Big Cat Rescue CEO Carole Baskin is doing the best she can to ride out Hurricane Ian after it made landfall in Florida.
The “Tiger King” star has over 45 big cats in her Florida sanctuary, so it’s a little difficult for her to pack up and move. Instead, she is hunkering down and doing everything possible to protect her cats from the Category 4 hurricane.
Carole Baskin Rides Out Hurricane Ian With Over 40 Big Cats!
Carole has not been shy about posting her progress to Facebook as she gives fans a “behind the scenes” look at how she prepares Big Cat Rescue for Hurricane Ian.
She also spoke to TMZ, telling the outlet that it’s difficult just to pack up and leave when she has around 45 big cats on the property. She, her husband, and the Big Cat Rescue team are doing their best to prepare their 21 bobcats, 8 tigers, 6 servals, jaguars, leopards, and other animals from the ongoing storm.
Although other, smaller animals, like chickens, also reside on the property, they have been moved to another sanctuary to ride out the storm in safety.
Fortunately, Carole said that she has gotten support from lots of local volunteers who have helped her chop down large branches, build new structures to protect the animals, and load sandbags throughout the property.
Others have donated equipment, such as chainsaws, to help her cut down those large branches. Even more cat lovers have donated generators and gas to help keep the power going throughout the storm. Carole even revealed that they have a large propane tank to help with the food prep, so the cats are still able to eat even if the power goes out!
Fatalities Are Estimated To Be ‘In The Hundreds,’ Says Sheriff
According to Fort Myers News-Press, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno appeared on “Good Morning America” on the morning of Thursday, September 29, to talk about the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian. Marceno estimated that the death toll from the hurricane could reach the hundreds.
“So while I don’t have confirmed numbers, I definitely know fatalities are in the hundreds,” Marceno said on national television, adding, “There are thousands of people that are waiting to be rescued.”
The county sheriff said that he can’t give a “true assessment” of the death toll until they are “actually on scene assessing each scene.” However, he added that the problem is that there are currently many areas that they cannot access due to the rising flood waters.
“We’re accessing the bridges, seeing what’s compromised and what’s not,” he added. “And this will be a life-changing event for the men and women who are responding. They’re going to see things they’ve never seen before.”
Host George Stephanopoulos questioned Marceno about the death toll, asking if there are really hundreds of people killed in Florida by this hurricane. Marceno clarified, “So far, confirmed in the hundreds, meaning, that we are responding to events: drownings, again, unsure of the exact details because we are just starting to scratch the surface on this assessment.”
On Thursday morning, the Sheriff’s Office said that they are already starting to assist in search and rescue efforts for those who decided to shelter in place, like Carole Baskin. In a Facebook post written just before 7 AM eastern time, they indicated that emergency services are “ready to respond and assist with search and rescue along with our other assets.”
Law enforcement officials also warned residents to be careful of road hazards, such as fallen trees, downed power lines, and other debris. In most places, hundreds of thousands of people are without power and traffic lights are out in many areas, making road travel hazardous.
Stephanopoulos asked Marceno how long it will take “to get things up and running again,” but the sheriff said that it was too early, but warned to be realistic with “long-term” expectations.
“Not knowing what we’re faced with, it’s very hard to give you an exact number and assessment. But I do know this road is long,” he said. “This is not something that’s going to be taken care of in the next day or two. This is going to be long-term, long-term for many reasons.”
He added, “Not just on the preservation of life and protecting and serving the law and order state but it’s going to be on the mechanical side, looking at these bridges, looking at roadways, working directly with the CEO of FP&L and all the people coming together to make us get back to where we need to be.”