Saber came to Carolina Tiger Rescue with fifteen other animals from a roadside zoo in Colorado. This facility closed down when the owner fell ill. The animals housed at this facility were kept in tight, cramped spaces with little room.
Saber was (in)bred to be used in a magic act in Las Vegas before he was sold to the Colorado roadside zoo. He was declawed and defanged to make him “safer” to work with, causing him to suffer needlessly all in the name of “entertainment.” Unfortunately, these cruel acts are often performed on animals in the entertainment industry. Now that Saber has found his forever home at Carolina Tiger Rescue, he is finally treated with the respect he deserves.
2003 – 2016
In 2013, a family in rural South Carolina realized their pet tiger of 10 years was very ill. While this family loved her, they couldn’t provide her with the basic care she needed. After some concern regarding her condition, animal control was notified and she was taken in by Carolina Tiger Rescue.
Aria was in such critical condition that we didn’t think she’d make it through the night, but she survived. After an exam, she was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), a treatable condition in which her pancreas wasn’t producing the enzymes required to absorb nutrients from food. We treated her EPI and Aria quickly regained her health. If we hadn’t intervened, she would not have survived much longer.
Aria’s story shows us why these wild cats don’t belong in anyone’s backyard – it often takes unfortunate circumstances for people to realize they cannot properly take care of a pet tiger.
2001 – 2019
For the first year of Tarzan’s life he had access to the entire first floor of a hotel in Mexico. He could go wherever he wanted whenever he wanted. At about a year old Tarzan began to scare guests due to his size and energy. The hotel owner decided that the best place to put Tarzan was in a cage in front of the hotel that was 3′ x 3′ x 6′. For two years Tarzan was unable to completely extend his legs when he stood up and forever walked with a limp, even after he was rescued from that cage.
After Tarzan was finally rescued from the hotel, he was sent to the Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in Texas where he was paired with Sheba and Sebastian, two other rescued lions. When WAO closed down in 2010, Carolina Tiger Rescue brought the pride to their final and forever home where they were able to live out the rest of their days in peace.
One morning in 2009, our curator discovered a full grown serval in a small dog crate at the entrance of the Sanctuary. A note left on the crate said that the serval’s name was Elvis and that his owners could no longer care for him. After his examination, it was determined that he was malnourished, had evidence of a collar having grown into his neck, and had scarring on his forehead that we believed came from him continuously rubbing his face on the crate.
Unfortunately, stories like Elvis’ aren’t uncommon. Private owners believe that they’ll be able to provide an adequate home for their wild “pets” but often find themselves in over their heads. For the past 15 years, Elvis has called the Sanctuary home and continues to live a happy and peaceful life! He is a favorite on tour, and enjoys coming up to see who has visits him.
1997 – 2022
In 2012, Carolina Tiger Rescue worked with the Humane Society of the United States to rescue and provide sanctuary to three of 11 exotic animals that were confiscated from the Collins Zoo, an unaccredited roadside facility that neglected the animals in their care. The enclosures were very small and flimsy and posed a risk to the public as well as the animals. Star’s enclosure was completely barren when she was rescued.
Star truly lived up to her name! She had the typical cougar personality and would do whatever she pleases. At times, she would come up and visit a tour, but the majority of the time she would hide in the back of her enclosure. She was always aware of her surroundings and had been known to sneak up and stalk unsuspecting guests without being noticed. Star passed away peacefully at the age of 25, surrounded by those who loved and cared for her.
Lola was rescued from a woman’s backyard in High Point, North Carolina. Animal Control arrived to find her lethargic and shivering in the backyard and called Carolina Tiger Rescue to take her in. Lola was understandably very scared; it still takes her a long time to warm up to new experiences and people, and she remains one of our most shy (and fiesty) kinkajous.
North Carolina is one of three states in the U.S. in which it is legal to own a non-native species. Lola’s story is a direct result of this lack of legislation. Due to the ease with which animals like Lola can be acquired, people are buying them as pets and then realizing, sometimes at the expense of human or animal life, that this is not a good idea. Animals like Lola deserve to be respected as the wild animals they are.
This handsome male tiger is one of the big cats we rescued from “Tiger King Park” in Thackerville, Oklahoma in 2021. In total, 68 cats were rescued from this facility after it was shut down due to numerous Endangered Species Act violations. According to the Animal League Defense Fund (ALDF), the animals lived in small dirty cages, were fed inadequate food, and were denied medical care when they needed it. They also had little enrichment to interact with.
Since his rescue, Naveen has become such a special cat to everyone who comes out to visit. Not only does he have a goofy and fun personality, but his story is impactful – he’s living proof of the exploitation people witnessed on the big screen. Thankfully, he’s now living in a place that prioritizes his health and welfare, and we love him dearly!
Willow was born in the wild and, unfortunately, orphaned. It is unclear what happened to her mom, but the rehabilitation facility that originally rescued her deemed her unreleasable due to her imprinting on humans. This behavior is not conducive to a safe and successful reintroduction to the wild. While we would have loved for her to live in the wild where she belongs, we are committed to giving her the best life possible in captivity.
Willow is a very shy bobcat and lives off the tour path, where it is most quiet. She will come up to greet only the quietest visitors, sending a chirp or purr their way! She and Beau Cougar are the only two animals we care for that were born in the wild.
Bud was rescued from a roadside zoo that was closed down in Canada in the summer of 2019. The animals at the roadside zoo were evidence in a court case for about two years which meant we couldn’t talk about the animals we received from that rescue: Bud, Clover, Poppy, and Tulip Coatis and Fabio the African-crested porcupine. Once the case resolved, the animals were permanently placed in our care and we can now share them with the world!
Bud is by far one of our more social coatimundis. He loves to come up to the fence to greet visitors but can be a bit skittish with loud noises and quick movements. He loves enrichment and spends most of his time in the outdoor portion of his enclosure.
2004 – 2021
Rajah came to Carolina Tiger in 2005 when he was about 6 months old. He was found wandering on a county road outside of Charlotte, NC, along with another tiger cub, Kaela. To this day, we have no idea how they ended up there. They were captured and sent to the North Carolina Zoo until we could get their enclosure ready for their arrival. Rescuing Rajah and Kaela in 2005 reversed our eight-year pause in rescues, marking a huge milestone for the Sanctuary.
Rajah had a huge, social personality and won the hearts of everyone who met him. He was usually found greeting visitors with a chuffle, or walking alongside the fence with tour guests. Rajah loved enrichment, and was one of our best pawcasso painters. He also loved destroying big cardboard boxes that were sprayed with his favorite scents. He is still a huge part of Carolina Tiger Rescue’s history, and he is missed dearly.