Research, Protect, Educate

by | Jul 5, 2017 | News, Newsroom


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.


Research, Protect, Educate

Only 3,800 tigers are left in the wild, according to current estimates.
Non-Invasive research and rehabilitation of wild tigers is a critical part of saving the species.

IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) dedicates its work to rescuing wild, captive, and domestic animals from dire situations. 

Over the last few years, IFAW has successfully rehabilitated and released 6 orphaned Amur tiger cubs. This action, combined with research to follow wild tiger populations, will play a vital role in the survival of the species.  

Organizations like WildTrack (based in North Carolina) are using tiger paw prints to determine the population of wild tigers in various habitats around the world.

Using paw prints to collect data is non-invasive, meaning that it does not affect the tiger in any way. This proven method of tracking tigers in the wild can be done without disturbing their normal behavior, ecology, or physiology.

Collecting data from wild tigers’ paw prints is a non-invasive method of monitoring an endangered or elusive species.

Prints provide valuable information. From a single paw print a researcher can determine species, sex, approximate age, even the individual tiger.

A real Cinderella Story. In February 2012, IFAW came across an orphaned wild tiger cub in Russia who they named Zolushka, Russian for Cinderella. Likely orphaned due to poaching, she was found as a starving cub, unable to fend for herself, and suffering from frost-bite. With the help of IFAW, Zolushka was rehabilitated over the next year in a specially designed large enclosure so she did not have direct contact with humans. She learned to hunt and to fend for herself. She was released back into the wild in May 2013. This was an unprecedented success – rehabilitating and releasing a wild cat is very difficult. In 2015, Zolushka became a mother, giving birth to her first litter. She became the first rehabilitated Amur tiger to give birth in the wild.

Zolushka being released into the wild.

Zolushka with her cubs

Importance of Non-Invasive Research and Rehabilitation

  • Non-invasive research methods provide a safe, cost-effective, accessible method of collecting data on individual animals, or an entire species, without needing to handle any animals directly.
  • Organizations like WildTrack are able to use controls (captive tigers) to gain data that they can then take out to the wild.
  • Though difficult, rehabilitating and releasing orphaned tigers allows the population to continue to grow.
  • It is imperative to have a diverse gene pool in wild tiger populations. Any tiger that can be put back into the wild is a win for the survival of the species.

From North Carolina… To The World

Kaela and Rajah Tigers are just two of the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue who are helping international efforts to track and protect wild tigers in their natural habitat.

Carolina Tiger has worked with WildTrack for several years, allowing WildTrack to collect a database of tiger footprints from many of our animals. Prints from 18 animals are now on record and have created the foundation of their current database. These paw prints have enabled WildTrack to extract algorithms to identify tigers by individual, age, sex and foot laterality.

Our tigers lend a helping paw by walking over sand that will take good paw impressions; these impressions are then photographed and mapped-out in the computer program.


Right: Carolina Tiger Rescue resident making a good impression.

Show Your Support

  • Support organizations that are using non-invasive research and are rehabilitating and releasing wild tigers back to their native habitats.
  • Do not patronize businesses that promote trophy hunting.
  • Avoid buying products, such as traditional medicines, made with various parts of tigers – many have been poached from the wild.

Be Aware

In the last 100 years the population of wild tigers has decreased by 96%.

Without research and organizations dedicated to public education about the plight of wild tigers, they will be soon lost forever.  

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