Whether furry, feathered, scaly, or smooth-skinned, the residents of Big Cat Habitat are all family. Founder Kay Rosaire is an eighth-generation animal trainer, and her father, Derrick Rosaire Sr., appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with his companion Tony the Wonder Horse. He also trained Gentle Ben, the bear from the show of the same name.
Along with their human relatives, the Rosaires preside over a household of more than a dozen tigers, eight lions, two ligers, a troop of lemurs, and several tortoises. With their nonprofit wildlife sanctuary, the Rosaires hope to educate the public about the importance of habitat preservation and to help foster an appreciation for these animals.
They do this with guided tours and training sessions, which allow visitors to watch the big cats respond to verbal commands from the trainers and receive a tasty treat in return. Training takes place in the cooler months, which ensures the animals don’t overheat and the snow cone treats they are rewarded with stay frozen. Guided tours of the facility are scheduled year-round.