Tessa Stripes is our newest animal keeper here at Carolina Tiger Rescue. She studied wildlife biology at Virginia Tech. Before coming to Carolina Tiger Rescue, she interned at Wildlife Safari. Her favorite animals to work with are tigers! She enjoys giving the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue a safe and appropriate home for them. It’s a hard and dirty job, but she loves it! Her favorite time of year at the rescue is the fall, when all the animals get pumpkins for enrichment!

Keeper Tessa Stripes Blog Post 8/28/2023

As you head back to school to learn new things, know that you’re not alone. Here at Carolina Tiger Rescue, our animals are learning all the time! We use operant conditioning to train our animals to do new behaviors. What does this look like? When the animals do something we want, they get a reward. With cats, they normally get their favorite food: raw meat! Sometimes we start with small behaviors and shape them into much more complex ones. It takes a lot of work and a good relationship with the animal.

Saber Tiger

Why do we do operant conditioning? There are a few reasons. It can help us do health checks on an animal. We might ask them to show us their paws or their teeth or their side, and then we can get a nice look to make sure everything looks good. Some animals will even let us give them shots! This starts with having them come up to the fence, then we poke them with a stick and slowly work our way up to needles. Caprichio Tiger is an expert with this! 

We can also do operant conditioning with animals who get stressed easily. That’s why we started working with Roscoe Tiger. He gets scared easily, and we can use operant conditioning to help him. Operant conditioning is also just a good way to get an animal moving and keep their brain active!

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



  • 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.