Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
I’ve tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Florida just keeps coming up on my radar as dealing in wild animals under the guise of being a rehab center.
1/14/08 a caracal named Leah died at the age of 9 at Big Cats of Serenity Springs. She had been sent by Busch Wildlife Sanctuary of Jupiter, FL on 6/7/06 to BCSS at the age of 7. David Hitzig, the Executive Director of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary said the caracal doesn’t fit in with their theme of native cats and that they’ve been holding this cat for a pet owner who lives in an apartment and is having trouble getting her license. The letter ends with a plea for Big Cats of Serenity Springs (in Colorado) to send them some bobcat kittens if they find any. That’s not how rehab works.
12/5/2012 The Jay Leno’s show featured a tiny lion cub (Julie Scardina’s Animals, Part 1 on Jay Leno 12/05/12): http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/clip/1426173/
Viewers were told by Julie Scardina, SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Ambassador that “This baby lion cub was bought online by a young person with no knowledge of animals or reality the cub is going to grow into a 300 lb lethal Lion. It is an ongoing investigation, the parents came home and went what the? and you know realized she was confiscated and in the middle of a court case. Sold online by an Exotic Breeder”
The female lion cub ‘LC’ was born in at Animal Adventures, Inc in Okeechobee, FL which is owned by Sue Pearce.
Scardina apparently teamed up with Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, to provide her with some of the animals for her public appearances: http://www.moultrienews.com/news/Julie-Scardina-and-Busch-Wildlife-Team-Up-for-SEWE-2013
It appears the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is compensated for their public appearances: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/lifestyles/pets/busch-wildlife-brood-booked-for-today-show-david-l/nLq7P/
At the time of Jay Leno’s December 5th show, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary had no lion cub available, so it appears they rented one from Animal Adventures, Inc. The cub was accompanied to the show by Animal Adventures’ volunteer Sherry Cox DeWald.
David Hitzig, Executive Director of the Busch Wildlife sanctuary seems to be the one who originally arranged for the use of the cub and told the story of LC the lion cub being sold to a girl online. He appears to be a friend of Jack Hanna who is also known for renting and borrowing wild animal cubs for use on television shows like Leno, Carson and others.