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conversations on conservation [+ animal welfare] episode 9: the crises around big cats in captivity
Did you know that there are more tigers in captivity in the United States than there are in the wild? That’s a fact that’s hard to fathom. How did this happen? Why are there so many in captivity? Where are they living? And how does this affect big cats in the wild globally? Learn the answers to these questions and so many more as we dive into the details of the big cats in captivity crisis with leading wildlife industry experts Meredith Whitney and Carson Barylak in episode 9 of our video blog series, conversations on conservation [+ animal welfare].

Meredith Whitney leads IFAW’s work to rescue big cats in captivity in the US and has been the lead for other IFAW big cat work, including rehabilitation of leopards in Kenya. During this episode, Meredith will share her experience working with legitimate big cat sanctuaries in the US. She'll also discuss the differences between accredited sanctuaries and zoos, and roadside menageries who may pose as sanctuaries or zoos to the unsuspecting public who mean well but end up perpetuating deadly and unethical business practices.

Carson Barylak, IFAW’s US big cats policy campaign lead, will also be joining us to talk about how our US policy team is working diligently on a political level to rein in the U.S. trade in captive big cats. Carson has considerable experience with legislative and regulatory issues affecting wildlife management at the state and federal levels.

You won’t want to miss this incredible episode and hear how YOU can make a difference. You’ll learn about the abuse big cats often face living in terrible conditions: in private hands as “pets,” in menageries masquerading as rescue sanctuaries, and at unqualified roadside exhibits operating with little oversight or accountability. After we hear from Meredith and Carson in a virtual round table discussion, you will get the chance to ask questions live. We are in for an impactful and eye-opening episode, looking forward to seeing you there!

Jun 9, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meredith Whitney
Program Officer - Animal Rescue @IFAW
Meredith Whitney is a wildlife professional with 12 years of experience working in accredited zoos, for state wildlife agencies and for IFAW. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Biology from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science (concentration: applied ecology) from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. She is a co-founder of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance, and leads rescue efforts on big cats in the US on behalf of IFAW. Meredith now serves as the project manager for multiple projects at IFAW, including the disposition of confiscated live animals in the US, and wildlife rehabilitation and release projects globally.
Carson Barylak
Campaigns Manager - Policy @IFAW
Carson is a Campaigns Manager with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in Washington, D.C. She has considerable experience with legislative and regulatory issues affecting wildlife protection at the state and federal levels. She leads IFAW’s captive wildlife policy campaign and spearheads legislative reform efforts related to predator management, coexistence and wildlife trade. Prior to joining IFAW, Carson held advocacy and litigation roles at local and national conservation organizations. She holds a J.D., B.S. and B.A from Ohio State University, where she was active in advancing sustainability policies.