Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Carolina Tiger Rescue

On Saturday morning, I took my friend JM on a little date to Carolina Tiger Rescue, a non-profit wildlife sanctuary in Pittsboro, NC. I spent the summer following my graduation from college as an animal care intern at CTR, so it will always hold a very special (exotic, even? Funny funny) place in my heart. I haven't been back to visit since my internship ended, so I was very excited to go - even though JM snoozed through her alarm and it took me 10 minutes of banging on her door/calling her phone before we were able to head out the door. Luckily, we arrived just in time for our tour!

Rajah tiger
Carolina Tiger Rescue began in the 1990s as a breeding for conservation facility, but soon the vision and mission changed and the team turned towards rescue and protection. While CTR is home to many tigers, there are also lions, ocelots, servals, caracals, kinkajous, bobcats, cougars, panthers, and my favorite animal, the binturong (which I think is ADORABLE but apparently that sentiment is not common):

Becky the binturong
One thing that I really love about CTR is that even though they allow the public to tour the animals, their enclosures are made to feel as real and natural as possible; and, unlike at zoos, a tour is just about as busy as life gets for the animals. Tours are 2x/day on the weekends, and of course at other times for particular reasons by appointment. I was actually just at the zoo this morning, and it just struck me anew how horrifyingly loud and disruptive busloads of screaming children would be for the animals.

Collins bobcat
The staff of Carolina Tiger Rescue also tries to make well-known their mission and their viewpoints on various exotic animal-related issues. Wild/exotic animal facilities are not always so transparent, so it's nice to know what they are all about. On public tours, the staff also wants to make sure that the public is learning about the various species and each individual animal, as well as ways to protect, conserve, and improve, rather than just looking at the animals.

Roman lion
While it was supposed to be cloudy yet dry, it actually ended up raining on and off throughout our entire 1.5-hour tour. Sometimes a downpour, sometimes a drizzle. But - worth it. I love these guys!

Question of the day:
What is the most unusual animal you've ever seen or heard about?

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