Friday, August 26, 2011

An Interview with the President of In-Sync Exotics!

The life of a CEO and President of a wild exotic animal sanctuary is never boring.  Between the paperwork, staff, sanctuary operations and animal issues, there is a little time for rest, relaxation, and trips!

So, when an opportunity arose for Vicky to travel to New Jersey and Indiana, she and her husband, Eddie, took to the friendly skies to check on the former Poetry big cats that left Texas in August 2011 (for a recap of the Poetry cat rescue, take a look at these blog stories).

Earlier this week, “Cat Tales” spoke to Vicky about her adventurous travels, to find out “just how are the Poetry cats doing in their new homes?”

CT:       Vicky, tell us about your trip to New Jersey?

Vicky:   Well, Eddie and I left for the airport early Thursday morning to catch a flight, at no cost to the sanctuary, to Houston.  We were flying on stand-by, so we were at the mercy of the airline!  After being bumped from that flight, we finally caught a plane to St Louis—we were on our way to see the cats! 

We “enjoyed” a three hour lay-over in St. Louis before we caught a flight to Philly (Philadelphia).  By the time we arrived in Philly it was after 11:00pm!

Not wanting to waste any time, we rented a car and drove to Tom’s River, where we bunked for the night.  Six and a half hours later we were back on the road, making our way to Popcorn Park Zoo!  When we arrived, John Bergmann, Popcorn Park Refuge Manager, took us right to the former Poetry cats.  

CT:        So tell us, how does Porthos look?

Vicky:   Porthos looked great!  He now lives next door to a female lioness, Nyla, whom we sent to John in 2005 and who has a thing for Porthos.  She is absolutely infatuated with him, but he does not share her affections—at least not yet.  John hopes to integrate Porthos and Nyla sometime in the future.  Right now they are getting to know one another—nose to nose style!

CT:        How is Porthos adjusting to the changes?

Vicky:    Porthos loves the weather in New Jersey.  We could not have asked for a more perfect day to visit the cats.  Porthos loves rolling around in the grass, something he did not have before in Poetry—just laying back and relaxing as only as a lion can.  Porthos really took to John!  When John moves around the enclosure, Porthos is right there with him—stopping when he stops, walking when John walks—it was great to see how well Porthos adjusted to his new home!

CT:        Who else did you see at the Popcorn Park Zoo?

Vicky:    Lance & Gwiunever!  When John and I approached their enclosure, Gwiun was lying in the grass and Lance ran right over to see us.  It was so great to be greeted by these two—there was lots of cougar “talk” (didn’t know I spoke cougar, did ya?) and cage rubbing.  John must be a cougar “whisperer” or something because these two cats just love following him around.  It was amazing to watch!

CT:        Didn’t Popcorn Park Zoo also take in three female cougars?

Vicky:   They sure did!  We saw Camille, and Fiona—outside relaxing Zoie was in the cougar house, They all looked great and very content with their new home.

CT:        How’s Taj doing—wasn’t she the tiger with no tail?  

Vicky:   Yes, Taj was the one with a missing tail.  She is still adjusting to her new home, refusing to go outside because it is too scary for her right now.  Taj had to make the biggest adjustment when she moved from the horse stall to a new spacious enclosure, slowly adjusting to John, as she is really afraid of men.  After a little coaxing, Taj came over to us and greeting us with chuffs and cage rubs.

CT:        Do you think Taj remembers you?

Vicky:    I think so…I’d like to think so!

CT:       Didn’t you place some animals at Popcorn Park Zoo several years ago?

Vicky:   We placed the lioness, Nyla, back in 2005 and Bengalie, being the first tiger we placed at Popcorn Park Zoo back in 2003, and of course, Dante and Cesar (tigers), were also placed just one year before that in 2002.  It was like a big cat reunion!  I really miss those guys.

CT:       Sounds like everyone had a great time at Popcorn Park Zoo—

Vicky:   We did!  We were there during feeding, so we got to see how the cats interacted with one another during that time—it was really hard to leave them all at the end of the day!

CT:       I heard you made a new friend outside of John’s office?

Vicky:  Yeah, I guess you saw the photo of me and the goat together.  He was such a rascal!

CT:       I bet you were tired after your first day at the Popcorn Park Zoo, right?  Did you get a chance to sleep in?

Vicky:    Don’t I wish!  After three hours of sleep, Eddie and I were back on the road again, traveling to Philly to return the rental car and catch a flight to Indianapolis, Indiana.  By the time we arrived at Exotic Feline Rescue Center, located in Centerpoint, Indiana, it was around 4:30pm.  We were greeted by Joe Taft, founder and director of EFRC, and he gave us a quick tour of the sanctuary.

CT:        Did you get to see the former Poetry cats?

Vicky:   We did.  We saw Lola and Kitty eating dinner, but we could not see Lilly that well because she had dragged her food into her den.  It was late, so we decided we’d come back the next day so we could spend more time the lions.

CT:        So how was Day 2?

Vicky:   Great!  We received another tour of the facility, we visited with the girls some more, but unfortunately we had to visit D’Artainian in the clinic area. 

CT:        Is D’Artainian okay?

Vicky:    D’Artainian is still recovering from dental surgery as he had a painful abscess tooth removed that prevented him from chewing his food.  He lost a lot of weight, poor baby, but last I heard, he started eating again and hopefully he will make a full recovery.  We are keeping in touch with Joe as everyone at In-Sync is pulling for D'Artainian.

CT:        Sounds like all the former Poetry cats are doing okay in their new homes.  Do you have anything else you’d like to share with the CT reading audience?

Vicky:    Just that I want to thank John and Joe for giving me the grand tour of their facilities, allowing me to re-connect with the Poetry cats, and—well, to thank them both for giving the Poetry cats a second chance at love, life, and happiness.  It was a great trip!

Cat Tales wants to thank Vicky for giving us this update on the Poetry cats. As a flash back to the past, let's see where these same cats came from:

Thanks to everyone who made this amazing rescue possible!

Want to help In-Sync continue its mission of rescuing and caring for big cats in crisis? Please make a donation to our current Razoo project at!

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