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The Changing Biographies of Sundari

Subject: Sundari's Changing Biography
Sources: USDA Acquisition records, WOES Safari Guide, BCR website

Carole Lewis Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, Florida has been known to change the website biographies of her cats as conflicting information is reported.

For instance, when Chris Hawes, investigative reporter for Bay News 9 revealed in March of 2006 that the cats listed on the Big Cat Rescue website as "born into the pet trade" were actually born at Big Cat Rescue, their biographies changed. They then "came to Big Cat Rescue", or some similar terminology, with no further mention of being born into the pet trade. This is just one example of the lies and deceit that Baskin perpetrates on her 50,000 unsuspecting donors. There are so many of these discrepancies in the biographies of Baskin's original collection of cats that we will need to report on them one at a time.

An interesting case is that of Sundari the Asian Spotted Leopard born 11/15/1996.

Baskin's early bio of Sundari says, "Sundari was born at Easy Street (now Big Cat Rescue) to parents Nyla and Saber. This is Nyla's first and Saber's third. She has been bottle raised and for a long time refused to give up her bottle! She loves jumping on people so much that she can no longer be trusted. She is very sweet, but very rowdy. Sundari was also featured in the fashion photo-spread in Palm Bay Illustrated magazine."

One of the revamped bios posted to a later version of Big Cat Rescue's website says of Sundari, "Sundari was born into the pet trade. Her lineage was uncertain, so there was no reason to breed her for conservation. Only animals with pedigrees that can be traced to the wild are candidates for captive release breeding. As a cub she was played with very roughly and permitted to rough house to (sic) much, she loves jumping on people so much that she can no longer be trusted. She is very sweet, but very rowdy. Sundari is also participating in operant conditioning, she is very quick to learn."

So Sundari went from being "born at Easy Street" to being "born into the pet trade" to whatever her latest bio reads. Baskin's 2006 explanation to Chris Hawes, investigative reporter for Bay News 9, was that prior to 1997 she was the pet trade, adding that her missing husband Don Lewis was "set on breeding virtually every cat here". But if you're going to admit (when caught) that you were the pet trade, why not just admit that you bred the cat? Would fewer people want to donate money for a cat that Baskin herself bred, declawed, and raised as a pet? And how can you admit that you were "the pet trade" in 1997 and continue to claim that you became a sanctuary/rescue in 1992? Can a sanctuary or rescue also participate in buying, selling, breeding and declawing exotic cats for the pet trade?

It's convenient to have a dead husband to blame for the breeding, but Don disappeared in 1997 and the breeding continued until 2001. And who wrote the revised biographies for the BCR website? Certainly not a dead man!

In the subsequent versions of Sundari's biography there is no further mention of Sundari being exploited in magazine ads and there was never any mention of Baskin having this cat declawed, as she did many of her personal pets, as well as all of the "cabin cubs" that were bred for the purpose of spending the night sleeping with paying bed and breakfast guests: view video >>

In June of 2011 the BCR facebook page brings up the plight of poor Sundari, who is unable to climb as a result of being declawed. Comments included information that BCR did not declaw cats but that some cats arrived declawed. There was no admission that Sundari was born there or that it was Baskin herself who had her pet leopard, born at her "rescue", declawed and turned into a pet. Baskin then passed Sundari's claws out to her favorite volunteers as souvenirs. Is it ethical to bring up the plight of a declawed cat without admitting that you are the one who had it declawed?

Born at Easy Street, born into the pet trade, came to Big Cat Rescue; could these progressive changes to the biographies of her personal collection of cats be anything other than an attempt to defraud the public for the purpose of pleading for donations?

Why are these discrepancies not explained fully on Baskin's huge website? An after-the-fact "history and evolution" buried on a back page and admitting that she was once a breeder is not enough to satisfy those who question the motives of master manipulator Carole Lewis Baskin.

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