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and 100 pounds respectively, but they can get up to 300 pounds. This species have the strongest jaws of all large cats, often feeding on large turtles without using a fork and knife, only their teeth and muscles to cut through the tough shell.

You will cross a sturdy bridge that was donated by the 701st Carpenter’s Union in Fresno on your way to see Kaylara, Kuan and Nanying, three gor- geous leopard siblings and offspring from Chen. They have been hand-raised since birth. They are a particular sub-species of leopard that is found only in the far-east of Russia. Experts estimate the wild population of this sub-species to be about 40. That is really endangered!

Farther down the tour you will see Ricki and Lucy, a pair jaguarondi. They are among the smallest cats there, weighing in at 10-12 pounds. While not en- dangered as a species, they are certainly cute. Past the clouded leopards, Cam Lo and Ah-Mei, who are the only cats that attack its prey from the back side of the neck, you will find Cous Cous, a 500-pound North African Lion. This species is unfortunately extinct in the wild, but continues in captivity thru the grace of Moroccan Sultan and his private col- lection. Cous Cous is Dale’s biggest ‘kitty’ at 2-1/2 years of age. It is really touching to see how this big cat interacts with this big man.

Pely, next on the tour, is an extremely friendly 250-pound cat. Moving on you will meet Tizzy the snow leopard who is 65 pound of pure jumping muscle. Snow leopards are the best jumpers, able to jump 30 to 40 feet. Unlike the implication of their name, they have no affection for snow. While they can be found at elevations as high as 18,000 feet in the Himalayas, they can also be found at 2,000 feet in the Gobi desert.

Next you will see Goliath and Kong, a pair of large and stunning Bengal tigers. Since their appearance is so striking we find that the animals that they choose for their prey are color blind and unable to distinguish their relatively bright coloring in contract to the background. They are also excellent swimmers, with documented travel of 20 miles in water between mainland and island.

Closing the tour you will see Maytag and Whirly (short for Whirlpool), two bobcats who were aban- doned in a clothes washing machine after their mother was shot and killed. They are the smallest cats there with the smallest appetite, consuming only 11 ounces of raw meat per day, in contrast to Cous Cous who eats 8 pounds each day.

The fate of Maytag and Whirlpool’s mother is similar to that of many other wild cats. Farmers and ranchers try to protect their livestock from these wild predators by hunting and shooting. True con- servation efforts, like the programs that Dale works with, try to help people understand the behavior of the wild animals in order to change their farms and ranches so that predators will no longer hunt there. In addition to this type of deterrent, orga- nizations will track, sedate, medically check, and then apply a radio collar to wild animals. This type of treatment provides very valuable information on the animal’s health, their travels and their terri- tory boundaries. A comprehensive understanding of these animals is the first step in finding a way for them to live their lives in concert with the rest of us.

Twice each year the Cat Haven will have what they call the “Twilight Tour”, a special tour that starts later in the day when the cats are more active. Save the first Saturday in October and the last Saturday next April for this special event. The tour includes a barbeque dinner. I wonder if they serve hot dogs…

Mark your calendars for next month and make it a point to join Dale and Tango the cheetah at Bella Pasta in Northeast Fresno for a fund-raising dinner event.

The Cat Haven is a certified charitable organiza- tion, so any and all donations are completely tax deductible. All of the staff are volunteers but you can tell that they love what they do. You can find more information about cat conservation, educa- tion, volunteer opportunities and more at: www. cathaven.com.

Cat Haven is located at:

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