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Big Cat competitionAbout The Big Cat Sanctuary
Big Cat Competition

About The Big Cat Sanctuary

The Big Cat Sanctuary is set in the heart of the countryside at Smarden, in Kent.The peace and tranquillity of the site provides a sanctuary and excellent conditions for the successful breeding of the beautiful, yet endangered cats both large and small within the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.The Big Cat Sanctuary, was the vision of Peter Sampson and the Sampson family; great credit should be given to them for their enthusiasm and determination to bring this project alive and recognition of their enduring support and enthusiasm for the charity.


The Big Cat Sanctuary is located at Headcorn Road, Smarden, Kent, England and is set in 32 acres of grass land. There were a few big cats on the site prior to our arrival in 2000 and especially since we became a charity in 2004, we have succeeded in growing the collection and improving the site, for the benefit of both the cats and the visitors.

The Big Cat Sanctuary will always be indebted to Peter Sampson and the Sampson family. Their vision and support both personally and through the family owned Paradise Wildlife Park has enabled the project to prosper and to become the leading collection of big cats in the country. Their financial and practical support has meant that we have been able to achieve the ambition of being a Conservation Centre of Excellence.

The conversion to Charity status of our parent organisation Wildlife Heritage Foundation (Charity number 1104420) has assisted enormously in attracting the funds we have needed both to improve our own site but also to assist in projects overseas.

Paradise Wildlife Park continues to use its own contacts and expertise in the breeding of Big Cats to generate interest in and support for  The Big Cat Sanctuary within zoo and conservation communities. This assistance has enabled the charity to bring together a first class collection of endangered Big cats with excellent breeding credentials within the European Endangered Species Breeding Programmes (EEPs).

The main improvements to the site in recent years have included a new entrance, driveway and carpark, a visitor centre a conference building and various new breeding enclosures.

The charity has a Licence under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 and is a member of BIAZA, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and an associate member of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.WHF.

The Big Cat Sanctuary has in excess of 50 cats including African lions, White lions, Amur leopards, North Chinese leopards, Snow leopards, Amur tigers, Sumatran tigers, Cheetah, Lynx, Fishing cats, Jaguars, Pallas cats, Pumas, Rusty Spotted cats, Jungle cats and Servals.

The Trustees are Peter Sampson, Lynn Whitnall, Sir Eric Peacock and Matt Brady.

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