We’re always looking for a reason to celebrate wildlife, and World Wildlife Day is no exception! World Wildlife Day (March 3) is a day in which we celebrate the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. This treaty was a fundamental step toward the global protection of endangered species, and is the cornerstone for legislation and action to address the protection of native wildlife in participating countries.
This year, World Wildlife Day is focused on the symbiotic relationship between the millions of people, particularly Indigenous people, and the forests they rely upon. At Carolina Tiger Rescue, we care for 10 different species, all of which are native to various places around the world. Some of these species, especially tigers, face significant population decline largely due to the loss of forests in favor of human and agricultural development. In order to protect these species that we hold dear, it is imperative that we do what we can to protect their habitats, and find ways to sustainably support communities that rely on these environments. Without human buy-in, conservation is not possible.
According to WildlifeDay.org, “This year, the theme is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”. It will allow us to celebrate all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental to local scale. Within this theme, the day has a focus on two sub-topics:
- Marine life & oceans – with around 70% of our planet being covered by water, the impact of marine conservation is incredibly important.
- Business & finance – globally, conservation efforts need to be funded and this work needs to be done in collaboration with business – an area that, in the past, has been seen as exploitative and unsustainable. Successful partnerships for conservation must find ways of including business if we are to reverse the loss in biodiversity.”
We are proud to partner with numerous organizations that help to protect wildlife, both at home and abroad, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), WildTracks, Dr. Adam Hartstone-Rose, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at NC State University, the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, PETA, the U.S. Humane Society, and the Animal League Defense Fund (ALDF).
In spite of the circumstances they came from, the animals that call Carolina Tiger Rescue home, are ALL wild, and deserve to be thriving in their native habitats. Unfortunately, for many reasons, they are unable to do so. So, in honor of World Wildlife Day, let’s take a look at where these species are REALLY from, and hope for a world in which all wild animals are able to thrive in their native habitats!
Naveen Tiger came to Carolina Tiger Rescue from Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma after it was shut down by the U.S. Government due to numerous Endangered Species Act violations. Tigers like Naveen used to roam across large portions of Asia. Unfortuntely, due to habitat loss and fragmentation as well as over-hunting and poaching, fewer than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild. Associated with primarily forest habitats, tiger conservation landscapes are now scattered across what remains of their historic range. In order to protect tigers from extinction, it’s important that we do everything to conserve what remains of these landscapes so that tigers can once again thrive in the wild.
Beau was born wild in Washington state, and was orphaned and unable to care for himself in the wild. Cougars like Beau are found in western parts of North America, throughout Central America, and down into South America, and are the most widespread of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere.
Ranger was formerly a private pet before being relinquished to Carolina Tiger Rescue. Bobcats like Ranger are found throughout the United States and up into Canada. Not to be confused with the Canadian lynx, bobcats are their own species. They are hearty and adaptable cats that prefer to live in wooded areas.
Fabio von Prickles, the African-crested porcupine, was rescued from a roadside zoo in Canada. African-crested porcupines are the largest of the porcupines and are found in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and Italy. They are not endangered, but because they eat cultivated crops they are seen as agricultural pests. They are also killed for their quills, which are used as ornaments and talismans.
Daisy was surrendered to Carolina Tiger Rescue by a private owner who never intended to keep her as a pet. Coatis like Daisy are found in southwestern United States, and throughout Central and South America. They are members of the raccoon family, and share similar features like their ringed tails.
Albert was born at Carolina Tiger Rescue as part of our former breeding program. Kinkajous like Albert are native to Central and South America, and are rarely spotted during the day due to their nocturnal habits. They enjoy lapping up nectar from flowers and are important pollinators in their native ecosystems.
Kitwana was rescued from a roadside zoo in Colorado, along with 15 other animals who now call Carolina Tiger Rescue home. Caracals like Kitwana are native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. These elusive cats are great hunters, and are able to jump as high as 10 feet to snatch birds out of the air.
Roman came to Carolina Tiger Rescue from a failing rescue in Ohio. Lions like Roman live in scattered populations across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a very small population of endangered Asiatic lions found in India. Lions have lost a vast majority of their historic range due to human interference, and are listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN.
Elvis was dropped off at the sanctuary in a dog crate by his former owner who could no longer care for him. Servals like Elvis are found in a number of areas around Africa. They are often hunted for their pelts, and many people believe that servals make unique and exotic pets. Servals are wild cats and should be respected as such.
Caroline Red Wolf
Red wolf conservation efforts are focused on protecting and restoring the population of this critically endangered species, which is currently found only in a small area of North Carolina. These efforts include measures such as captive breeding, habitat restoration, and public education to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the red wolf’s unique genetic and ecological characteristics.
Garcia was rescued from a closing roadside zoo in Maryland in 2022. Raccoons are a common sight in many parts of North America, where they are known for their distinctive markings, bushy tails, and curious personalities. As adaptable and opportunistic omnivores, raccoons are able to thrive in a wide variety of habitats, from urban areas to rural forests. While they are often viewed as pests by some homeowners and farmers due to their tendency to raid trash cans and crops, raccoons play an important role in many ecosystems by helping to control insect and small mammal populations.
Cantata New Guinea Singing Dog
Cantata was rescued from a closing roadside zoo in Maryland in 2022. New Guinea singing dogs are a rare and elusive species of wild dog native to the island of New Guinea. These dogs are known for their unique vocalizations, which have been compared to the sounds of a humpback whale or a bagpipe. Due to habitat loss and hunting, New Guinea singing dogs are critically endangered, and efforts are currently underway to protect and conserve this species through captive breeding and habitat restoration programs.