One of the most amazing places anywhere is right here in Pittsboro.
It’s not a zoo, it’s not a research facility or a tourist attraction. It’s a sanctuary for wildcats: tigers, caricals, servals, ocelots, and bobcats, as well as binturongs and kinkajous, which eat primarily fruit but also small mammals and invertebrates. All seventy-two animals are members of the order Carnivora.
The most notorious is a gorgeous white tiger named Jellybean, named for the pink pads on his feet when he was a kitten.
Most of these animals were part of the trade in exotic animals. (It’s easier to buy a tiger cub than a squirrel.) They were purchased by uninformed individuals at a wild animal fair but eventually their owners realized they weren’t really pets. Some came from zoos that closed. Carolina Tiger Rescue gives them space, appropriate food, vet care, toys, security and stability.
You can visit Carolina Tiger Rescue and meet some of the residents by taking a guided tour. A guide will introduce you to them and tell their stories on Saturday and Sunday, at 10 am and 1 pm. Twilight Tours are available April – October at sunset, during the most active part of the predators’ days. Call (919) 542-4684 for scheduled times and reservations.
These are beautiful animals that purr and play with unique personalities, just like your own pet Fluffy. They enjoy visitors, offering friendly chuffs and fence rubs, but don’t be fooled — they also practice stalking skills as you walk past their enclosures.
It’s a special experience to visit this magical place.