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 7/25/20

Hi, it’s me again with another exciting animal update!

As you may remember, earlier this month, Star Cougar moved to an enclosure that was a bit of a better fit for a lady her age! You can read more about her move here. The keepers and site team worked together to make her new enclosure perfect for a 23 year old cougar! After moving in, she was treated as an off tour animal, giving her time and space to settle in. Star quickly fell in love with her new enclosure, especially her new treehouse! It has short steps, allowing her to easily and safely climb into it. She is now back on tour and ready to show off her new home to visitors!

Across the path from Star’s new enclosure lives Beau Cougar. Beau was born and raised for the first six months of his life in the wild. This means he was not used to being around humans when we rescued him. In fact, his mother would have taught him to fear humans. In his new home, though, he would need to be comfortable enough around us for keepers to be able to give him the proper care, like food, medicine, and enrichment. We played a radio for him in quarantine so that he could get more used to voices, limited the number of people visiting him, and even removed a neighboring animal from the tour route to leave plenty of space between Beau and groups of people on tour.

Since arriving at Carolina Tiger Rescue, Beau has grown into a very confident cougar! From his off tour enclosure, Beau could see the tour groups as they made their way through the sanctuary. Over time, more and more tour guides saw Beau watching the groups from a distance. He would stand in the closest corner of his enclosure and take in the new sights and sounds of each group. He was also coming out of his shell around volunteers and staff, often playing “hide and stalk” by sneaking up on his visitors. Seeing his new confidence and curiosity, keepers decided to watch as tour groups visited his enclosure. Beau blew us away with how well he did. He is now on tour, right across from his fellow cougar, Star. You can read more about cougars here, or better yet, you can now visit our two favorite cougars in person and hear about their lives!