Hidden Gem in Florida: Big Cat Rescue

12802 Easy St., Tampa, Florida What happens to a magnificent tiger or leopard that has been abused or abandoned or

Big Cat Rescue, Florida
A regal lion pads his way through the preserve.

12802 Easy St., Tampa, Florida

What happens to a magnificent tiger or leopard that has been abused or abandoned or even retired from a career in showbiz? If it is very lucky, it will find a home at Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue, the largest accredited sanctuary of its kind in the world. The 45-acre site provides safe shelter for almost 150 lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, lynx, snow leopards, ocelots, and other varieties of exotic cats to recover and heal in a natural environment.

A nonprofit organization, Big Cat Rescue makes it clear that it’s not a zoo; the welfare of the animals is paramount, so visits are by guided tour only (no pets allowed). On the tour you can watch tigers swimming in the lake and bobcats draped in the trees overhead. Short of going on an African safari, there’s no better way to see, photograph, and learn about these endangered animals, now living out their lives as nature intended.

Open Mon.–Sat. Call for tour times.

www.bigcatrescue.org

(813) 920-4130

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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