photos and links to other sites with information.

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Aya Caveman Etris and Everyday Miracles. Actually, captive breeding is important for only a handful of species, not all, but that's still icing on the cake for captivity. The biggest benefit is that it gives us a chance to see and work with unique animals, while also inspiring new minds to become involved with natural-related issues. Animals can benefit sometimes as well. Many captive animals flourish, some do acceptably well, and a small number have compromised welfare in captivity. Even the latter still have benefits for our society.

Ilikecake 4 years ago

“Please do not support those who breed these majestic animals for a life of cruel confinement. No animal, especially a tiger, belongs in a cage.”

--Carole Baskin

What a hypocrite. Carole obviously has no problem supporting businesses that keep rats, chickens and rabbits in small cages. Also, by her own logic, shouldn't her big cats also be counted as ones that are living a "life of cruel confinement"? Last I checked, Big Cat Rescue kept their animals in cages. If captivity is so horrible for them, she should be euthanizing them immediately.

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hi llikecake, that is exactly the theme of one of my hubs "if dolphin captivity is cruel, Winter should be euthanized". Thanks for commenting.

Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

Interesting article. I agree that animals are supposed to live if possible in their own habitat. And with cats and dogs, we need to spend more attention to caring for them as pet owners. We see far too many who are put down. Unfortunately there are some animals being used for amusement. With dog fights with roosters or chickens, or other dogs.

Great article. Up, shared and cheers for this great article being selected for a Gold award for March! :-)

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks a lot award? lol

Danielle 2 years ago

They are WILD ANIMALS. NOT HUMANS. You cannot combine resposible owner with exotic pet. Unless you are, ENTER ANIMAL OF CHOICE HERE, you cannot provide for said animal.

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Danielle that made no sense at all. Try to make actual valid arguments.

Donna 2 years ago

Excellent article Melissa. Carole Baskin is against zoos partly because she wanted desperately to be one and was turned down...twice....for accreditation by AZA. They objected to her 'public contact' stance and she refused to back down from her belief that public contact is essential to conservation. It is in her own newsletter from that time. I have a copy if you'd like one. After many 'incidents' with people being injured by cats she bred and had declawed to sleep with her bed and breakfast clients, she decided to convert them to "rescues" and let the public support them! It wasn't about conservation at all, it was about her making money off her cats....and it still is.

Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

You can send important documents to Thank you

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article