Bengal tiger mother and her cubs in the wild



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.


International Tiger Day 2017: A High Price For Entertainment

You can take a photo with a tiger cub for around $100.00.
What happens to that cub when it is no longer a profitable prop?

Tigers are used for entertainment all over the world: whether in movies, circuses, or as props for photo opportunities, these tigers are being exploited for money under the guise of conservation and education. It is important to understand that facilities allowing contact with cubs are breeding for this practice.  They are NOT protecting or conserving the species.

In the wild, a female tiger would give birth to a litter of cubs every 2-4 years, with the cubs staying with their mother for around 2 years.  Facilities that allow cub petting will breed a female tiger several times every year and continually take her babies from her at a very early age – sometimes mere days after birth – so patrons can pay to take photos with the young cubs.

Facilities that are in the business of cub petting or offering photos with tigers often give the cubs sedatives to make them less active.  

It is a common practice to de-claw and de-fang cubs to ensure they cannot injure patrons.

It’s easy to understand why people want to hold and cuddle these beautiful wild cats, but the joy of this experience quickly turns to dismay when you know what life is like for these cubs.

Bad For Cubs

  • Cubs are taken from their mothers within days of their birth so the mother will go back into heat to produce more cubs.

  • Cubs can be used as props for photo opportunities and cub petting for only 4 weeks – between 8-12 weeks old. 
  • Once they are too old to be handled, many cubs are sold into the black market for their parts, the pet trade, or are killed.

  • Cubs used in these businesses are rarely given the appropriate diet which leads to health problems as they grow older.

What Is A True Sanctuary?

Businesses that use cubs as props often say that they operate a sanctuary where the cubs will go as they grow up, but that is not the truth.

  • Sanctuaries do not breed animals.  Breeding animals outside of Species Survival Plans or Population Management Plans is not conservation.
  • Sanctuaries do not allow the public to come into contact with any animals.  This practice is one that is dangerous to both humans and animals.
  • Sanctuaries do not buy, sell, or trade any of their animals or their parts.  No money is ever exchanged for animals, or their parts after death, at a true sanctuary.
  • Sanctuaries are 501(c)(3) non-profits.  A sanctuary works toward its mission, not to make a profit.

Carolina Tiger Rescue is the only federally-defined wild cat sanctuary in North Carolina.

Let Your Values Guide Your Choices

  • Avoid facilities that allow cub petting, and those that are breeding outside of Species Survival Plans and Population Management Plans. 
  • Educate your friends and family about the dangers of cub petting.
  • Avoid businesses that exploit animals for profit.  Wild animals do not belong in entertainment acts at a fair or circus, nor should they be handled by the public.
  • Speak up!  Ask questions of business owners who claim they are protecting animals by using them as props.
  • If you see abuse at a wild animal exhibition, please report that to the USDA – the agency tasked with overseeing animal care  – and to your local animal control office.

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!