S: OUR LIFE WITH WILD CATS Rob & Barbara Dicely
FC: OUR LIFE WITH WILD CATS | ROB & BARBARA DICELY
1: Introduction Rob and Barbara Dicely began their teaching careers in the 1970's in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1983, Barbara was given the opportunity to volunteer at a facility in Sonoma County that housed several wild cat species as educational ambassadors. This experience changed their destiny as Barbara's love for domestic cats spread to their wild cousins. In 1985 they purchased their first wild cat, a female caracal kitten named Asali. Over the next few years a pair of servals (Mondo and Twiga), a male caracal (Masai), a pair of Siberian lynx (Mischa and Tatiana) and a pair of Canada lynx (Quebec and Victoria) rounded out their wild cat family. As the family grew, Rob built enclosures and Barbara bottle nursed babies. In 1990, after years of teaching dog obedience training, Rob thought it would be an interesting challenge to leash train wild cats. Chhinsu, their first snow leopard, arrived and the experiment began. In 1991 Sahara, an African leopard arrived and in 1992 Lakotah, a mountain lion became the third cat to work on a leash. As the wild cat training moved forward, Rob and Barbara's awareness and passion for conservation and preservation of endangered wild cats grew. As the saying goes, they took the show on the road. Their outreach wild cat ambassador program began as Feline Folly and later became Leopards, Etc. TheWild Cat Education and Conservation Fund was formed and received non-profit status as a 501(c)3 corporation in 2001. Rob and Barbara along with their wild cat ambassadors, travel over 25,000 miles a year in their van, spreading their message of education, conservation and preservation to schools, businesses and private organizations. Since the beginning, Rob and Barbara have raised, housed and fostered nearly 100 wild cats. Rob has built 10 enclosure complexes capable of housing 24 wild cats on their 22 acre compound. They have given upwards of two thousand presentations and their ambassador cats have collectively raised over two million dollars, with all proceeds going to their conservation partners in the field as well as the care and feeding of their ambassador cats at home. This book is a pictorial collection of Rob and Barbara's three decade journey with wild cats. These cats are as beautiful and majestic as they are endangered. Like this book, the key to their conservation is in your hands.
2: CARACALS | Asali (above 2 left images) arrived in 1985 and 'Feline Folly' came to life. Masai was her companion and breeding partner. (upper right, center right & inset) | Asali & Masai were a prolific pair and the proud parents of 28 kittens. Mara (right), born in 1991 was one of their babies. She worked as an outreach ambassador for 18 years.
3: Baby Mara (top left) and full grown (above & right). Her calm demeanor made her an exceptional outreach cat. She impressed audiences with her unusually long ear tufts. | Moremi, (below left and right), was born in 2008 and worked as an outreach ambassador for 2 years.
4: SERVALS | In 1987, the servals arrived. Mondo first (top, center and bottom left) and then Twiga. (below) A very successful breeding pair, together, they produced 29 kittens. In 1996 Barbara kept one of their kittens, Nakuru. (seen on the right page) Twiga (bottom right), and her canine pal Mika.
5: Nakuru as a kitten (right) and full grown (below). He was the champion jumping ambassador cat for 19 years and routinely cleared 12 feet in a single leap. | Zuri (right) joined our family in 2012. She was an outreach ambassador for a short time and is a favorite with private tour guests.
6: SIBERIAN LYNX | In 1986, Siberian lynx were added to the family. Mischa first (left 3 and center 2 images) and 2 years later Tatiana. They quickly took to each other and became known as the old married couple. Together they produced 16 kittens. Barbara's Mother's Day gift in 1994 was one of their babies, Oksana, Tatiana (lower right and facing page top left and right) lived to the amazing age of 23 which is unheard of in the wild and extremely rare in captivity.
7: For 17 years Oksana (below right and left) was the reigning Diva of the outreach cats. In 2010 Natasha (center left & right) took over as the Siberian lynx ambassador.Natasha has a special connection to Rob & Barbara as she is the great granddaughter of Mischa & Tatiana.
8: CANADA LYNX | Victoria (above center & right) and her breeding partner Quebec (upper 2 left and center right) arrived in 1988 & 1989 and got busy making babies. Together they had 14 kittens. Cree and Kalispel (facing page bottom right) born in 2000 are 2 of their cubs. Victoria & Quebec (below) enjoying each other's company.
9: In 1996 Tyler (right & below) an acquisition from the Calgary zoo arrived. Three legged since birth, he compensated so well most people never noticed his handicap. | Denali (far right) born in 1992 is Quebec's younger brother and a retired outreach ambassador cat who worked in the programs for 18 years. Tiquanna (center) is Victoria & Quebec's grandson. He made his debut as an ambassador cat in 2009.
10: Chhinsu was Rob and Barb's first outreach ambassador. She worked the programs for 19 years. Living to the remarkable age of 21 she raised awareness of the plight of her species in the wild while raising over $400,000 for the Snow Leopard Conservancy. In 2011, a small pouch containing Chhinsu's fur was taken to Snow Leopard Mountain in Siberia and used by the Shamans in a sacred ceremony. Photos of her have appeared worldwide in books, calendars and greeting cards.
11: Ashakiran came along in 2001 and shared outreach ambassador cat duties with Chhinsu. Bhutan joined our family in 2018 as our newest outreach ambassador. | SNOW LEOPARDS
12: Usiku (left top & left middle) was born in 1993 and worked as an outreach ambassador for 12 years. Kanika (right middle & below) arrived in 2014 and is currently a great outreach ambassador. In direct sunlight their coats show a full complement of rosettes. They both live up to the leopard's reputation of being one of the most successful predators on the planet. | AFRICAN LEOPARDS
13: Sahara (above) arrived in 1991. Congenital health issues shortened her life but her memory lives on as the Leopards Etc. logo (below right). Umfazi was born in 1995, Although small in stature, she is large in attitude. At outreach presentations she impressed audiences by leaping 10 feet into the air and landing in Rob's arms.
14: Lakotah was born in 1992 and began working as an outreach ambassador at just 12 weeks of age. An extraordinarily mellow cat, she truly enjoyed meeting and watching people. Known as Daddy's Girl, she will always hold a special place in Rob's heart. | MOUNTAIN LIONS
15: Shoshone (above and center) was born in 2004 and Tocho (below) was born in 2014. They continue Lakotah's legacy by educating Bay Area audiences about one of California's two indigenous wild cats.
16: CHEETAHS | In 1994 Samburu (facing page top 3 images) arrived, becoming the first cheetah in the US to be housed at a private facility. King cheetah Kgosi (left and center) arrived next, followed by Kamau in 2000. Kibibi, bottom 3 images came along in 2002 and Themba made his journey from South Africa in 2010. Audience favorites, they collectively raised over 2 million dollars for cheetah conservation. Kgosi was the only King Cheetah on the west coast. His laid back, calm personality allowed audiences to enjoy revisiting him in what become his signature encore appearance after every presentation.
17: Clockwise from top: Samburu, Themba & Kamau
18: CHEETAH ACTION!! | KGOSI | KIBIBI
19: KAMAU | SAMBURU | THEMBA
20: BOBCATS | Zuni, affectionately known as “Mr. Cute”was an enthusiastic & willing outreach ambassador for 2 years starting in 1995. His beautiful coat pattern, typical of a Northern bobcat & cheerful demeanor have made him one of Barbara's favorites. Like some domestic cats, Zuni had a foot fetish.
21: In 1999 Cheyenne took over as the outreach bobcat ambassador. He is a southern bobcat, with a short, more heavily spotted coat. Bobcats by nature are very much home bodies & Cheyenne retired after 2 years. Cheyenne, a bit of a prankster likes to use his food bowl as a musical instrument by clanging it around his enclosure once he's emptied it. The most recent addition to the bobcat clan is Takoda (below left and center).
22: OCELOTS | Chimane (top, center & left), one of the most popular outreach ambassadors, joined the family in 1997. Always a great entertainer, Chimane was famous for climbing to the top of her branch, hanging upside down and giving audiences the look . | Chachi (right & below) was born in 2012. His routine includes climbing up and down his post.
23: CLOUDED LEOPARD | Chandra, a very endangered clouded leopard, joined the outreach family in 1995. Her strikingly beautiful coat, extra long canine teeth and glamorous presence made her quite the crowd pleaser. Shy by nature, Chandra was | brave enough to work as an outreach ambassador for 7 years. Even as a retired ambassador cat she continued to educate & inspire awe in all who met her.
24: GEOFFROY'S CAT | Guaranni arrived in 2009 and became the smallest of Rob & Barbara's outreach cats. Very shy, very nosy and very adorable, she weighs in full grown at a whopping 6 pounds. Despite her small stature Guarani is definitely a wild cat and has come to be known as the little biter. She is educating audiences about the many lesser known and often critically endangered small cat species around the world.
25: FISHING CAT | Bandhu was born in 2013. Although very shy, he is wowing guests at our outreach presentations as well as guests on our private tours.
26: CATS EDUCATING PEOPLE
28: BABY | DENALI AND HIS 4 SISTERS | TIQUANNA | USIKU | ASALI | CHHINSU | PICTURES | GUARANI | NAKURU
29: MONDO | NATASHA | CHIMANE | MARA | MOREMI | KANIKA | LAKOTAH | CHEYENNE | TAKODA | KIBIBI
30: CAT NAMES AND MEANINGS CARACALS Asali: honey in Swahili Masai: native tribe of Kenya Mara: a time in Swahili Moremi: princess of the Yoruba tribe SERVALS Mondo: serval in Swahili Twiga: giraffe in Swahili Nakuru: place of the water buck Zuri: beautiful in Swahili CANADA LYNX Quebec: province in Canada Victoria: city in British Columbia, Canada Denali: another name for Mt. McKinley; the high place in Inuit Tiquanna: adopted son in Inuit Cree and Kalispel: Native American tribes SIBERIAN LYNX Mischa, Tatiana, Oksana & Natasha: Russian names BOBCATS Zuni and Cheyenne: Native American tribes Takoda: Sioux word meaning 'friend to everyone' MOUNTAIN LIONS Lakotah and Shoshone: Native American tribes Tocho: Hopi word meaning mountain lion CHEETAHS Samburu: butterfly in Swahili Kgosi: king in Setswana Kamau: quiet warrior in Swahili Kibibi: little lady in Swahili Themba: hope in Zulu LEOPARDS Usiku: midnight in Malawi Umfazi: woman in Zulu Kanika: black cloth in the Mwera language of Kenya CLOUDED LEOPARD Chandra: moon-like in Sanskrit OCELOT Chimane and Chachi: Native tribes in South America GEOFFROY'S CAT Guarani: Native tribe in Paraguay FISHING CAT Bandhu: friend in Nepali SNOW LEOPARDS Chhinsu: a village in Nepal Ashakiran: ray of hope in Hindi Bhutan: a Buddhist Kingdom in the Himalayas
31: ACKNOWLEDGMENTS WCECF is grateful to all the professional and amateur photographers who have captured images of our wildcats over the years and without whom, this book would not have been possible. By purchasing this book you have already taken an important step towards wildcat conservation as all proceeds go directly to our conservation partners in the field as well as to the care of our outreach ambassador cats. To learn more about WCECF, to make a donation, purchase merchandise or learn of a public performance in your area please visit www.wildcatfund.org. WCE&CF is an IRS certified nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity. All donations are fully tax deductible. Donations can be mailed to: WCECF PO Box 430 Occidental, CA 95465 The Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund is a small non-profit organization. Through the generous donations of our supporters, we are able to continue to educate the public about the decreasing population of wild cat species around the world, provide funding for worldwide wild cat conservation projects and offer safe refuge for captive wild cats. Our conservation partners include: The Cheetah Conservation Fund, Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Snow Leopard Conservancy, Mountain Lion Foundation, Small Cat Conservation Alliance, and Cheetah Outreach. In addition to financial support the best way you can help WCECF is to spread the word about the plight of these endangered wildcats. If you know of a school, business or private organization who would be interested in a public or private wildcat performance please contact Rob & Barbara Dicely at (707) 874-3176. Share this book with your animal loving friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Remember, your involvement today helps insure their future.