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’s Blog 3/5/19

If you have read Dr. Hunter’s latest blog post, you know that Fenimore Tiger got his physical! This allowed us to get an ultrasound on his belly, to take some blood to get in-depth tests on, and to get a good look at him. My job during the knockdown is very different than Dr. Hunter’s. While Dr. Hunter is taking blood work and looking at his joints, teeth, and the rest of his body, my job is to make sure that I notice if Fenimore is showing any signs of waking up. When we sedate an animal, we put in a catheter, this is a line right into a vein to administer sedation medications and IV fluids quickly. It is just like when someone gets an IV put in their arm at the hospital. The sedation medication we use is fast acting but does not last a very long time, so my job is to keep a close eye on any signs that he may be starting to wake up.

In the picture to the right here, I am checking to ensure that his breathing tube is in correctly and that he is breathing. I also keep an eye on his breathing to make sure he is taking the appropriate number of breaths every minute.

When I am helping with a knockdown, my job is to stay right at the animal’s head. I do not leave this spot. I will often be the first one to know if the animal is starting to wake up and I need to let Dr. Lamar and Dr. Lassiter know so they can administer more sedation medication or let everyone know they need to clear the enclosure for safety reasons. To check for signs of an animal waking up, I tap around their closed eyes to see if there is any reaction. I also check to see if their jaw is still loose or is starting to have jaw tone. If I see there is any reaction or jaw tone, I let the vet crew know so they can give more medication. My entire focus has to be on the animal, I have to help ensure that he stays asleep so everyone can stay safe, including the animal!

It can be a stressful job, but it’s one that I enjoy; I like being part of the team during physicals. I learn a lot from Dr. Hunter and Dr. Lassiter. When it’s time to wake the animal up, we give him medicine to reverse the sedation medications, everyone leaves the enclosure, and we make lots of noise to start to stimulate him. We want to ensure they wake up without an issue before we allow them some time by themselves to recover. Fenimore did great during his physical and we will return him to his enclosure in a couple days!

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.

Have Fun Learning at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Field Trips

Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips link

Virtual Field Trips

Education is key to our mission.  We enjoy teaching “kids” of all ages!  Our field trips, both virtual and onsite, are ideal for groups of kids.  Our “Kid for a Day” Adult Camp provides a unique learning opportunity while allowing adults to channel their inner child.  While all of these opportunities are structured differently, in the end we want everyone to walk away knowing more about the animals we care for and what they can do to help protect them.

Our Rescues
Bobcat at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Caracal at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Coatimundi at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Cougar at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Kinkajou at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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In Memoriam
Leopard at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Lion at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Ocelot at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Serval at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

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Keeper Stripes

Get involved at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Individual Volunteering

Group volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Group Volunteering

There are so many ways to be a part of Carolina  Tiger Rescue.  Individual volunteers are able to help in many aspects of our work, including animal care, tour guides, construction, and gift shop assistance.  Work groups come from community groups, colleges, work places, and more!  It’s a great way to spend a day and it helps care for the cats.

Ways to Support Carolina Tiger Rescue

Donate to Carolina Tiger Rescue


Big Cat Dinner Club Information

Big Cat Dinner Club

Whether it’s a monthly donation or a one-time gift, a symbolic animal adoption, a gift to the Big Cat Dinner Club, or any other kind of donation, your contribution to Carolina Tiger Rescue goes straight to work helping to save wild cats in need.  Don’t see what you are looking for, our development staff can help you find a meaningful way to support the cats!