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The Changing Biographies of Lola the Black Leopard

Subject: Lola the Black Leopard and The Changing Biographies of Cats
Sources: USDA Acquisition records, WOES Safari Guide, BCR website

Carole Lewis Baskin has been known to change the website biographies of her cats as conflicting information is reported. Take for instance the black leopard known as Lola. The early WOES wildlife guide says Lola, born 03/01/1992 moved to Easy Street (now Big Cat Rescue) on 03/15/1995. "She (was) mated with Saber and they produced two wonderful cubs, Jumanji and Black Majik in February of 1996".

The more recent version of Lola's story leaves out the fact that Lola was bred to Saber. Cats bought and bred are not rescues. This was actually Saber's third litter and Lola's first. A former volunteer tells us Baskin was told by her vet that Lola should not be bred again but that Baskin bred her anyway. This breeding ended badly, with Lola nearly dying and the cub having to be removed from the birth canal with forceps.

USDA acquisition records show that Lola was bought as a breeder from John Ritchie of Birmingham, Alabama, along with cougars Scratch, Max and Catrina. Max was later given away to Carol Stevenson of Gibsonton, Florida. Scratch and Catrina were bred and produced two cubs born in 05/1996. Lola was bred to Saber and produced two cubs in February of the same year, Jumanji and Black Majik. Although Majik was sickly, he and his brother were advertised for sale or trade in the Animal Finder's Guide. When Baskin could not sell or trade the cubs, Black Majik was raised by former staff member Jim Moore and Jumanji became Baskin's daughter's personal pet, who she taught to walk on a leash. Jumanji was "adopted" by a local company for a donation of $20,000 for his lifetime care.

Baskin says she began rescuing cats in 1992. Were Lola, Saber, Black Majik, Jumanji, Scratch, Max, and Catrina rescues? Is it ethical to portray breeders and their cubs as rescued cats to bilk the public of donations? Would you donate $20,000 to provide lifetime care for one of Baskin's personal pets? Can Carole Lewis Baskin ever be trusted to tell the whole truth?

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