Animal Welfare, Or A Money Making Gimmick – What Is This Celebrity Petting Zoo Really About?
20. Animal Welfare
Animal welfare has, forever, been a precarious subject for a large number of people in this world. And, with every passing day, the count of people acknowledging the need for it, as well as of those working towards it, is slowly but surely increasing. However, growing simultaneously is the number of individuals trying to take advantage of people’s sympathy towards animals. And from the outside, it’s very difficult to tell, which is which.
One such story, that has divided public opinion, is that of the “Black Jaguar White Tiger Zoo“
19. The “Black Jaguar White Tiger”
The “Black Jaguar White Tiger” Foundation was set up by Eduardo Serio, in 2013, with the intention of providing shelter and care for rescued animals (or so he claims). The foundation intends to provide a natural habitat for rescued animals, which constitute mostly of big felines, such as Jaguars, Lions, Tigers and Leopards. So far, the organization claims to have sheltered over 295 rescued animals.
But what made Eduardo set up this foundation?
18. Eduardo’s Tryst With A Pet Store
Eduardo was always an advocate of animal rights. One day, he got a call from his friend, informing that a pet store was buying a baby panther, and would be drugging it for the sake of photographs with children, to make money. Infuriated by this, Eduardo decided that he must do something about the pertinent issue of animal abuse.Hell-bent on saving the baby panther, he went ahead and adopted the tiny baby, so that he could take full care of it.
17. Moving To Mexico From LA
After this incident, Eduardo gave up his home and moved from LA to Mexico. It was then, that he decided to do something bigger for the cause of Animal Rescue & Welfare and thus set up the “Black Jaguar White Tiger” foundation, along with Rachel. His vision was to save these felines from the cruelties they face in the pets stores, zoos, circuses etc., and give them a close to native habitat.
So then, where is the controversy, you might ask?
16. Gaining Popularity
Once this initiative got rolling, it began to get popular. Eduardo used social media platforms effectively, with hashtags such as #SaveLions, #BoycottTheCircus, and #SaveThePlanet, to gain massive support for his foundation. Soon, his posts across various handles began to gets thousands of likes and shares.
Also, the concept was so appealing to the eye, that a number of celebrities began to visit the sanctuary. This helped the foundation gain massive popularity. From Paris Hilton, the Backstreet Boys, and Kaley Cuoco, to Debra Messing, Kellan Lutz, Lewis Black, and Kate Walsh. Everyone wanted to have a piece of the cherry, but was this all for show?
15. The Visit From The Kardashians
In one of the episodes of the Reality TV show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, Kendal and Khloe visited the sanctuary to play around with these cats. Khloe was even seen going into the animal enclosure, fending for herself against the little ones. But when the Big cats began to get too close for comfort, Eduardo came to her rescue.
14. Criticism Of The Episode
The episode drew a lot of flak from the viewers, for obvious reasons. Some criticised Khloe for foolishly putting herself in danger, without getting proper training from professionals, while others bashed the officials at the sanctuary for allowing her to get dangerously close to the animals.
But that wasn’t the only time the Sanctuary came under fire.
13. The Curious Case Of Lewis Hamilton’s Photos
Lewis Hamilton recently posted a number of pictures in which he is seen fooling around with tigers, and cuddling the cubs in his arms. The picture was clicked at the BJWT sanctuary, and drew backlash from animal activists everywhere. Many of them felt that the sanctuary had just turned into another animal exploitation agency, that was misleading hundreds of thousands of people in the name of animal welfare.
There was an agency that decided to step in, however.
12. PETA’s Intervention
Once the people reported the picture to PETA, the Animal Welfare body intervened. PETA reportedly got in touch with Hamilton and made their stance clear. The Director of PETA, Elisa Allen, said “Seeing big cats used for photo ops promotes the idea that wild animals are here for human amusement and to do with as humans please, rather than to be left in peace in their own habitat.”
But you might think, “What’s wrong with celebrities getting photos clicked with animals?” Well, A lot, actually.
11. Rising Concerns
Most people believe that the natural inclination of these felines is predatory, and as much as humans want, that fact can’t be changed. Allowing celebrities to get close to these animals is a huge risk, or, in other words, a disaster waiting to happen. It’s just a matter of time before one of these animals attacked someone, and the consequences of that could be dreadful. The safety of visitors is being heavily compromised at BJWT. Not to mention, if such event does take place, the animal would most likely be euthanised.
However, safety is not the only concern that people have when it comes to BJWT.
10. Is The Sanctuary Recognised?
When it comes to recognition, the BJWT claims to be approved by the Mexican Government. However, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, that accredits foundations that meet bare minimum criteria, has not yet put BJWT on their list. That raises serious concerns regarding the environment and facilities available for the animals at the sanctuary. Also, the BJWT claims to make 1000 acres available to the animals, whereas, in truth, there’s barely 100 acres of space at their disposal.
Thus, the claims that the sanctuary makes about keeping the animals in an open & free environment, that resembles their native habitat, comes under severe doubt and is simply not true.
Not to mention, if you’re not a celebrity, you can’t see the animals…
9. What About The General Public?
One serious issue of contention is the fact that, unlike celebrities, normal people are not allowed the privilege of watching the Wildcats closely, which might seem a good practice considering that there could be huge safety concerns. But there is a huge catch here: you are allowed to visit these animals as long as you are willing to commit to donating $1000 per month, indefinitely, to the foundation. And if you sign up for a $500 donation plan, you can have a facetime call with a baby.
8. A Social Media Scam
A lot of people believe that Eduardo and his team are only fooling their followers for the sake of cheap publicity, and money. Since social media loves such stories, it is easy to gain followers, and hence, easy money. Their Instagram account, for instance, is reported to have around 6.4M followers. That kind of reach makes this a hugely profitable endeavour.
So is this really just a money making gimmick?
7. A Money Making Gimmick!
All these issues make it look more like a scam, and much less, like a welfare initiative. Using Celebrities as click-bait, while making normal people pay huge sums (which they may even do; some for the sake of helping the animals, and others for the sake of fulfilling their fantasies) is such a gimmick these days. Add to that, the impact of social media, and you know where this is headed.
So who is this guy? And why is he really doing this?
6. An Ego Project!
Some people also believe that Eduardo is a delusional man, who believes that these wild cats can be trained and transformed to be friendly with humans. They believe that this project is a means for Eduardo, to massage his ego, as he gets a sense of conquest in taming these naturally aggressive and wild animals, and leading people to believe, through his PR machinery, that he has been able to turn them into human-friendly pets
5. Are These Animals Toys?
Most animal activists believe that wild animals should never be kept enclosed. These are free willed animals, and keeping them in a controlled environment would mean forcefully curtailing their inclination. Not only would it make their lives miserable, it would gradually start affecting the nature too.
Plus, these are living creatures and not plastic toys that manoeuvre according to our whims and fancies. Not to mention, a video surfaced of Eduardo harming the animals…
4. The Video That Raises Serious Concerns Over BJWT’s
Recently, a video from the sanctuary surfaced, where a cub was seen, being kicked by Eduardo, at the sanctuary. The cub had been given to the sanctuary by Olivia Savannah, who believed that it would be able to have a better life there than at her home. But when she enquired about her babies, Eduardo sent her a Whatsapp message in which she could see the babies being kept in a cage, and one of them being kicked repeatedly by Serio.
3. Serio’s Myth Was Busted
Serio’s belief, that these cats could mingle with humans, was busted, as seen in one of the videos from the sanctuary that went viral a little while back. He was with the animals in an enclosure, and as he turned his back to a Leopard, the feline could be seen jumping to attack him, only for a Tiger to come in the way and save Eduardo. And while Eduardo might not be so lucky every time, it just shows that the natural instincts of these animals were, and will stay predatory
2. Animal Welfare, Or A Scam- You Decide
So while Eduardo claims his foundation to be wholeheartedly dedicated towards the well being of rescued animals, a number of instances and fine details show that it could possibly be a gimmick. We are no one to pass a judgement, as all these pointers could also be mere aberrations. So we will leave it to your intellect, to decide for yourself, what you think it truly is.
1. Don’t Believe Everything You See On Social Media
Our foremost intention behind the post is to make you a bit more vigilant. A lot of stuff floats on social media, but we should not take everything at its face value. There are a lot of people who have mastered the art of capitalising on your emotions, through social media, and using them for their personal gains. We should, therefore, be a bit more careful before going with the tide.
As far as BJWT is concerned, we only hope that the truth ultimately prevails.