The Sunshine state is a popular location for sun-seekers and retirees, and it appears that many exotic animals rescued from cruel traveling acts and abusive owners are also flocking to the state’s many animal rescue
centers, reports Tampa Bay Online.
Debbie Cobb is one person who is aware of the trend. She works with the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, located in Palm Harbor. More than 70 primates reside at her facilities, including at least one famous face - the chimp who played Tarzan’s friend Cheetah in the 1940s is spending a quiet retirement there.
In Tampa, Carole Baskin and a crew of volunteers look after more than 100 big cats. One lion at the facility was found chained to the floor in a house raided by police for drugs. Several other Africa wildcats at the center were discovered after they were abandoned in the desert of Arizona.
"Florida has the largest number of exotic animals in private possession and the number keeps growing," Baskin told the news source. She added that there are as many as 1,400 tigers in the state- more than can be found in the wild.
According to National Geographic, the number of tigers in the wild has dropped significantly over the past century due to deforestation and hunting.