WildCat Haven, Inc.
January 8, 2012
As a photographer focused on animals and wildlife, my introduction to WildCat Haven was several years ago, for a story I was doing for a national magazine. Due to the nature of my work, I've photographed at many places that call themselves sanctuaries, and I've seen it all--the good, and the horribly, abusively bad. WildCat Haven is one of the very few, TRUE sanctuaries: sanctuary defined as a place of refuge and protection. But, WildCat Haven exceeds just 'refuge and protection.' I've had the unique opportunity to be able to spend time getting to know WCH--the place, the cats, and the people--and there is no question that this place exists for no other reason than to give these cats a comfortable place to live out the rest of their lives. Wildcat Haven residents do not have to put up with hoardes of general public gawking and jeering at them. WCH residents are not overcrowded, or crammed into 10x20 stalls of stone and fencing. The cats do not pace back and forth in their enclosures. The residents at WildCat Haven live on grass (not concrete slabs), surrounded by natural forest. Their bellies are full, and they have the best daily care that any captive cat could ask for. Cheryl and Mike Tuller, and Renee (the head keeper) dedicate their lives to these animals. The place is immaculately clean (feces and dirty bedding is nonexistent and water buckets are always full), and enclosures cleaned out daily. The enclosures are larger than required by law. These cats are as happy as a captive cats can get. Owning and running a sanctuary is a selfless job--a job that is a result of the selfish human act of desiring to own and control a wild animal. There are no 'thank you's' in the life of an exotic animal sanctuary, and It takes hundreds and thousands of dollars to keep these places functional. The money raised by WCH, goes straight back into the well being of the cats--larger enclosures, vet care, food. Cheryl Tuller's dream is for each of her cats to have more space. Space takes dollars. Dollars don't grow on trees. So, if you are looking for a place to support, WildCat Haven is one of the very few true havens for captive wildcats-and if you get the unique chance to visit, it will impress you as a sanctuary, and it's residents will steal your heart. Thank you Mike, Cheryl and Renee; for doing the job you do.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I've seen the animal lives they have saved, when the only other alternative was euthanization.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Given the funding (as the first priority is the cats), I would like to see more community education by the sanctuary. Ignorance breeds fear and naysayers (seen here in the other postings). In order to stop exotic animal ownership and the fear of the existence of these places in neighborhood communities, education is key.
How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?
How much of an impact do you think this organization has?
Will you recommend this organization to others?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
What is unique about this organization?
The sanctuary is not open to the general public, which is a unique luxury for the animals. The animals do not have a constant stream of people walking through, yelling and taunting them. These animals are left alone to live as close to as they would have if they were in the wild. The only way this is possible is to have the funds.
Professional with expertise in this field & I am a professional photographer and have donated time and imagery to WCH.