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  • Saturday, May 31

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Announcing FJ Kitty Trip #2 to Forever Wild; a once in a lifetime opportunity to mess around with the most awesome carnivores on earth up close and personal. You'll get to safely feed and play with them. Greatly improved for family fun. Open only to FJ'ers and their friends.

Saturday June 7, and possibly Saturday May 31. 2-hour groups of twenty persons each. It's in Phelan, just south of Victorville off the 15.

The address is:

Joel and Chemaine Almquist
Forever Wild
8545 Buttemere Road
Phelan, CA 92371
(760) 868-2755

Google Map of the location

Please post or PM me to sign up below. There a still a few slots available. This is the last day!

Saturday, June 7

10:00-12:00
FJ4RWS (4)
FJGordy (4)
MikesCruiser (5)
FJC8871 (2)
Gon2srf (4)
Geo88 (4)

12:00-2:00
RicoVerde (4)
AWSUMDC (4)
FJsRCool (3)
Tonka07 (2)
Krishna (4)

2:00-4:00
vhram (3)
ZenMoto (6)
Tmaxxgod (3)
Hammer_In_Hand (2)
FJFLOW (2)
Tankota (6)


If you didn't go in November
Not all wild animals end up in the zoo. Forever Wild is a Humane Society for tigers, leopards, mountain lions, bobcats and reptiles. It's not open to the public. It's a rescue sanctuary for exotic animals that have nowhere else to go. Started 10 years ago by Joel and Chemaine Almquist, it's a lifetime home for a growing assortment of 21 big cats and hundreds of reptiles. The Almquist home is the last stop for dangerous animals that are confiscated, abandoned, abused - and illegal to own privately.

If you went in November
Much improved. Small groups. Personal interaction. Playing with the cat toys with 600lb. Siberians will be your favorite. No lines or waiting.




Activities
With 20 people per tour, it's about a one-to-one people to cat ratio. You'll get to feed them with a stick (above) play with super-big kitty toys and maybe squirt them down too if the weather allows.

You'll have 2 hours with Joel and Chemaine Almquist, and they will do their best to accomodate your special requests within the legal restrictions.




Who will win the staredown?
FW has about 200 reptiles that run the complete range, from 4-foot alligators and Gila monsters to Anacondas and Egyptian Pythons.




Where do we park?
Darn FJ's everywhere you look. This time we will spread everybody out so there won't be the crowds we had before.




MudLovin was sad to see his liver go
It finally gave up, and Steph made sure it went to a better cause.

Below is bio info on the cats, and a helpful FAQ section is at the bottom.





Mia, our Siberian Bengal tigress, was born on September 22, 2002 in New Castle, PA. Her parents were residents at a private zoo where their supposed accidental breeding resulted in 5 unexpected cubs. These cubs were not found until it was too late for 3 of them. In the year 2002 the East coast suffered one of its most severe storm seasons. The staff at the zoo found the 3 cubs frozen to death in the snow. The two remaining cubs were raised by one of the keepers and listed in an ad "Free to Good Home". After seeing this ad Forever Wild called the keeper and learned that they had made several attempts to find the cubs a home and because of no response they decided to euthanize the cubs. Mia has been a great addition to our animal family and has been a fantastic ambassador for Forever Wild.




Spotted Leopard Oscar's bio will be up shortly.




Our Cougar Mojave is one of our newest additions to Forever Wild coming to live with us in November of 2006. He was illegally bred in a facility in Missouri. He was kept with his mother for about 4 months making him almost unhandlable. He was bought by an animal trainer in California but soon proved to be a difficult animal to work with. Because of his long stay with his captive bred mother, his willingness to bond to humans was taken away. His nervousness and distrust for humans was very apparent. The decision was made by the trainer that in the best interest of the animal he would be given to Forever Wild to give him the best loving and comfortable home. Mojave is a great cat with a very playful nature. He has not bonded with anyone here at Forever Wild but we hope with time, effort and respect he will learn that we will cause him no harm and will provide him with everything he will need to be happy.





African Serval Saber's bio will be up shortly.




Black Leopard Midnight's bio will be up shortly.





African Serval Eureka's bio will be up shortly.




Cody the Bobcat is approximately 4 years old. He was bought as a pet and lived with a single woman and her newborn in a mobile home in Torrance, CA. Early on the bobcat was not put into a good environment and soon clawed a newborn baby's face when trying to get the baby's bottle. After relatives of the woman threatened to turn her in to child protective services she finally decided to call us to take in her bobcat on a loan basis. When retrieving the cat from her house we could not help but notice that the living conditions were far from clean for animals or people. Since then Cody has enjoyed his life here at Forever Wild surrounded by other bobcats.





African Serval Tweega's bio will be up shortly.




Taj is one of our newest additions to Forever Wild, coming to live with us as a cub in December of 2006. He was bought to perform in a Vegas show. Taj was discovered to have a eye problem with possible cataracts in both eyes. The breeder offered to replace him with a new healthy cub, but would then euthanize Taj because of his defect. The performers could not let this happen but knew he would not be able to work with the other animals or in the show so they decided to give Taj to us. Fortunately his eye problems appear to have gone away completely.




Tantra is one of our oldest cats here at the sanctuary at 18 years old. Tigers can have the life expectancy of an average of 20 years old in captivity. We rescued Tantra from Texas about 4 years ago along with 3 leopards. We were told that Tantra was originally taken from a drug house where Tantra was routinely beaten to be kept mean so no one would break into the house to steal the drugs. When arriving in Texas, old carcasses were scattered all over the cages. The owner had to be called to meet us at the house. Tantra proved to be the toughest to load, not wanting anything to do with us or the previous owner. After many hours and finally tricking her with food in the transport cage we were on our way back to a permanent loving home here at Forever Wild. It took about 2 years for Tantra to finally be convinced that we were not going to hurt her or neglect her in any way. She finally came around to love Chemaine. She has had reconstructive surgery on due to an illegal declaw. She is one of our most vibrant tigers in color and her markings are very distinct making her one of our most beautiful tigers here at the sanctuary.




Blue is a huge Siberian Bengal. The photo at left shows his head touching the top of the 8-foot cage. His paws are larger than a human head. Blue was rescued in October of 2002 from a traveling road show that wanted to use him in their performing act. However, Blue didn’t want to perform. He was confined to a small cage that was only big enough for him to turn around in. Being a 3 year old male tiger, he needed much more room than he was given.

We met with his owners and loaded up Blue to bring him home to Forever Wild. He was extremely angry that we took him from the only people he had ever known. He showed a lot of aggression towards Joel, one of the owners. Blue would charge the cage whenever Joel came near. However, he seemed to tolerate Chemaine, Joel’s wife.

After taking some time to settle in, Blue’s temper has calmed down quite a bit. He loves getting attention and a good back scratch. He is still partial to women, but has really grown fond of one of our male volunteers that recently started working with us.

He loves his spacious new enclosure, but unlike many tigers, he doesn’t like to soak in his specially built water tank. Instead, he prefers being sprayed down by the hose, and then rolling around in the dirt! He is the only tiger we have that truly loves playing peek-a-boo with everyone that goes to visit him. He is also very possessive of his meat bones, and if you get too close, you’ll get a threatening roar to warn you!

He is one of four tigers at Forever Wild that have received reconstructive surgery on his paws due to a bad declaw. The Paw Project provides this procedure for our injured tigers. We owe tremendous amounts of gratitude to their organization. Blue and Czar, his brother, have completely finished their surgeries and look forward to a life of full retirement.




Maverick started his life in a Minnesota fur farm. He was bought as a pet by a woman in Beverly Hills. He ended up with an animal dealer that could not sell him because he would bite everyone. The dealer contacted us to finally place him here at the sanctuary permanently when all other attempts at other places failed. When Maverick first arrived he was still only about a year old and was very frisky. With a lot of attention, care and loving training he was taught not to bite. He has had different roommates over the past several years making many new friends. He is our largest bobcat getting a very beautiful fluffy silver grey fur coat each winter. He is a joy to have here and a very loving cat.




Jade is a beautiful and rare Golden Tabby. She was born from a solid white father and a golden tabby mother. She was the only one in her litter to not come out with perfect coloring. She was born with to black stripes around her face and to much orange coloring around her body to be sold as a Golden Tabby tiger. Not being able to sell her at the going price of $50,000 the breeder decided to donate her to Forever Wild as an educational animal. She is very playful and mischievious. We got her when she was only 4 months old and will live out her days in comfort and being loved by everyone here. She is very entertaining with her toys and water tank. She loves to get muddy and steal the tools the volunteers use to clean her cage. In the summer her best move is to see how many volunteers she can splash with mud. She has been a pleasure to have here and we look forward to many years of mud in our face.




Czar's story is the same as his brother Blue above. You don't want to meet him in a dark alley.




Siberian Lynx Shasa was born on May 7, 1997 on a Nebraska fur farm. The owner was dying of cancer and had to get rid of his cats as soon as possible. Word came around to Forever Wild and we soon jumped on a plane to bring home 9 baby bobcats, a Siberian lynx and Canadian lynx. The man died only days after we picked up the cats. Forever Wild along with 3 other groups were able to split up the cats to give them nurturing homes. The cats were only 5 to 7 days old so a lot of patience, long hours, love and tenderness went into each cat saved. Forever Wild strongly believes that more people would refrain from purchasing fur clothing if they can only see how beautiful the fur looks on the actual animal and if they saw firsthand how these innocent animals were slaughtered.




Zena was born on September 11, 2001. She came from a private owner in Kansas, and was kept as their pet. She was never abused or mistreated. In fact, her owner had kept her very healthy and well nourished. She appeared to be very happy and loved. Like most people who acquire tigers for pets, her owner didn’t realize the size and strength a tiger cub would soon possess as it grew older. Zena was kept in a children’s play yard with a swing set, plastic pool and smaller enclosure for feeding. She was only being contained by a 4 foot tall fence. As she got older, Zena’s natural instincts were starting to mature. She was beginning to jump over the fence and stalk her owner’s sheep and prized horses.One day, her owner had taken her into town in the cab of her truck, and she was spotted by the local sheriff. Fearing that they would be forced to move, they called Forever Wild and said that if we didn’t pick her up before the weekend, they were going to shoot her. So, we packed up and headed out to Kansas. Zena arrived at her new home just in time to celebrate her first birthday. She was a little nervous around the other animals, at first. But she quickly settled down and formed a strong bond with one of the owners, Chemaine. Like most of our tigers, she is a Bengal/Siberian mix, but her Siberian traits really stand out. She has a husky build and long fluffy hair. Zena is a very well tempered cat, and she enjoys walking around our property on her leash.




Sakia was rescued in June of 2002 from a traveling tiger act in Texas. Her owner used her for photo booth opportunities and kept her continuously drugged. This made her extremely lethargic so that she wouldn't pose a risk to public of being bitten. She was also beaten with a very large and heavy object that made her head tilt sideways for some time. Her body was covered with severe lacerations and cuts that looked like someone had beaten her with a hook. Her physical wounds have healed, but after a close exam by one of our vets, it was confirmed that she does have some permanent brain damage. Luckily, it isn't bad enough to affect the quality of her life.

Due to her past experiences, she is easily stressed. She prefers the safe comforts of her home at the sanctuary. If she is taken away for any reason, she gets stressed to the point of becoming extremely ill. While in her compound at Forever Wild, she is very outgoing and friendly. We were never given information on Sakia about her age, but she is quite young. We estimate her to be about 2 years of age.


FAQ

Why haven't I heard of places like this?
Because Joel and Chemaine have had to give up everything to do it. No grants, deep pockets or corporate sponsorship. And no thanks except from people like us. There are several of these facilities around the country.

Before you go, you should be aware of the sensitive politics surrounding facilities like Forever Wild. Exotic animal politics are way more heated than the environmental use issues we face as offroaders. If you think offroaders are under attack from every direction, just try a tiger rescue sanctuary.

Why aren't they at a Zoo?
Zoos take only pedigreed animals. Many of these cats are "mutts"; the products of four distinct species and nine subspecies of tigers.

Who the hell would buy a tiger?
Our three Bengal/Siberian males are almost 10 feet long, weighing over a quarter of a ton.
Their canine teeth are up to four inches long; half the length of the largest Tyrannosaurus tooth.
The largest measured tiger bite pressure is 1083 psi.

You can go to one of the states listed below and buy a tiger cub for a few hundred dollars, and adults are often free (!).

Aren't there laws for this?
It's because some renegade states allow unrestricted exotic animal ownership and breeding in defiance of the feds; USDA and Fish & Game. You want a lion? Go to Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Oregon, Nevada or Florida and bring one back. When the animal needs veterinary care or is otherwise discovered - in California for instance - the county or state authorities will euthanize it as a varmint unless they know about rescue centers like Forever Wild.

Joel and Chemaine get calls from authorities 24/7 when an exotic animal is discovered in the southwestern US. At their own expense, they have to load up the trailer and drive out to an animal that they then have to decide on. They will have to pay out of pocket to support that animal the rest of its life, with no help from the government. This is because the feds and states fund Humane Societies and other shelters - but not exotic rescue centers. Donation-supported, FW can house only a fraction of the animals that they get calls on.

Can I pet a kitty?
You'll find playing with the cat toys through the cage to be a lot more fun. We may bring in pettable cats.

Does this cost?
We are asking for a $20 minimum donation per person.
 

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Count me and the family in.
Bob, Christine and Parker

This was one of the first "gatherings" I read on the forum when I first ordered my FJ. Being a naturalist/docent we would be way into this... thanks!

PS - ever since our Main Divide run, Parker (my 5 year old) calls you "the fast guy".
 

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Put me down for 2 for the May 31st trip if it's still open. Thank you
 

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Todd, very cool effort, count me and the girls in on this one. Any date is cool. I will adjust the sched to whatever is decided.
 

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I'm in for Saturday 5/31. Thanks again for putting this together! I'm at a loss for words regarding the first kitty trip. It was a humbling, almost spiritual experience. When I told my wife you said you were going to do this again, she became VERY happy and told me that, under no circumstances, are we to miss this trip!!!

So Todd, the boss has spoken. We're in.
 

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im in just finalize the dates so i can get the time off and i will have at least 2 guests
 

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I'm in .....awesome cats!
 

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I wont have Saturdays off during this time but this seems cool. Lets see what the final dates are? If I cant get in with the group is this something you can go on your own to?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Jtap I wish you could but it's not open to the public. It's really a private home with a facility attached; one with some "unique" security issues. FW is a nonprofit that can't afford the insurance and infrastructure that public use requires.

Hopefully we can get a Sunday depending on what the poll says. If you can't make these dates we would probably do another one in 6 mos. or so.
 

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What is the limit for participation for each of these events?
 

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Jtap I wish you could but it's not open to the public. It's really a private home with a facility attached; one with some "unique" security issues. FW is a nonprofit that can't afford the insurance and infrastructure that public use requires.

Hopefully we can get a Sunday depending on what the poll says. If you can't make these dates we would probably do another one in 6 mos. or so.
Thanks for the quick reply, if its on a Sunday I am in.
 

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I would be interested. My 2 girls would love it!!! I voted for the May 31st

Gordon
 
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