Luna And Remington’s Rescue Anniversary
January 20, 2021
This month, we celebrate the one year rescue-versary of Luna and Remington, two survivors of the pay-to-play cub petting industry. Luckily, through the efforts of animal advocacy groups and PETA they were saved, but sadly, not everyone survived to rescue.
Luna and Remington, along with cubs Rory and Rajah, began their lives at a Florida roadside attraction where they were forced to swim with paying humans in harshly chlorinated pools all day in a ‘swim with the tigers’ entertainment scam. The cubs struggled to keep their heads above water for hours at a time, with little rest between sessions, netting a fat income for the owners. Then, a 2016 PETA lawsuit charged the facility with several violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act (prematurely separating tiger cubs from their mothers, forcing them into public encounters, and warehousing them in cramped cages), prompting a court-ordered site inspection.
Sometimes things get complicated. Rescuing animals isn’t as simple as exposing abuse to our legal system and being prepared to accommodate the animals. Owners of unethical facilities, seeing their income threatened, may go to extreme lengths to hang on to their ‘golden geese.’ Court cases can drag on for months or even years, prolonging the suffering of animals. Such was the case with Luna and Remington, who were tied up in a court case for three years! Sometimes, as in this case, the rescue comes too late to save all the animals involved.
All four cubs were scheduled to come to Turpentine Creek, but appeals continually delayed their rescue. Sadly, for Rory and Rajah, the court ruling came too late. Reportedly, due to storm damage, they escaped their enclosures and were killed.
They were not the only victims of this attempt to hide evidence; 19 other tigers were shipped off to Oklahoma in an inadequately ventilated trailer. Three cubs born during the transport overheated and did not survive the trip.
Luna and Remington lost no time in discovering the joys of their new large grassy habitat. They greet team members with endless “chuffs” and cheerful groans. They joyfully roll on their backs, and explore the tastes of everything from a leaf-covered limb to their enrichment toys. For the first time in their lives they were allowed and encouraged to exercise their predatory instincts, pouncing on their enrichment toys as if they were prey, sharpening their claws on logs, and stalking their neighbors and care team. They finally have the freedom to just be Tigers, able to choose what to do next. They are relishing every new natural experience, reliving the cub-hood that was stolen from them.
Luckily, advocates and sanctuaries around the country are working to past laws to put an end to cub petting and hands on interaction with big cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act passed through the house last congressional session but did not manage to make it to the Senate. It has recently been reintroduced to the House as H.R. 263. There are already over 50 House Representatives signed on to support the bill.
When the Big Cat Public Safety Act passes, it will ban the petting and handling of cubs at roadside zoos who profit from these forms of public interaction at the expense of the baby animals’ wellbeing. It will also end the private ownership of big cats. Those who currently own big cats will not have to give up their animals, but they will be required to stop breeding, purchasing, selling, trading, and allowing the public to handle the felines
If you were Luna and Remington, wouldn’t you want a better life? With your help, we can see this legislation passed into law in 2021! If you would like to help, there are two simple courses of action you can take:
Contact your Representative about The Big Cat Public Safety Act Tell at least one person about why passage of HR263 is so important to You, and ask them to: 1) Visit our advocacy page to contact their Representatives 2) Pass on the message to one other person.
Let’s start a chain of action NOW that will forever change how these magnificent animals will be cared for across our nation.