Since “Tiger King” dropped on Netflix in March, Carole Baskin has mostly kept quiet aside from a prank Jimmy Fallon phone call and her detailed missive about everything the series “got wrong” on her website. Now, the Big Cat Rescue owner is speaking out once again, this time to bring attention and awareness back to big cats.
“The war against the exploitation, abuse and extinction of the tiger and other exotic cats has always been my focus,” she writes in a newsletter. “Despite the fact that ‘Tiger King’ producers chose to focus on the personalities involved in the trafficking of exotic animals, we at Big Cat Rescue stayed true to our mission, even during the backlash caused by the series and the negative impacts of COVID-19.”
Baskin began working with Xennial Digital at the beginning of the year to help bring a virtual reality game about the realities of tiger poaching, captivity and the illegal cub trade.
“My goal for decades has been to stop the practice of holding wild cats hostage under the guise of conservation or education,” she writes, adding that the letters she has received since “Tiger King” debuted have shown her that the general public still has a long way to go when it comes to tigers in captivity.
“Judging from the tens of thousands of calls, letters, emails and social posts I’ve gotten after ‘Tiger King’ aired, it’s clear to me that most people don’t understand that breeding tigers is causing their extinction in the wild, not preventing it,” Baskin writes. “Another fallacy that came into sharp focus was the general public’s belief that captive-bred big cats can be set free.”
Baskin says her new game which launched in the Rift store on Thursday free of charge will help educate while being “fun, informative and empowering.”
“It’s a fully immersive game that takes the player on a journey where they learn how to track a tiger in the wild. Along the way they learn about the plight of the tiger in the wild and how the lucrative cub petting industry is fueling the demand for poached wild tigers, writes Baskin. “In the end the user is empowered with the knowledge and resources to bring the tiger back from the edge of extinction.”