Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Endangered Big Cats Get Playful With Big Toys (VIDEO)
Big cats deserve big toys.
Forget the fancy iPad apps for cats, these big cats at Florida's Big Cat Rescue sanctuary are happy just playing with some oversized rubber tires.
The cats often seem to be as cheeky and playful as domestic cats. In June, some cuddly lions were caught on camera giving their caregivers hugs and kisses.
Some are a bit more mischievous, as Roger and Pat de la Harpe can attest -- a lion took off with their camera while they were shooting an upcoming piece on lions in South Africa.
Without some serious protection, these big kitties may not be around for much longer, as the mountain lion faces many different threats. By the 20th century, the lions, who were once found across the U.S., were wiped out from the Midwest and Eastern U.S., according to National Geographic.
Leopards are also threatened, and the Amur leopard is one of the most endangered big cats in the world, with only about 35 Amur leopards left in the wild, according to amur-leopard.org.
The Sumatran Tiger also remains critically endangered, even though the animal is protected by law in Indonesia. Despite their efforts, there is still a market for tiger parts and products, according to worldwildlife.org. The number of tigers is at an all-time low, with as little as 3,700 tigers in existence.
The South China Tiger is thought to be functionally extinct, with 47 known animals living in zoos in China.