The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) in Sandstone, Minn., has long been renowned as a place of refuge and safety for abused, orphaned and exploited big cats. Founded in 1999 by Tammy Thies – who gave up a corporate career to devote herself to this vital work – it has carried out many stunning rescues and helped a large number of formerly captive tigers, cougars, lions, bobcats, and others to re-experience a life that resembles the one they would have in the wild, as closely as possible.
And now – just in time for the holiday season – the sanctuary team has welcomed two new baby cougars: a brother and sister who were born in the wild in Washington, but tragically orphaned.
When they were contacted by Washington state authorities, asking for help with the babies, staff knew they had to step in. “Saving the two wasn’t even a question. We knew we had to step up and act quickly,” the rescue team explained, “When we received a couple of photos of them from Fish and Game, they melted our hearts … Knowing what they must gave been through already, the tragic loss of their mother, we can’t wait to make their lives stable, secure, and happy.”
The siblings were flown into the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last weekend, where TWS representatives met them and transported them to their new home.
Thies said, “Our first choice is that they both could’ve grown up in the wild. But, when that isn’t possible, we’re happy to provide them a second chance at life her at The Wildcat Sanctuary.”
The female kitten shows signs of a hip injury – her carers are now working to treat this.
Having cared for a number of orphaned wild-born big cats before, the sanctuary team is confident that they will be able to give the new arrivals the care they need. They are also looking for help with naming them, by running an online poll. To help them decide between the various holiday-themed names – including Nicholas and Noel, Snow and Storm, and Dasher and Dancer – vote here!
To find out more about the Wildcat Sanctuary, visit their website or Facebook page. You can donate to support their work here. And you can also check out the video of the kittens’ rescue above. Let’s hope they flourish in their new home.
All image source: Wildcat Sanctuary