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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.

 

Pena and Lapis were the last snow leopards to live at Carolina Tiger Rescue.

To accommodate for their climate needs, air conditioners were attached to their den boxes.  

But that wasn’t enough.

“They certainly made it work, but they were not as active as they would have been had there been a temperature controlled area,” said Kathryn Bertok, Carolina Tiger curator and assistant director. “They live in colder climates. North Carolina’s climate gets too hot for them.”

Carolina Tiger Rescue decided not to take snow leopards at this time because it doesn’t want any animal to be uncomfortable

So, the rescue decided it couldn’t take cat species, such as snow leopards and Canadian lynx, that require a cold climate. At least not at this time. 

The decision shows Carolina Tiger’s dedication to its rescue, education and conservation efforts. It isn’t fair to accept an animal who can’t get everything he or she needs here – including climate control.

Our primary motivator is being able to care for these cats for the rest of their lives,” Bertok said. “We want to make sure every decision we make, including the species we bring in, holds true to that value. We want to provide everything they need to have a happy life in captivity. We don’t want to have an animal that is uncomfortable just because that cat is very neat.”

Snow leopards are indeed neat.

They have a distinctive fur coat, which unfortunately makes them a target in the illegal wildlife market. They are called “mountain ghosts” since they are rarely seen, and snow leopards, which are not a subspecies of leopard, inhabit landscapes between 8,200 and 18,000 feet above sea level. 

Wild snow leopards live in the mountains of Central Asia and are listed as a vulnerable species; they occupy 60 percent of historic range.

Pena Snow Leopard

Lapis Snow Leopard

Carolina Tiger won’t take in snow leopards, but it can tutor the public about the species, their habitat and the plight of all big cats through the education program. That includes website development containing species that aren’t Carolina Tiger residents, for example.

The last snow leopard lived at Carolina Tiger in 2006, when Pena died. Lapis died in 2003. The pair lived together, and they both arrived in Pittsboro the early 1990s.

It doesn’t mean the sanctuary can’t ever have the species again, though.

“We would need to have a very large spacious indoor area that we could temperature control,” Bertok said. “It’s not that this could never happen in our future, but it would require a different level of building that we had not done before.”

About Snow Leopards

  • Snow leopards (uncia uncia) are often referred to as mountain ghosts because they are secretive in nature and rarely seen. 
  • Their conservation status is listed as vulnerable, as between 3,900 and 7,500 are estimated living in the wild. 
  • Sixty percent of their habitat is found in China, and they can inhabit landscapes between 8,200 and 18,000 feet above sea level. 
  • One of their primary threats is the black market. Their distinctive fur is highly-coveted, their parts can sell for thousands and their bones are used for medicinal purposes in Asia.
  • Climate change is a new challenge snow leopards face, due to the rise in temperature in the Central Asia mountains. 

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
info@carolinatigerrescue.org

Wildlife should be in the Wild

Rescue

Education

  • 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

Learn about
BOBCATS

Caracal at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
CARACALS

Coatimundi at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
COATIMUNDIS

Cougar at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
COUGARS

Kinkajou at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
KINKAJOUS

In Memoriam
Leopard at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
LEOPARDS

Lion at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
LIONS

Ocelot at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
OCELOTS

Serval at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
SERVALS

Tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue

Learn about
TIGERS

Animals
Games
Activities
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

Donate

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!