Rotary Club of Fernandina Beach
Club 4360, District 6970

 
 

Recently, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club enjoyed a presentation by Curt LoGuidice, director and curator of The Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jacksonville. LoGuidice began working with exotic animals in the 1980s and founded Catty Shack Ranch to provide a safe and healthy environment for big cats and other exotics. The facility is fully licensed by both state and federal governments and run solely by volunteers, including an all-volunteer medical team. Many of the animals were confiscated from facilities unable to care for them or were acquired from owners who could no longer handle their “house pets.” Once re-homed at Catty Shack Ranch, the animals are never sold or traded and will live out their lives at the sanctuary. The facility is now home to nearly 50 animals, primarily big cats including tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, and bobcats as well as coatimundi and foxes. The animals eat more than 600 pounds of meat each day. Funding comes from private donations, the sale of merchandise at the Catty Shack Ranch thrift shop and the price of tours. Though the sanctuary is only open to the public a few times a month, more than 50,000 people visited in 2013 and it has been named the number one attraction in Jacksonville by TripAdvisor. LoGuidice closed by saying that while Catty Shack was his dream, it had taken a group effort to make it a reality.