Staff

About Carolina Tiger Rescue

Carolina Tiger Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

1940 Hanks Chapel Rd. Pittsboro, NC 27312 (919) 542-4684 (919) 542-4454 info@carolinatigerrescue.org

Wildlife should be in the Wild

Rescue

Education

  • We believe the ideal home for wildlife is in the wild.
  • We believe it is critical to conserve their native habitats.
  • We believe wild animals should not be kept as pets.
  • We believe captive breeding should ONLY be done in accordance with Species Survival plans.
  • We believe all wild animals, both captive and in their native habitats, deserve to be treated with respect and not exploited for entertainment and commercial purposes.

Visit Carolina Tiger Rescue

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Public Tours

Twilight Tours

Coming out for a tour is a great way to learn more about the animals that call Carolina Tiger Recue home. We offer many different types of tours.  Public tours are great for adults and families. Twilight tours are for adults only (18 years of age and older). Tiger Tales are a perfect option if you want to bring out really young children. Find the tour that is right for you and enjoy a walk through the sanctuary.

For all tours, tickets must be purchased in advance.

Kris Marino

Kris Marino

Executive Director

Kris has spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector. She is new to the Triangle but not new to North Carolina.  She was born locally and attended Duke for both her undergraduate and graduate education.  She describes Carolina Tiger as her “dream job”.  She came to Carolina Tiger through a tour she took soon after moving here.  From that tour Kris knew she wanted to be part of the Carolina Tiger mission.  Kris has volunteered in animal rescue, for over 30 years and currently competes with her dogs in a variety of sports including agility and herding.  She also enjoys travel, painting and endurance sports.

Executive Director

Kris has spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector. She is new to the Triangle but not new to North Carolina.  She was born locally and attended Duke for both her undergraduate and graduate education.  She describes Carolina Tiger as her “dream job”.  She came to Carolina Tiger through a tour she took soon after moving here.  From that tour Kris knew she wanted to be part of the Carolina Tiger mission.  Kris has volunteered in animal rescue, for over 30 years and currently competes with her dogs in a variety of sports including agility and herding.  She also enjoys travel, painting and endurance sports.

Executive Director

Kris has spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector. She is new to the Triangle but not new to North Carolina.  She was born locally and attended Duke for both her undergraduate and graduate education.  She describes Carolina Tiger as her “dream job”.  She came to Carolina Tiger through a tour she took soon after moving here.  From that tour Kris knew she wanted to be part of the Carolina Tiger mission.  Kris has volunteered in animal rescue, for over 30 years and currently competes with her dogs in a variety of sports including agility and herding.  She also enjoys travel, painting and endurance sports.

Executive Director

Kris has spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector. She is new to the Triangle but not new to North Carolina.  She was born locally and attended Duke for both her undergraduate and graduate education.  She describes Carolina Tiger as her “dream job”.  She came to Carolina Tiger through a tour she took soon after moving here.  From that tour Kris knew she wanted to be part of the Carolina Tiger mission.  Kris has volunteered in animal rescue, for over 30 years and currently competes with her dogs in a variety of sports including agility and herding.  She also enjoys travel, painting and endurance sports.

Kathryn Bertok

Kathryn Bertok

Assistant Director

Kathryn has been with Carolina Tiger since 1999, and before that served as an animal care intern. Kathryn worked her way up to Assistant Director and now manages the animal care and education programs. Over the years Kathryn has seen much change as Carolina Tiger continues to grow. While working with the animals brought her here, the people make it a place she calls “home”. Our furry and two-legged family has made an invaluable and lasting impact on who Kathryn is today. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys making jewelry and running. Her jewelry can be found in the Savanna Station gift shop.

Angela Lassiter

Angela Lassiter

Veterinarian

Dr. Lassiter started at Carolina Tiger Rescue in 2001 as a veterinary assistant, which led her to pursue her DVM from Ross University (2007). She returned to Carolina Tiger Rescue in August of 2008 and is the senior veterinarian on staff. Dr. Lassiter also works as an after-hours emergency veterinarian in Raleigh. Her favorite things about her job at Carolina Tiger are the people and the animals that she gets to work with and being able to make a difference in the world. She enjoys playing, hiking, traveling and gardening with her family.

Lauren Humphries

Lauren Humphries

Senior Keeper

Lauren graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Wildlife Science and Animal and Poultry Science. She completed several internships in the animal field, including working with cheetahs at Wildlife Safari and native Australian species in Cairns. She joined the Carolina Tiger Rescue team in January 2008. The best part of her job entails working with the animals through positive reinforcement. Lauren also loves music, movies, and bad jokes.

Cara Vitale

Cara Vitale

Keeper

Cara joined the staff at Carolina Tiger Rescue in September 2016, having volunteered in animal care since August 2012. Cara moved from New Jersey to North Carolina when she was awarded a full scholarship to play Division I softball at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she pursued a degree in Communications. She worked in marketing and brand development. The Carolina Tiger family is an inspiration to her and it’s an organization she has wanted to be a part of since she started volunteering. Cara loves, music, movies, road trips, her Golden Retriever, Callie, and spending time with her friends and family.

Kalyn Walker

Kalyn Walker

Keeper

Bio coming soon!

Stephanie Story

Stephanie Story

Animal Keeper

​Stephanie came to Carolina Tiger Rescue in January of 2024. She grew up in Richmond, Virginia and attended NC State University, graduating in 2021 with a B.S. in Zoology and minors in both History & Nonprofit Studies. Stephanie has worked with a variety of species through internships, from lemurs to marine mammals. In 2022, she interned at The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota where she discovered her passion for working with cats of all sizes. She was thrilled when an opportunity to join the CTR family opened up. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys crocheting, going to concerts, & being a silly goose.

Louise Orr

Louise Orr

Communications Director

Louise graduated from Elon University in 2014 with a degree in Strategic Communications, and combined her knowledge of comms with her passion for wildlife and conservation while pursuing her Masters at Clemson University. At Clemson, Louise dedicated her thesis to studying the intersection of strategic communication and tiger conservation in the U.S., and graduated in December of 2019 with her M.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. She’s been at the Sanctuary since March of 2020. She loves camping, going to the mountains, and taking her golden retriever, Bear, with her! 

Kyra Bucich

Kyra Bucich

Manager of Finance and Administration

After Kyra’s acting career took her from place to place for years, she found her way to North Carolina. Ready for a career change, the thought of working for the welfare of animals appealed to her. She discovered Carolina Tiger Rescue and became the Office Manager in 2006. Kyra loves that she is helping to make a difference in animals’ lives. In her spare time she loves to garden, write, and work on her house.

Susan King Cope

Susan King Cope

Development Director

Susan King Cope joined Carolina Tiger Rescue in 2014 as the Development Director. She worked in the health and human services sector of nonprofits for over 20 years in the areas of program development, advocacy, fundraising, and special events. While working to raise money and awareness for a variety of health organizations has been extremely rewarding for her, it is wonderful to work with so many dedicated people who love animals and conservation efforts just as much! Susan finally found home at the rescue. In her spare time, Susan enjoys spending time with friends and family, practicing yoga and gardening.

Heidi Zangara

Heidi Zangara

Donor Engagement Director

Heidi first came to Carolina Tiger Rescue as a visitor and quickly joined as a member.  Having spent several years working in the nonprofit fundraising sector for environmental and educational organizations, she was thrilled to find a job that combined advocacy and education. She loves making an impact on larger social and environmental issues that impact wild animals and especially the cats at Carolina Tiger Rescue.  Her favorite part of her job is seeing the impact that a small group of staff, volunteers, and supporters can have on the lives of the animals that have been rescued. Heidi loves to read mysteries. 

Beverly Clapp

Beverly Clapp

Gift Shop Manager

Beverly is a native North Carolinian who grew up in Burlington, NC. Despite growing up locally, she didn’t find Carolina Tiger Rescue until 2011 when she attended her first Black Tie and Tails Ball (the rescue’s big annual fundraiser). From that point she became a dedicated supporter/donor until finally becoming an official member of the staff in May 2023. As a self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady”, she loves cats big and small, including her 3 current kitties: 1yr old twins Sid and Fancy; and 4yr old Phoenix (Nixy for short). She is enjoying her new career adventure as Gift Shop manager at her “happy place” AKA Carolina Tiger Rescue. Beverly loves music, reading and attending sci-fi/comic book conventions.

Emily Cheney

Emily Cheney

Development and Communications Assistant

Emily joined Carolina Tiger Rescue as a Development/Communications Assistant in 2022. As a North Carolina native, Emily has grown up around local wildlife and developed a love for community outreach from a young age.  Before this she gained experience working with a local educational nonprofit and at a local veterinary office. This position at Carolina Tiger Rescue felt like the perfect opportunity to continue to help educate the public in animal welfare. When Emily is not working, she enjoys hiking, baking, and playing with her pets, Lucy and Toph.

Nicola Goodman

Nicola Goodman

Data Services Assistant

Nicola graduated with a MSCI degree in mathematics from Lancaster University in the UK. She previously worked as a medical records merging project supervisor at a local hospital in the UK. When she moved to the United States, she applied to be an animal care volunteer with the rescue because it was within walking distance of where she lived. She had a couple of volunteer positions before joining the staff in January 2007 as a donation data entry professional. Nicola enjoys solving problems and coming up with ways to manipulate data to get the information her team members need to make the database work better for everyone! Nicola has a toddler, so when she does get time to herself, she enjoys reading. 

Tara Murphy

Tara Murphy

Capital Campaign Coordinator
Madison Fales

Madison Fales

Education Director

Madison came to Carolina Tiger Rescue in June of 2023. Prior to that, she had almost five years of experience in environmental education and animal training. She is originally from Ohio and studied wildlife and fisheries biology at Clemson University. In her free time, Madison enjoys reading and spending time with her friends and her dog, Zoya.

Sabean Pia-Needleman

Sabean Pia-Needleman

Education Assistant

Sabean joined Carolina Tiger Rescue in February of 2024 after a recent move to North Carolina. Despite growing up in Vermont, Sabean has lived all over the east coast. Before joining the education team at CTR, she worked at the Boston Museum of Science. Sabean studied Marine Biology at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL and has a passion for education and advocacy for animals of all shapes and sizes. Working for a non-profit with a strong mission and a passionate team has always been a priority throughout her career, and she is excited for what her future at CTR has in store. Sabean loves cooking, cats, making jewelry, and soaking up the southern sun! 

Alyssa Schuberth

Alyssa Schuberth

Program Assistant

Alyssa joined the staff at Carolina Tiger Rescue in April 2023. Following a year and a half as an animal care volunteer. She is originally from Maryland and studied Marine Science and Psychology at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. For over 10 years Alyssa worked as a marine mammal trainer and marine scientist working primarily with dolphins, sea lions and sea turtles. Her move to North Carolina brought her to a volunteer position at CTR so she could continue working with large mammals. From the first day of volunteering Alyssa knew she wanted to be part of the team. Alyssa loves scuba diving, hiking, and spending time with family, friends and her dog Millie.

 

Toby Fischer

Toby Fischer

Site Manager

A student of History (Limestone College 89) born & raised in The Carolinas, Toby was a scholarship athlete, twice a team captain and MVP.  He Played & coached for the late, great, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer – Gaylord Perry.  For over (3) decades Toby has managed the development of new home & apartment communities throughout the region. His parents were both classically trained musicians, his father being one of the first Conductors of the Asheville Symphony. Younger brother Jonathan is Principle Oboe of the Houston Symphony. 

Brian Evans

Brian Evans

Construction Assistant
Brandon Harper

Brandon Harper

Site Assistant
Maryssa Hill

Maryssa Hill

Volunteer Coordinator

Maryssa came to Carolina Tiger from her hometown of Tampa, Florida, in the fall of 2014. She worked as an environmental educator and volunteer coordinator for nearly 10 years before deciding to move to North Carolina, and while her Florida background is mostly in aquatic life, she considers herself an equal-opportunity nature enthusiast and is knowledgeable in many species. While she’s still a Florida girl at heart, when she saw that Carolina Tiger Rescue was looking for a new team member, she knew that was supposed to be the next step for her. When she’s not at work, Maryssa enjoys nature photography, a good book, scuba diving, and spending time with her family and friends.

Moldy

Moldy

Tour Greeter

Meet Moldy, the sassiest black cat at Carolina Tiger Rescue! Once a feral feline, Moldy traded in his street smarts for a cozy spot in the rescue. Known for his eccentric meow that sounds like a rusty door hinge, he loves to greet visitors—just don’t scratch him too much, or you’ll be on the receiving end of a death glare. Moldy’s favorite pastime? Eating almost all the food and leaving just crumbs for his frenemy, Meatball. When he’s not busy bullying Meatball, Moldy enjoys lounging around and plotting his next mischievous adventure.

Meatball

Meatball

Sanctuary Lurker

Meet Meatball, the lovable orange tabby at Carolina Tiger Rescue! Once the undisputed king of the sanctuary, he’s now Moldy’s favorite target for a good-natured bullying session. Despite Moldy’s antics, Meatball has grown braver over time, discovering that the humans here are pretty nice. If you’re patient enough, this massive scaredy-cat might even let you pet him—just don’t make any sudden moves or loud noises, or he’ll bolt faster than a tiger chasing its dinner. Meatball was here first, but Moldy’s quirky charisma has nudged him into the top spot, leaving Meatball to rule the kingdom from the shadows… or under the nearest piece of furniture.