In Southern California, not far from San Diego, the town of Alpine, California is home to a rescue organization called Lions Tigers and Bears. Big cats and other large exotic animals who were part of the black market trade or otherwise found themselves unwanted, unable to be cared for, or abused, find lifelong refuge here. They are a no kill, no breed sanctuary that makes space for these amazing creatures who would otherwise be suffering or abandoned. There are more big cats in captivity than there are in the wild, and more of them live in back yards and private property than in zoos or facilities properly equipped for their livelihood. LTB has a full setup, including veterinary labs and operating room, and a platoon of volunteers who make the place tick. The recently captured black bear that SoCal residents saw all over the news, “Meatball” is a current resident (originally supposed to be transferred to a Colorado facility, but the plan hit a snafu, so they are frantically trying to build an appropriate bear habitat so Meatball can have a healthy home).
If you ever wanted to volunteer with magnificent exotic animals, this may be your dream service gig come true. Lions, mountain lions, tigers, bears, bobcats, serval, leopards, even some rescued domestic animals, all find refuge in this little spot of safety adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest. Can you find your way to help out and/or support them? A pretty sweet way to give back, if you ask me.