To most people the term animal rescue refers to aiding domestic animals, such as dogs and cats. However, Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina illustrates a different side of animal rescue, the wild animal side. Their mission is to save and protect wild cats in captivity, and in the wild. Carolina Tiger Rescue is home to lions, tigers, caracals, servals, ocelots, bobcats, kinkajous, and binturongs.
Autumn at Carolina Tiger is a special time for its residents. It is a time when visitors and supporters are asked to donate their pumpkins and recycled jack-o-lanterns to Carolina Tiger Rescue as enrichment items. These items engage animals in activities that prevent boredom. Kathryn Bertok, curator of animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue, states, “Wild animals spend much of their day looking for food, marking their territories and interacting with other animals.” She continues to explain that these same animals may become bored or agitated in captivity. Providing enrichment items for the residents of Carolina Tiger Rescue prevents this from occurring.
How can your used pumpkin serve as an enrichment item for the cats at Carolina Tiger Rescue? It becomes a play toy, such as a ball, to the animals. Hollow jack-o-lanterns are stuffed with the animals’ favorite foods. The combination of a toy with a palatable scent stimulates the senses of the animals. This stimulation results in playful behavior, and breaks the monotony of a typical day in their enclosure. On average, Carolina Tiger Rescue receives between fifty and eighty donated pumpkins around Halloween each year. Most of the time this allows each animal to get one pumpkin. However, there are times when the supply does not meet the demand, and an animal may not receive one.
Providing enrichment for these animals is very important for their quality of life. You can help ensure that each resident of Carolina Tiger Rescue gets at least one pumpkin this year. Donate your pumpkins and recycled jack-o-lanterns today! Carolina Tiger Rescue is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm, seven days per week. You can drop your pumpkins off at the staff entrance of Carolina Tiger Rescue in front of the freezer, or in the Education Center. After 5:00pm, pumpkins can be left at the staff gate. Other items you may donate include paper bags, cereal boxes, perfumes or other scents, food items, and empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls. The entire list of items is available on the Carolina Tiger Rescue website. For more information about, or directions to, Carolina Tiger Rescue please view the link to their website above.