The Big Cat Encounter will return to the Clay County Fair by popular demand. The show, provided free with fairgrounds admission, will run the full length of the fair Sept. 6-14.
With several shows each day, fairgoers get an up close view of Siberian tigers and a variety of other big cats - they may even be able to pet a baby animal or catch a glimpse of a rare white tiger - all while learning about the problems facing the beautiful creatures in the wild.
The Rosaire Family came to the U.S. in 1960 as circus performers on tour, and after performing on the Ed Sullivan Show, they fell in love with the American people and never returned to Europe.
In 1974, the second generation animal trainer Kay Rosaire obtained her first lion, and has been performing ever siince.
She established the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Florida and began rescuing big cats in 1987. The sanctuary became a nonprofit entity with the goal of rescuing exotic cats and other native wildlife from situations that are not healthy for them. Big Cat Habitat provides education to the public to foster appreciation of the animals and impart the importance of habitat preservation. There are three large indoor/outdoor housing complexes with adjoining exercise habitats each with a swimming pool, toys and palm trees to provide the emotional enrichment that maintains optimal mental and physical health for the animals.
Kay and her son Clayton continue to take big cats on tour each summer to help support their sanctuary, and spread understanding about the threat of extinction.
They provide educational training demonstrations using positive reinforcement techniques developed by Kay.
The Rosaires' special relationships with the animals makes every demonstration thrilling to watch, with the opportunity to see the animals in a close encounter of the exotic kind!