Nakobi Cougar hanging out in the grass.



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.



Cougars are an apex predator, and they are also vital to the ecosystem of the United States. Without them, our entire ecosystem can fall apart.

The last known cougar population in North Carolina was in 1900. At that time, cougars reigned as the state’s primary apex predator. They were essential to regulating both the deer and small mammal populations. The deer population in North Carolina during the cougars’ vital reign was around 10,000 individuals.

Today, because there are no cougars present in North Carolina, the deer population has exploded and remained imbalanced for decades. In North Carolina alone, there are more than 1.34 million deer. As a result, these numbers have had drastic and devastating impacts on the health of our environment and the residents of North Carolina.

Apex Predator: A predator that is at the top of the food chain; it has no predators itself 

Keystone species: A species that is so vital to its ecosystem that without it the entire ecosystem will fall apart

So, what if there were no cougars?

  • Aside from a small population in the everglades of Florida, there are no cougars east of the Mississippi River.
  • Cougars help keep the deer population in check, as they are the only consistent predators of the prey animal.
  • An increase of deer results in an increase of tick-transmitted diseases, such as Lyme Disease.
  • Because there are more deer in the area, the likelihood of car collisions with deer increases tremendously.

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  • Cougars are shy animals who will quickly move out of an area that is inhabited by humans. 
  • There have been a few documented cases of cougars attempting to move back east. The cats are unsuccessful because of poaching, or they are often hit and killed by cars.
  • Without our apex predator, the North Carolina’s ecosystem remains out of balance. The deer population is decimating the plants and preventing new ones from growing.
  • The deer population will continue to rise without cougars, which will increase the tick population and heighten people’s risk of contracting Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses.


 It is important to know and understand that every animal in our ecosystem is vital to its balance. Without cougars, the bobcat and deer populations grow larger, which has had a massive impact on our ecosystems.

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!