New possible location for WCCR
Our likelihood of moving is becoming more real every day. The director and I have been looking at properties all over east of Dallas. We have found one that I am in love with, and that is perfect for the center. It is smaller (not quite five acres), but it is much less expensive, and very suitable for what we would like to do with it.
We are in discussions with our realtor now. This move means cages, and truck loads of stuff that will need to be moved. I am apprehensive that with our current money issues that this is going to be exceedingly difficult. Our largest enclosure at the ranch cost over $5,000 to build. The smaller ones, $2,500 a piece. We have three of those. There are other enclosures as well. All similar in price. This doesn’t just mean monies to purchase materials, but costs of hauling those materials, and labor to build the new enclosures.
I have been trying to raise some funds for the move, and for the supplies that we are running through, but it is difficult to raise the amount of funding we need. I sent out a call for help on Facebook asking for assistance raising $1,000 to cover the cost of Theo’s $600.00 ransom, medical bills, and fresh supplies of much-needed bobcat formula and was able to raise $150.00 from three people, and I am eternally grateful to those wonderful people who answered the call for help, but we just need more. I do not know if I am just asking too often, or if there just isn’t enough people left in the world who understand the importance of our stewardship of our one and only earth, or the fact that ecological diversity (meaning balance of not just prey animals and plants, but predators too) equals ecosystem health.
Part of the issues we face here at WCCR is the misconceptions about the species we work with. The moment I stepped into that enclosure with Fidget for the very first time, my eyes were open to an incredible new realization about how judgemental humans are towards subjects of which we have no knowledge base. As one who has always desired to share my life with animals, and hope that animals allowed me the privilege of sharing a glimpse of their world, I make it a habit of reserving my opinion until the time that I possess the knowledge and perspective to develop one.
Fidget gave me that opportunity. He taught me secrets that I craved to learn. He let me in to his elusive world, and showed me the folly and stupidity of the human creature in painfully apparent ways. I can certainly say that very few people in the United States, or even the world, have first hand/extensive experience with bobcats.
That does not stop people from perpetuating false “truths” about them. Ask yourself, what do you truly know about this wild cat? If you were like me before I began my journey here, probably not much. What do they eat? How much? How often? How long do they live? How many offspring do they have? How often do they reproduce? WHAT IS THEIR BEHAVIOR LIKE? This is probably the most important question out of all of them, and the only one that you cannot find in the clinical texts that will give you the answers to all the others (if you find a good one with accurate information).
So why then, do people fear and hate them? I have asked myself this many times. I still do not have the answer to this question. To my best guess, I feel that people can relate to other creatures in which they see themselves. In other words, if a person can find a human trait in another life form, they are more likely to form a subconscious bond that allows them to see that creature in a favorable light.
Why do people find raccoons cute rather than dangerous and destructive? Because raccoons have hands that resemble our own, consume a similar (omnivorous) diet, and possess movement similar to that of a human.
Working at the London Zoo, I found that guests who visited our squirrel monkey enclosure often had the desire to reach out and touch the adorable little monkeys. Those very same guests would fearfully run in the butterfly exhibit to escape being lited on by the insect. So why would someone desire to reach for an animal that carries hepatitis, yet run from a non-threat like a butterfly? Because they can relate themselves to the monkey. He has a similar facial structure and bodily articulation, hands as opposed to paws, and a reasonably upright posture.
The insect on the other hand, is a non-hominoid animal that possesses no resemblance to a person. They have two more limbs, wings, compound eyes, and no hands, paws, or face to speak of. There is nothing relatable in that animal for the human viewing it, which seems to equal fear.
What does that have to do with The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch? There is a point, I promise! The bobcat has virtually no similarities to a human physically. They are true carnivores (which, in its self instills fear into people. We could get into a huge evolutionary role lecture here, but that is a story for another day. By the way, dogs are NOT true carnivores.), they move in a four-legged articulation, rarely to never standing on their back feet, they do not possess hands, basically, the closest thing they have to a relatable feature is eyes set on the front of the face, and not to the sides of the head.
I do not know if this has anything to do with the lack of donors, or if it has more to do with the fact that because of the nature of our work, we are not a public facility. Not being able to have something for people to come look at makes it harder to find those much-needed donations. I have said it many times. There is no funding available for the kind of work we do. Everything that we do is through donations. Right now, we are really hurting for financial contribution. It makes this move unsettling at the least. We have so much to do, and so much to move, and so many lives that are about to be transitioning, human and animal.
I am excited, and fearful, and frustrated. I wanted so badly for this to work. I did not want to have to uproot the whole ranch, but we just could not find the money we needed to stay. This move gives us the opportunity for a fresh start, but money is a big worry for me. These enclosures, hauling materials, moving shop is going to be costly, and so far, I have not been successful in finding the donations we need to make this a smooth process.