It’s a homecoming unlike many others. A Florida Panther now back in his native state all the way from New York. If you’re looking for some of the coolest cats in the county, look no further than the Bear Creek Feline Center.
The newest feline, an endangered Florida Panther named Takoda was born in captivity in 2011 in central Florida. He spent his cub years at Bear Creek Feline Center training with a man who would later take him to New York to become an exhibitor cat. Now he’s enjoying his retirement alongside his brother Saint.
“Once he reached a certain age we thought it best to bring him down to share him with the people of Florida, bring him back home to Florida,” said Director of Bear Creek Feline Center, Jim Broaddus.
Jim Broaddus and his wife Bertie run the non profit sanctuary giving homes to exotic cats born in captivity that can’t be released into the wild. They have five African Servals at Bear Creek and they are the most common big cat people try to make as pets, then surrender them to sanctuaries.
“Either failed pet attempts, some were confiscated by the government when people didn’t have the right license,” said Broaddus.
Although beautiful, wild cats don’t make great pets.
“The cats going to require 24/7 365 day maintenance with trained people that are licensed,” said Broaddus.
The feline center offers tours a few times a week, so the cats don’t get stressed. A typical tour donation is about $50 per person. Being a non profit, the donation is tax deductible. They also have an internship program where people can work to get their animal exhibitor licenses.