Big Cat Habitat Gulf Coast Sanctuary Inc
7101 Palmer Boulevard
Sarasota FL 34240
Our mission is to provide a safe, loving and permanent home for big cats and other exotic creatures in need, and to educate our guests on the importance of species preservation to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals for future generations. We are firmly committed to keeping alive the Human-Animal connection in our world and in our community.
CEO/Executive Director Ms Kay P. Ross
Board Chair Ms. Kay P. Ross
Board Chair Affiliation Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
General Info
Organization DBA
Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1995
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes May 2018
State Registration Yes May 2018
Financial Summary
Note: Revenue includes the value of in-kind contributions/donations
IRS Letter of Determination
Letter of Determination of Tax Exempt StatusView
Impact Statement
Big Cat Habitat completed a number of substantial improvements in 2016-17, for the comfort of our amazing animals, and also finally, for the guests and visitors who support their care.  

1. During the winter of 2017, we improved the bears' habitats, with the expansion of the bear dens, the construction of permanent shade structures, and pools in every bear yard.

2. Our newest walkway addition was completed in Winter 2017, and it connects the Walk On The Wild Side walkway, which was built in 2015, to the big cat barn. From this tree-lined walkway, visitors can see the tigers, lions, and ligers relax and play in their yards.  This was created as a special space for hosting private parties, yoga and cranial sacral therapies (community programs slated to begin in 2017-2018).

3. In the fall of 2016, we unveiled a new compound for our 5 resident servals, complete with shaded dens, climbing towers and trees, and water features.  This compound was made possible in part by the generosity of our supporters through the Sarasota Community Foundation's Giving Challenge and The Patterson Foundation's generous match.

4. In 2016, we also contracted with a local Sarasota company to build a climate controlled restroom facility, complete with handicap access, and separate men's and women's facilities/washrooms. The new facility will allow us to host corporate parties and special events for our guests, in support of these animals.

In 2017-18, we plan:
1. the construction of permanent shade structures for the lions, which will replace sail shades.
2. to spray insulation on the inside of our showbarn, to reduce energy costs and improve efficiencies of HVAC system
3. a construction project to expand enclosure spaces for 6 big cats.
4. to break ground on the construction of an on-site animal care clinic.
Needs Statement
1. Senior Care Habitats and On-Site Care Clinic. An onsite clinic will provide enhanced care with minimal stress to the animals.  $250-300,000  initial cost estimates.
2. Barn Building.  Blown foam insulation will provide both enhanced aesthetics & improved energy efficiency.  $18-24,000 estimated cost.
3. Permanent Shade Structures for the Big Cats.  All of the big cats have platforms to climb on, and sail shades in their yards. Permanent shade structures, to replace the sail shades will cost $20-28,000.
4. Tent or Outdoor covered arena for hosting animal demonstrations, private events and shows. $80-120,000
5. Additional Administrative, Animal Care, and Building/Maintenance Staff.  We are severely understaffed. $100-160,000 will help us grow, and pay off with improved efficiencies.
Background Statement
      Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a safe and permanent home to many endangered big cat species and a variety of other exotic animals that have been surrendered or confiscated from their original owners who could no longer properly care for them. Along with our commitment to provide these beautiful creatures a loving home for life, our mission embodies educating adults and children about species of animals and habitat conservation in an effort to ensure the survival of these magnificent creatures for future generations.
      Founded by Kay Rosaire, a world renowned animal trainer and eighth generation circus family descendent, the Sanctuary began providing permanent homes for rescued big cats in 1987. The Sanctuary, which, was originally supported by Ms. Rosaire's career performing with her own big cats, didn't obtain its nonprofit status until 1996. Since then, the Rosaire's have continued to save hundreds of animals from unhealthy situations and the possibility of being euthanized. At present, the entire facility supports more than 140 animals including an abundance of exotic big cat species (lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, and servals, etc, ), as well as a wide variety of other creatures (bears, camels, monkeys, lemurs, macaws, cockatoos, tortoises, etc.). In addition to providing lifelong homes for big cats (which can span upwards of twenty years or more) and other wildlife, Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary also fosters public appreciation of exotic animals and imparts the importance of species preservation and habitat conservation through our educational programs. While this is accomplished primarily through our live animal educational demonstrations performed by Ms. Kay Rosaire and her son, Clayton Rosaire, the sanctuary also produces an excellent elementary education program serving students in both Sarasota and Manatee schools and performs outreach to organizations throughout the community. An estimated total of 55,000 guests visited our facility in 2016 and received our important educational message about the need to preserve exotic animals from extinction.
      While Ms. Rosaire has no plans of retiring from her leadership position anytime soon, Clayton Rosaire is poised to carry on the important work Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary provides to the current animal population and will continue to educate the public regarding the plight of these exotics.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments Although Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is located in Sarasota, Florida and serves the immediate and surrounding communities, we accept exotic and native wildlife from throughout the continental United States, upon request. In addition, we also provide on-site and outreach educational programs to guests from around the world.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Animal Related
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Animal Related
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
     We are honored and thankful to host many visitors, from all over our great community, country, and the world, as they enjoy and appreciate the magnificent animals here at the Big Cat Habitat.  There is something special about spending time in nature and with the animals, which opens our hearts to the responsibility we have to foster our care and connectedness with the animals and with each other in our communities.
      I've always strived to build and place that not only supports our great animals, but also the children and families of our community, and our great country. Our modern lifestyle does not allow kids to connect with animals nearly enough, so when they come here and can pet a goat, and see people caring for animals that they may have never had the chance to see live, we are thrilled to witness the joy and excitement they experience.
      Big Cat Habitat is a unique venue to see so many  big cats, up close and personal, swimming in pools and relaxing in their shaded habitats.
Many families have to struggle to afford the cost of family entertainment, and so many people thank us for keeping the cost of admission affordable. A guest recently pointed out to me: "The cost of one adult admission to Legoland will buy our large family of 8 (Grandparents + Parents + 4 kids) admission to the Big Cat Habitat!"
      We also appreciate the sacrifice that our great service men and women make every day for our country. In accordance, we offer free admission to active and retired military, including veterans, and all active members of our local firefighters, police, and sheriffs.  We offer admission to disadvantaged children and people in need. 
     We've always strived to build and place that not only supports our great animals, but also the children and families of our community.  
Our modern lifestyle does not allow kids to connect with animals nearly enough, so when they come here and can pet a goat, ride a pony, and see people caring for animals that they may have never had the chance to see live, we are thrilled to witness the joy and excitement they experience.
"We Are All Connected."  That is the feeling that we want all of our visitors to leave with, after spending the day at the Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary.
Our animal care program was designed around our belief that people who live and work with animals are bound by duty to assure their well-being; to provide appropriate housing, nutrition, medical care, and humane treatment and handling. As a result of our vision, our animal care program which is administered by our professionally trained caregiver staff provides the optimum mental and physical health of our animals. The program features multiple enrichment opportunities in each of our animal habitats, such as filtered pools and climbing apparatuses for our larger animals and small toys for our smaller animals. The nutritional needs of our animals are thoroughly researched with each animal receiving an individual dietary plan which is monitored daily. Our medical team is comprised of local board certified veternarians who frequently consult with our animal caregiver staff, as our staff are often the first to notice any changes in animal behavior which might result in a need for medical care or further observation. Each of our animal caregiver staff values the human animal bond and therefore, ensures that each of our animals is treated with dignity, respect and love.  
Budget $100,000
Category Animal-Related, General/Other Animal Protection & Welfare
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Short Term Success
All of the animals at the facility will exhibit optimum health on a daily basis and those who do not, will receive immediate medical attention in an effort to prevent continued illness and/or loss of life.    
Long Term Success
All animals within our care, regardless of their health status upon their arrival at our facility, will exhibit optimum mental and physical health throughout their natural remaining lifespan which for captive big cats is twenty or more years.     
Program Success Monitoring
Animals are monitored on a daily basis for any behavioral changes that might indicate a deviation in their overall health status. Changes indicating a decline in health are recorded and reported immediately to veterinary staff to determine if medical attention is necessary. As a result of constant behavioral observation by our animal caregiver staff and our veterinary team, animals exhibiting a decline in health are treated immediately and loss of life is minimal.
Program Success Examples
As a result of the success of our program, a high percentage of the animals live the full term of their natural "captive" lifespan which has been noted to be at least twice the lifespan for their wild counterparts. Often, we receive animals from situations that were previously unhealthy for them and we invest incredible effort into restoring them to their optimum health. One such lioness, who came to us in extremely poor physical condition as a cub, is now healthy and happily turning three this year. Not only did she receive excellent medical care upon arrival, but also benefited greatly from proper nutrition and hands on care from our animal caregiver staff.  Fortunately, she is just one of our many success stories and represents many of our animals who have been given the wonderful opportunity of lifelong sanctuary with us.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms Kay P. Ross
CEO Term Start Jan 1996
CEO/Executive Director Email

Kay Rosaire has more than 30 years of experience working with, and caring for, exotic animals and began re-homing big cats in 1987. A world renowned animal trainer and eighth generation circus family descendent, Rosaire originally supported Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary while still traveling and performing with her own big cats until retiring from the entertainment industry. She proceeded to concentrate on providing a safe and permanent home for big cats and other exotic animals in need. The sanctuary was designated a nonprofit in 1996.

Big Cat Habitat provides a permanent home for big cats, bears, primates, and more than 150 other animals that cannot go to shelters for domestic animals. Many of the animals at the habitat are in danger of extinction in the wild. Big Cat Habitat also provides education to the public to foster appreciation for the animals and to raise awareness about the importance of habitat preservation and extinction prevention efforts. More information about the sanctuary and its residents can be found at or by calling 941-371-6377.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 11
Part Time Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 90
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 38
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
We have collaborated with, and conducted the most successful Jam Out Hunger event ever held, for the All Faith's Food Bank Campaign for Summer Hunger. With the help of our generous guests, we provided a tractor trailer full of non-perishable food, as well as $4,000 towards this important program to provide meals for our community's children in need.
Big Cat Habitat also supports and conducts frequent blood drives for the Suncoast Blood Bank.
In addition, we host the Humane Society of Sarasota County adoption events, where we encourage our visitors to give and support our LOCAL Humane Society's mission.
We recently donated a large amount of kennel material and fencing fencing to Satchels Last Resort, which is another one of our favorite local non-profit animal charity partners.
We are one of the few organizations in Florida capable of helping to move and relocate exotic animals safely.  In 2017, we donated the time and talents of our Big Cat Crew to help re-home not only our new Tigon, but three other big cats, which we helped to safely move out of distressed situations to better living conditions throughout other Florida facilities.
Among our planned initiatives for the coming year: partner with the Racing Dog Rescue Project to host Adoption Events, and also to host Craniosacral Healing workshops for special needs children and adults. 
Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Certificate of ExcellenceTrip Advisor2015
Certificate of ExcellenceTrip Advisor2016
Certificate of ExcellenceTrip Advisor2017
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government Yes
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted May 2014
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization

Multi-Media Comments by Organization Our media includes our website, Facebook, Instagram, You-Tube, and other media outlets.
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Kay P. Ross
Company Affiliation Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Board Term May 1996 to May 2050
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Lonnie Bohrer Mowers, Inc.
Ms. An Cantor Community Volunteer
Mr. Richard Czina Retired
Atty. Lauren Kohl GIbson, Kohl, Wolff & Hric, PA
Mr. Clayton R. Mowrey Rosaire Productions
Ms. Shareet Pennino Providence Service Corporation
Ms. Linda Rosaire Retired
Ms. Kay P. Ross Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 3
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 100
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Donor Services
Fiscal Affairs
Housing and Community Development
Current Year Projections
Tax Year Start Month Jan
Tax Year Start Day 01
Tax Year Begins 2017
Tax Year End Month Dec
Tax Year End Day 31
Tax Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $1,200,000.00
Projected Expenses $970,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign Yes
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose In our quest for continuous improvement, we will build an on-site animal care clinic, which will help us to provide veterinary care for our animals on-site. A Senior Center will allow us to house our older cats in comfortable private habitats. 
Campaign Goal $500,000.00
Campaign Dates May 2017 to May 2021
Amount Raised To Date 25000 as of June 2017
Audit/Financial Documents
Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$981,218$890,655$690,885
Administration Expense$954$30,621$37,547
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.341.141.11
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%98%97%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,261,412$934,132$806,599
Current Assets$202,703$236,234$177,885
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$4,587$4,768
Total Net Assets$1,261,412$929,545$801,831
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountAnimal Behavior Exhibitions $1,169,848Animal Behavior Exhibitions $836,197Animal Behavior Exhibitions $492,995
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $77,665Contributions, gifts, grants $80,744Contributions, gifts, grants $157,787
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountNet Income from Sales of Inventory $48,327Fundraising $72,979Fundraising $125,104
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities--51.5037.31
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

Organization filed for an extension for 2016 Form 990.  2015 Form 990 will be filed no later than 08/15/2017.

Financial Comments by Foundation
Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990s.  Financial figures were taken from the Federal 990s.
Nonprofit Big Cat Habitat Gulf Coast Sanctuary Inc
Address 7101 Palmer Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34232
Phone 941 371-6377