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March 5th, after a last minute scramble, the enclosures were finished just in time for the arrival of the new cats.

Volunteers made a last minute major push to get things done,
then, with a little time on their hands, they crashed!

Even the Roots and Shoots kids crashed at the gate waiting for
the cats arrival.

Survival Outreach Sanctuary works directly with the USDA to rescue animals in need of a new permanent home. This rescue of 3 large cats involved thousands of volunteer hours before the transfer could even happen. Working every single day for literally weeks, numerous volunteers cleared the property and built 3 new large enclosures for these animals. Many of the volunteers were first timers who gave unselfishly of their time often working into the night to try and finish this project on time. Many phone calls and e-mails later, transfer arrangements were made through the USDA using The Exotic Feline Rescue Center of Center Point, In. Sarasota In Defense of Animals raised the $4,500 fee to transport the animals from Illinois.

Scheduled to arrive at noon, at 5:55, the cats finally arrive.

The truck carrying the animals arrives at the front of the new enclosures.

Sassy, the cougar, got unloaded without much trouble and was quickly transfered to her new enclosure by 6:15 pm.

Sassy gets moved to her new enclosure

Getting Miss Rajah out was going to be a different story. The forklift was getting stuck in the sand but a wire fence panel under the wheels was finally used to keep the fork lift from sinking in any more. Miss Rajah's cage was too large to turn sideways in the truck for the forklift to pick up from the side. Plywood to cover the ramp wasn't available and would have taken a few hours to get. The ramp on the truck wasn't wide enough or strong enough on its own to hold the weight of Miss Rajah and her cage so another plan had to be devised to get her down.
After much discussion, it was decided to unload Nahla first and then use her cage to transfer Miss Rajah into since the forklift was capable of lifting her smaller cage. Getting Nahla down wasn't too much trouble but once she was at the enclosure opening, it took a bit or persuasion to get her to go in. At approximately 7:41 pm she finally stepped down into her new living quarters.

Nahla gets ready to be lowered down to the ground

Now it was Miss Rajah's turn. The transfer cage was put back into the truck, the door closed and after some time finally opened, Miss Rajah was still in her green cage instead of the smaller one. The cage was strapped onto the forklift endwise, raised off the floor and then lowered to the ground after the transport truck pulled ahead and out of the way. Just as Nahla needed some patience and time, so did Miss Rajah. Finally, with much coaxing, around 8:52 pm she stepped down into her new home.

Miss Rajah reaching the ground after a long ordeal with Dr G giving directions to Jon. Thanks to Dr Mel & Dr G from Zephyrhills Veterinary Clinic for all their efforts in getting these cats into their new enclosures safely.

All the girls had various bumps and scrapes on their faces and were a bit stressed from their long ride to Florida. At last word, everyone seems to be doing better and settling in fine.

For more information on volunteering at SOS, e-mail us at



Checkout page 2 for additional photos