Carolina Tiger Rescue, formerly the Carnivore Preservation Trust, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Connor was a great, but somewhat subtle king at Carolina Tiger Rescue. Since he wasn't on the tour route, only the lucky visitor even got a glimpse of him. The staff and volunteers, on the other hand were privileged enough to come to know a wonderful, fuzzy, sometimes oh-so grumpy tiger that forever has a place in Carolina Tiger Rescue tradition and lore....
First and foremost, Connor was very fortunate for a tiger in captivity. He was born at Carolina Tiger Rescue when it still functioned as a breeding facility- the only male in a litter of three tiger cubs. Connor never knew the unkind hand of a human, or the neglect, or the exploitation. He was as free as he could be to live his life as a tiger with only the required human intervention to keep him healthy, well-fed and enriched. He was born beholden only to himself - although his sister and enclosure mate Eliza, one could argue, might have disagreed.
Connor could be very imposing. He was particularly protective and territorial with (of all things) his water dish. Although it was tended to everyday, Connor never tired of harassing the poor soul changing, cleaning or re-filling it. He would pace, growl, and even let loose a tremendous roar directed right at those bothering his water. More than once one would clean and replace the dish, only to watch him put his big muddy paw right smack down in the meticulously cleaned dish. After a sigh, we would just start over. That was Connor.
Connor could also be quite social, playful and outgoing. He had a deep chuffle and his eyes would widen with excitement, giving him quite the little deceptive teddy bear visage. The big guy did not have good teeth, and one of his lower canine teeth ultimately had to be removed. Every now and then, one would get a glimpse of Connor's famous "one-toofer". That lop-sided "grin" would never fail to bring a smile. His dental work also allowed some volunteers to work closely with Connor to ease the stress and mental burden of veterinary care through behavior training. As much as a tiger could, it was obvious that Connor developed a strong and lasting camaraderie with these people. Watching them together was amazing.
Connor with volunteer Tony Teague
Connor passed from lymphoma in September, 2009. I find the specific and most cherished memories I have of him and our time together are not the "big moments", but the quiet ones. Like when he would walk with me around his enclosure as I made my way to tend to another big cat, or was just taking a shortcut. Occasionally, he would chuffle, but more often than not, it was just me and the silent presence of this big cat we called Connor. It's so clear now that these are the magic moments of Carolina Tiger Rescue - tinted with sadness now, but worthy of celebration, hope and gratitude at a job well done and a life well-lived.
Tribute by Julie Brittain.