Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Photos for Profit

Have you ever heard of someone paying to get their picture taken with an exotic animal cub? Usually its with a baby bear, lion, tiger, etc.; you can be holding the cub while bottle feeding it or simply petting it. Most people think it sounds like an incredible opportunity they want to experience, but they don't know how dangerous it actually is for the animals involved.

First, the cubs are ripped from their mothers too early in life and forced into an unnatural life of captivity. When the cubs aren't being used for pictures, they are kept in cages and withheld food making them hungry. When they are brought out for a picture they are starving and only focused on the bottle so they wont hurt the human holding them. And lastly, when the cubs are too old or do not turn a profit anymore they are either abandoned or euthanized.

We have received numerous animals from photos for profit organizations. Some of the current residents include: Odin and Saber.

Odin, our male lion, and Saber, one of our white Bengal tigers, came to IEAS together in 2013. They were only a few months old at the time when they were rescued from a profitable photo opportunity.


Thousands of exotic animals are exploited every year through the horrible businesses that are photos for profit. We need to help spread the word so people no longer feel the desire to visit them. Sure that moment of interacting with an exotic animal may be exciting but just remember that animal has been suffering its entire life so one person can feel happiness. Please help us spread the word about photos for profit organizations so we can end them! Thank you!

Newt - In Loving Memory

It is with very heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a member of the IEAS family. Newt, a resident bobcat, passed away peacefully in his habitat on July 31st. At 21 years old, Newt was one of our oldest feline residents and he called IEAS home for the majority of his life. He came to the Sanctuary when he was about two years old, surrendered by a young couple who could no longer care for him. Newt spent most of his days lounging on his favorite corner perch or in his cave (which stayed nice and cool in the summer heat). Although he kept to himself most of the time, he was definitely a fan of flirting and teasing his two female neighbors, Baby and Cookie. 

The one thing Newt's keepers will always remember is how much he loved rolling around in the disinfectant spray that was used to sanitize his habitat. No matter the time of day, where he was, or what he was doing, he would ALWAYS come down to have a good roll on the ground wherever it was sprayed.

Newt lived a long and happy life at IEAS. We were fortunate enough to get to know him and he will be very greatly missed. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

I scream, you scream, we all scream for......bloodcicles?

Here at IEAS, we have different types of seasonal enrichment that we give all of our animals. Now that the Texas summer weather is upon us, we like to give out ice-pops for enrichment and to help cool everyone down in the heat of the day. To make these ice-pops, we fill water balloons with water, freeze them, and then peel off the balloon when it's frozen solid. For our feline friends, we make them even more delicious and refreshing by adding a little bit of blood to them. While some of our cats get a little too distracted by the keepers and interns standing there waiting to capture the moment, the majority of our cats have no problem digging right in. Check out some photos and videos of them enjoying their treat!

Allie Kat


With our hot summer days just getting started, you can definitely look forward to more posts, pictures, and videos of more summer enrichment fun!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Texas Ocelot – Endangered and Still Declining

Meet Rio, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary's resident Ocelot!

Rio came to IEAS from the El Paso Zoo after she was retired from the Species Survival Program (SSP). The goal of the SSP is to manage specific and threatened/endangered species populations within AZA accredited zoos and aquariums, certified facilities (such as IEAS), and approved non-member participants. Rio started off shy when she arrived, but with help from our emotional enrichment program, she has become a curious little cat, enjoying exploring her habitat at night. 

The ocelot is wild cat that use to wander several parts of the southern states, such as Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Today, however, there are less than 50 ocelots in the United States and they rely heavily on the remnant thorn forests of South Texas. Currently, they are primarily found roaming the forests of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.

Deforestation has been a major factor in the decline of ocelots. Forests have been cut for their timber and for urban development, leaving these cats with no place to live. These wild cats have also been subjected to the fashion world. Many feel a very unnecessary need to have that ocelot-lined fur coat leaving these creatures on the critically endangered list.

However, there is still a chance for these beautiful cats! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services are continuing to research the ocelots at Laguna Atascosa to determine what they need and how to further their survival for the future. They are working closely with the Texas Department of Transportation to build safe wildlife crossings for these guys, such as funnels that allow them to cross under roads so they can establish new territories and find mates. Experts in the U.S. and Mexico are also proposing translocation as a possibility. Translocating would involve moving the ocelots from the United Stated to Mexico.

What You Can Do
  1. Visit the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge so that you can have the opportunity to see these guys in their natural habitat. They are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Address: 22817 Ocelot Road
Los Fresnos, Texas 78566
  1. Be cautious while driving. These cats are subject to getting hit by unaware drivers. =( Please pay attention to speed limits and critters crossing the road.
  2. Plant and protect native trees on your property. Every tree helps!
  3. Volunteer at your closest Wildlife Refuge/Sanctuary. Learn as much as you can to keep informed and inform others!
  4. Support ocelots through the Adopt an Ocelot program at www.friendsofsouthtexasRefuges.org or call the Refuge at 956-748-3607
Please Report Ocelot Sightings!
Whether the ocelot is dead or alive, this information can be very helpful.
Please IMMEDIATELY call:
  • Law Enforcement Dispatch: 956-784-7520
  • Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge: 956-748-3607, ext.111
  • Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge: 956-784-7500
Provide important information, including your name, phone number, the location you saw the wild cat, time, and type of sighting (dead or alive); identifying marks that confirm it was an ocelot and not a bobcat; and directions to the location and details of the sight.
If you find a dead ocelot, please stay away from the carcass if you can until the United States Fish and Wildlife Services arrive.

Come tour the sanctuary and visit Rio!
Tours are Sunday through Friday at 11:00am and Saturday at 11:00am and 3:00pm.