April 23, 1999

Born at
Carolina Tiger Rescue

Passed away
August 21, 2017

Mary Stewart’s Story

Mary Stewart was born at Carolina Tiger Rescue as part of our former breeding program. Mary Stewart was a very spirited caracal who loved to stalk guests and volunteers while hiding in the tall grass at the front of her enclosure, illustrating how stealthy caracals can be. Mary Stewart had a very sweet, almost doll-like, face and a tawny-colored coat that lulled you into a false belief that she was cute and cuddly but she, like any caracal, was a fierce predator and not an animal to take lightly.

Mary Stewart’s Passing

August 21, 2017

With a heavy heart, we write to you today. This past weekend, Mary Stewart Caracal showed less interest in her food and she appeared dehydrated. The keepers gave her fluids in the hopes that she had just gotten a little dehydrated, especially given her age and the heat. Unfortunately, she did not rebound as we had hoped. We took her to Dr. Lassiter for a physical and blood work. Sadly, her blood work showed that she was suffering the effects of advanced kidney disease and she had kidney failure. Given the severity of the disease, we made the decision to euthanize.

Though her tail was short, Mary Stewart was never short on personality. Her sassy demeanor made her a joy to visit. She would sashay her way up to say hello and rub her face on the fence… or she would just wait to see if you could find her in the tall grass. It was really up to how accommodating she felt that day. Though spunky, Mary Stewart was also a beautiful girl. With a beautiful face and ear tufts that could never decide which way to lay, her petite frame always belied her immense spirit. Though, truth be told, that spirited personality unfortunately also kept her from being on the treats list. Her Matrix-like moves made her a little too unpredictable to get treats from volunteers.

While some people connect more with the big cats (tigers, lions, leopards), others find that the loss of one of our small cats is harder. While big cats make their presence known, one often has to work really hard to get to know the small guys. Mary Stewart’s death will certainly be felt by those that knew her and loved her. As with the loss of any of our animals, her unique spirit will be missed.

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.

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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Lion at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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NGSD at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Porcupine at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Raccoon at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Red Wolf at Carolina Tiger Rescue
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Red Wolves
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.