Tarzan Lion


January 1, 2001

November 12, 2010

Passed away
February 21, 2017

Tarzan’s Story

Tarzan came to Carolina Tiger Rescue in 2010 when a facility in Texas closed its doors. Though a vital member of his pride, he has always been a little bit of the underdog. He started his life in a 3X6X3 foot enclosure  His legs showed the impact of living in such a small space with poor nutrition. Though he was never able to run with the ease of the rest of his pride, he never let it slow him down. He would chase Sebastian, who was almost twice his size, and jump on his back. He would swipe at Sheba’s legs just to get a reaction from her. Though he was at the back of the pack, they always made room for him. The lion piles were sometimes epic (how do you fit three lions into one den box?) and other times hilarious (not sure Sheba appreciates you sitting on her head!). Watching the way the pride worked together, to keep each other safe and fed, will always been remarkable. 

Tarzan’s Passing

February 17, 2017

We have sad news to share about Tarzan Lion. We just recently anesthetized him to cut back a nail that was being problematic and ran blood work. The blood work looked good for a lion of his age and otherwise his physical was unremarkable. But recently Tarzan had become more lethargic and not as eager to eat.  We made the decision to anesthetize him again to run new blood work and a complete a general physical.  Some blood work values, like kidney function, can change quickly. Unfortunately the blood work came back with terrible results. His red blood cell count was down to 4%. Normal red blood cell counts are between 30% to 45%; blood transfusions are recommended below 20%. Sadly, things started to add up to cancer.  In addition to the low red blood cell count, he was running a fever. Dr. Lassiter felt that he was also suffering from paraneoplastic syndrome. This syndrome triggers the immune system to respond to cancer. Given the severity of the condition, we made the decision to euthanize. 

Tarzan’s story will not end today. His story will continue on as we educate people about issues facing wild animals in captivity. He never should have been used for pay to play activities. He never should have known a life inside an 18 square foot cage. He deserved to be treated with love and respect. We feel blessed to have been able to give him his final home with his pride, with space to run and a sunny hill top perfect for three lions to pile together for nap.    
Thank you for being a part of giving him a wonderful place to call home for the last six years.

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



  • 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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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.