"It is standard in the zoo industry for big cats to be locked up in concrete-floored night houses when the zoos are closed," she said. "This is when cats are most active because they are nocturnal ... Considering that zoos are usually closed from 5 p.m. until 9 a.m. you are talking about cats being locked up 16 hours a day in these windowless cells. For Petra that means hopping around on concrete for more than half of the rest of her life."
In BCR's letter to the zoo, the rescue expressed concern that the worst could happen to Petra, who, at 16, is entering her senior years.
"I fear she will just disappear now, either through euthanasia, once the media has turned away their attention, or to some tiny, barren holding cell, or to some backyard collector," it read.
You can contact the Dickerson Park Zoo here or by phone at 417-833-1570 to encourage the zoo to allow Petra to retire to a sanctuary.