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Intersection: Dr. K. ‘Simba’ Wiltz And His Big Cats

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Gabriel the Siberian tiger. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Gabriel & Angel. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Dr. K "Simba" Wiltz with Kola the lion. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Iyo Tawa. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
"Simba" Wiltz has been working with big cats for about 16 years. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Central Florida Animal Reserve. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Breakfast for the big cats. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Meals on wheels. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Kukla the cougar. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Bowling balls make good tiger toys. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
It costs about $15,000 a month to keep the Central Florida Animal Reserve going. A big part of the cost is feeding the big cats. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

How do lions and tigers say hello? Dr. K. ‘Simba’ Wiltz has spent sixteen years studying and taking care of big cats.  Now he’s sharing what he’s learned about these magnificent creatures to the public at the Central Florida Animal Reserve.

The animal reserve is home to 22 big cats, and it’s open to the public for guided tours.

“Seeing the cats by themselves is neat but when someone who understands and is highly educated about them can point out small details it really brings the reality of their existence home.”

Dr. Wiltz says the animal reserve is considered a sanctuary so the cats are all rescued and they stay there for the duration of their lives.

“Our role is to be part of the social safety net that just doesn’t exist for big cats,” he says.

“When cats are in need or if there are other organizations who aren’t able to make it financially these animals have no home.”

“It’s up to us as private individuals and non-profit entities to make sure that they have a home and to provide them the care that they need.”

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