Premier Tiger Sanctuary Condemns Unethical Fundraising

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The director of one of the premier exotic cat sanctuaries is taking a stand against animal advocate abuse in the form of unscrupulous fund raising practices that have become rampant in the captive exotic wildlife world in recent months.

The director of one of the premier exotic cat sanctuaries is taking a stand against animal advocate abuse in the form of unscrupulous fund raising practices that have become rampant in the captive exotic wildlife world in recent months.

Karen Sculac, director of Big Cats of Serenity Springs, said, “The use of scare tactics and emotional blackmail to raise money are making the fund raising efforts of all wildlife sanctuaries near impossible. The loss of support from a public that feels betrayed has put all exotic cat refuges in danger of losing funds vital to their continuing existence.”

A long time member of the wildlife refuge community, Sculac has been aware of less than scrupulous fundraising tactics for some time but did not realize the extent of the problem until Big Cats of Serenity Spring itself became a victim of a malicious attack.

After the initial influx of captive wildlife that was directly affected by Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, and Rita, Big Cats of Serenity Springs, and many other wildlife sanctuaries, dramatically scaled back their programs. As the months passed and donations remained at all time lows, many sanctuaries stepped up their efforts to keep the animals’ plights in the public eye.

Unfortunately, some facilities made a conscious choice to use the media to promote a scare tactic approach, either by attacking the reputation of other facilities in their area or making their own situation seem more dramatically dire than reality would prove. Announcing that if they do not raise sufficient funds, they will have to euthanize animals in their care has become popular and an instant money producer. Many times, money raised in this manner is used to increase the number of animals at the refuge, thus increasing funding needs that could not be met in the first place. Within a few months, these facilities are back in the news, using the threat of euthanasia to once again emotionally manipulate the public.

A sanctuary practicing ethical fundraising and responsible stewardship of the animals in their care cannot compete with a dramatic “money or death” headline and, therefore, loses valuable media coverage. And while the public will respond to the first and second appeal, they will quickly feel betrayed when a third hardship appeal follows a story of that same refuge taking in more animals.

This betrayal of the public trust puts all wildlife sanctuaries in danger of losing necessary funding. Most donors do not have time to find and research every individual sanctuary so they choose not to donate at all. The long term affects of this loss of public support will be devastating to captive wildlife population in the United States.

Big Cats of Serenity Springs is calling on all wildlife sanctuaries, regardless of political and organization affiliations to create and execute proper and ethical fundraising and marketing plans to ensure life-long care for the animals in their custody. In an effort to restore public confidence, wildlife sanctuaries should publish an individual code of ethics, donation usage information, and their requirements for acceptance of animals to their facility on their website and in their printed materials.

Big Cats of Serenity Springs is a non profit organization dedicated to providing a safe, stable, permanent home for non-domestic felines, regardless of prior history or physical condition in accordance with their code of ethics.

Contact:

Big Cats of Serenity Springs, 719-347-9200

Karen Sculac, director

Collette Colvin, public relations, collette@bigcatsofserenitysprings.org

http://bigcatsofserenitysprings.org/

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Karen Sculac
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