One Spark

CROWD SELECTING BIG CATS

Catty Shack plans to bring felines to One Spark

A day in the life of a lion at the Catty Shack Ranch.
Lindsey Kilbride
Posted

The Catty Shack Ranch mystery hinting at the possible appearance of a big cat at the upcoming One Spark festival has been solved and now Jacksonville residents have the chance to “crowd-select” that cat.

The rumors began bouncing around Jacksonville about a month ago on Twitter and elsewhere. This week, Jordan Joseph, the volunteer and business partner coordinator for Catty Shack, said that the sanctuary does plan to bring either a tiger or a leopard on at least two days during One Spark.

Four cats at Catty Shack, which is also a One Spark creator, are currently in the running for a One Spark debut. And now, Catty Shack Ranch in conjunction with #IgniteMedia have launched a special poll to let One Spark’s audience help decide what cat to bring.

The felines in the running are a pair of white Siberian tigers, Nokia and Hercules, and the other two are black leopards, Khala Hala and Two White.

Although the poll’s findings will figure strongly in the selection of the felines to appear, the ultimate appearance of a big cat really depends on the felines themselves, Joseph said. Catty Shack’s plans — which include bringing along a giant cat to promote its One Spark creator project — cannot be promised because as executive director Curt LoGiudice said, “It isn’t up to us, it’s up to the cats.” If an animal is not behaving favorably or just doesn’t seem to want to travel, the staff will not force the cat to go downtown.

Catty Shack Ranch is an established wildlife sanctuary in Jacksonville and it is entered as creator project in One Spark. The sanctuary is a home to lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, bobcats, foxes and even coatimundis. Some animals are retired zoo residents while others came from neglectful situations.

Joseph said money raised from One Spark will go toward the sanctuary’s “Fur-ever Home Fund,” a collection that will help with the purchase of a new property of at least 10 acres.

“We can expand, take in more animals in need of homes and provide larger enclosures for our current residents,” Joseph said.

Money will also go toward an education and medical facility for the sanctuary.

The Catty Shack Ranch creator project is being hosted by the venue Main Street Park. If a big cat does end up traveling to the festival it will be in a similar type of enclosure that the cat currently lives in, just a bit smaller.

Joseph said Catty Shack will be thrilled to see the results of the poll.

“Even though I have an idea who will end up coming, it’s exciting to see what the people are going to want to see,” Joseph said. “They might have the opportunity to see the highest [rated].”

Click the poll link here to tell Catty Shack which feline you’d most like the meet at One Spark.

This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.

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