Most grocery stores across the country are out of many essential items, including raw meat, due to people panic buying amid COVID-19 pandemic.
It is nearly impossible to find a roll of toilet paper, but a wildlife sanctuary is more concerned about finding food to feed all their big cats. Lions, tigers, and cougars are carnivores and need raw meat daily to survive. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary had no problem finding the necessary food, which was mostly recently expired raw meat that was donated.
People are panic buying food and clearing out meat sections – leaving nothing for the big cats.
Lynda Sugasa, executive director of the sanctuary, has roughly two-weeks worth of food left in freezers, but is concerned about how and where she will find more.
“The shelves have been getting emptied out by panicked buying; we have no more donations,” Sugasa told the Reno Gazette Journal. “Our costs have gone up to pretty much $4,000 per month, which is a huge hike.”
Roadkill is not an option for the big cats because it could be harmful to the big cats. As their supply dwindles, Sugasa will join millions of other people looking for raw meat at the local grocery stores.
“There is no substitute for their diets, they have to have a raw meat diet,” Sugasa said. “That has created a huge emergency for us.”
The 320-acre Nevada sanctuary is home to 45 animals that were rescued, many from roadside zoos, and now live in as natural an environment as possible. The animals spend their days running and playing and will never be asked to perform or breed. The reputable sanctuary needs to overcome this crisis.
Mark Robison, consultant for Humane Network, said, “There are so few places that have the space and expertise to allow these animals to be themselves. If one were to go away it is a huge hole in the safety net for … these exotic animals.”
You can help by donating here. The shelter posted, “A large part of our expenses goes toward feeding our animals. Your donations go directly toward putting food in the belly our animals. We appreciate it and they appreciate it! It costs about 10k a year to take care of one tiger!”
Other wildlife sanctuaries may be in similar situations, so please consider reaching out and helping any way you can.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.