Big Cat Blog

Tammy SchmidtMy name is Tammy Schmidt, Curator of Carnivores at the Philadelphia Zoo, and I am excited to welcome you to the Philadelphia Zoo’s Year of the Big Cat

Cats are a dynamic and expressive species that are a favorite of many people.  They can be graceful, powerful, stealthy, secretive and athletic. This season, we are focusing on all things big cat, from our zoo cat family to their counterparts in the wild and our conservation messages. Our keepers and staff members will share with you all the inside information about our cats, including African lions, Amur tigers, pumas, jaguars, Amur leopards, snow leopards and cheetahs.  We will also share some fun stories about our smaller cats, the Canada lynx and black -footed cats, who have “big” attitudes despite being smaller cats. 
 
Our hope throughout our Year of the Big Cat is to inspire everyone to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of big cats.  We also hope to inspire you to  make changes in your daily home and work lives that will mitigate climate change, and join us in supporting deforestation-free palm oil through our big cat focus. All of our cats’ native habitats are being impacted in some ways by climate change and oil palm plantations around the world.

08/27/2014 : Bon appetit!

Tajiri is still nursing her little ones, but the cubs are developing a taste for meat.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

08/20/2014 : Getting ready

The keepers must make a lot of preparations before the cubs can make their public debut.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

08/15/2014 : Bonding with Babies

From the minute that the first cub was born, Tajiri has been clear about her role as a lion mother. 

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

08/08/2014 : Natural Instincts

Get the inside scoop from the night of the birth of Tajiri's first litter and the days leading up to it.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

08/01/2014 : Big Cat Connections

They're a pair now, but it wasn't love at first sight between Tajiri and Makini.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper.

READ MORE...

07/24/2014 : Curator's choice

Find out what makes jaguars so special to our curator of carnivores.

By Tammy Schmidt, Curator of Carnivores and Ungulates

READ MORE...

07/18/2014 : A Rocky Road for Tigers

Before you scream for ice cream on National Ice Cream Day on July 20, help make a roar for big cat conservation.

By Marina Stuart, Conservation Associate

READ MORE...

07/09/2014 : The Americas' Biggest Cat

Jaguars have the strongest jaws of any cat.

By Jen Robertson, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Keeper

READ MORE...

07/03/2014 : Jutai

Get to know Jutai, the Zoo's jaguar.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

06/25/2014 : Get to know our pumas

Our three puma siblings look a lot alike, but who better than a keeper to help you tell them apart?

By Jen Robertson, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Keeper

READ MORE...

06/18/2014 : Pumas reach new heights

Pumas enjoy jumping and climbing and being up high, so naturally, they've taken to Big Cat Crossing pretty quickly.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

06/10/2014 : Deforestation Doughnuts

Last Friday was National Doughnut Day, and many companies were offering free doughnuts to their customers. But what a lot of the people eating their free doughnuts do not know is how much the doughnut industry is affecting deforestation due to palm oil harvesting. 

By Marina Stuart, Conservation Associate

READ MORE...

06/04/2014 : Pumas all over

Taking a look at how much range pumas cover and how that's changing.

By Jen Robertson, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Keeper

READ MORE...

05/28/2014 : How to spot an Amur leopard

Many cats have spots, but here's how you can pick a leopard out of the bunch.

By Jen Robertson, First Niagara Big Cat Falls keeper.

READ MORE...

05/22/2014 : Hard to spot

Amur leopards are the most endangered of the big cats, with fewer than 40 remaining in their native Russian habitat. 

By Kristen Waldron, Director of Conservation Education/Integration

READ MORE...

05/15/2014 : Amur leopards on the move

It has been a week of moves and changes for the Amur leopards in Big Cat Falls!

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

05/08/2014 : Talking scents with our Amur leopards

Amur leopards might ignore a new toy or paper product, but sprinkle a dash of clove or a drop of mint extract and you’ve got a very happy excited cat!

By Anna Ryan, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Keeper

READ MORE...

04/30/2014 : Fun facts about our Amur tigers

Get to know the biggest of the big cats at Philadelphia Zoo. 

by Jen Robertson, First Niagara Big Cat Falls keeper

READ MORE...

04/23/2014 : Will You Fight Like a Tiger to Help Save Them?

Learn how the the expansion of oil palm plantations is hurting Sumatran tigers and what you can do to help.

By Kristen Waldron, Director of Conservation Education/Integration

READ MORE...

04/15/2014 : Exploring Big Cat Falls with the Tigers

While our tiger habitat is under construction for the next couple of weeks, the keepers have taken this opportunity to encourage Wiz and Dmitri to investigate the other habitats.

By Kay Buffamonte, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper

READ MORE...

04/09/2014 : Welcoming Wiz and Dmitri

This week, we focus on the newest residents of First Niagara Big Cat Falls, tiger brothers Wiz and Dmitri.

By Anna Ryan, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Keeper

READ MORE...

04/03/2014 : Getting to know Kira and Changbai

The spotlight of this week is on our two female Amur tigers, Kira and Changbai. 

By Jen Robertson, First Niagara Big Cat Falls Keeper

READ MORE...