Red Wolf Physicals – A New Challenge

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

Wildlife should be in the Wild



  • 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.

In April of 2022, Carolina Tiger Rescue became one of roughly 50 facilities to join the Red Wolf SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) Program, a program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums dedicated to saving the endangered Red Wolf from extinction. The SAFE Program focuses the collective expertise within AZA extended community and leverages their audiences to save species. The Red Wolf SAFE program’s goal is to support conservation efforts for this species by maintaining a healthy and viable population of red wolves under human care, growing education and awareness efforts, and aiding research vital to supporting recovery and management. We welcomed Caroline and Mist, two young females, who will live with us until they reach the appropriate age for breeding. Our role within the program is to alleviate pressure on other facilities so they have more room for breeding pairs.

While Caroline and Mist are in our care, we must make sure they stay healthy and maintain their “wildness,”which includes giving them yearly physicals. Physicals can be tricky with wild animals – we usually sedate them before we handle them for an evaluation. However, the protocol followed by many participating facilities for Red Wolf physicals is that we don’t sedate them for most medical procedures unless necessary. Since any of the wolves in the program could be selected to be reintroduced into the wild, they want the wolves to maintain a healthy fear of people and being awake during their physicals helps maintain that mindset.  

What does this mean for our staff? Senior Keeper Lauren Humphries, who leads our involvement with the Red Wolf SAFE Program, conducted training sessions with our keepers and other staff members prior to the wolf physicals. Staff practiced effective techniques to move wolves into their denboxes for easier capture and restraint. Keepers trained how to safely muzzle the wolves (practicing on a stuffed fox) as well as how to properly and safely restrain them so they do not injure themselves or us. To minimize movement, keepers also place “Y” poles on their neck and hip areas.  

The physicals were successfully conducted in early November, 2023. Once safely muzzled and restrained, Veterinarian Angela Lassiter checked limbs, ears, paws, palpated their abdomens, took blood samples, gave necessary vaccines, and took new weights. The wolves looked healthy and were released back into their enclosure as soon as the physicals were completed. Thanks to the hard and dedicated work of our keepers and site staff, this important task went off without a hitch!

For more information on red wolf conservation programs, visit:

Check out photos of the physicals below.

What is the Red Wolf Recovery Program?

The Red Wolf Recovery program is a unique program run by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that is dedicated to the management of red wolf populations, by working with wild and captive populations. The Program works with the Red Wolf SAFE and SSP programs to breed wolves in captivity to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse captive population. USFW biologists utilize unparalleled management practices in conservation efforts to save this apex predator including radio collaring individuals to track their movements, fostering captive born pups with wild parents to help diversify genetics and increase the likelihood of success in the wild, and sterilize coyotes within the recovery areas to prevent coyote gene introgression. Other techniques to raise awareness include using digital road signs alerting motorists to drive carefully and watch for Red Wolves in the area (this has been successful in reducing some car strike fatalities) and Prey for the Pack, a habitat improvement program available to private landowners interested in and committed to improving wildlife habitats on their property while allowing the presence of Red Wolves on their private lands. The ultimate goal is to increase wild populations of red wolves, whether that’s from supporting wild populations, captive breeding efforts or educating the public; it takes support from many different stakeholders and organizations in varying areas and backgrounds to save the species.