Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day is a time to reflect on the last 365 days, acknowledge losses and trials, rejoice in successes and happiness, and to set goals and plan for the next year – in hopes of making the New Year better than the last.
Around the globe, 2016 has been a trying year for many. There have been a lot of changes, challenges, and of course loss.
But, 2016 had some amazing moments as well, especially here at CARE! We want to look back and remember our top 7 moments in the past year!
1. Here at CARE, 2016 began with a new arrival to the CARE family, Bobbie! A former pet whose family wanted a more suitable home for her, Bobbie has fit into the CARE family wonderfully and is tremendously loved!
2. CARE’s Operations Director Derek, aka Big Cat Derek, was nominated for a Shorty Award! Derek has helped raise awareness for our organization tremendously over the last few years, and are so happy that he was honored in this way.
3. Spring brought the annual Furry Fiesta, and the attendees raised a record-breaking $18,750 for CARE. CARE committed to sharing 25% of that amount with a DFW domestic cat rescue and TNR clinic who was able to use that funding to save the lives of numerous homeless cats! We remember what it was like to really, really struggle as a small non-profit, and we remember those that helped us. It was time to pay it forward!
4. This year, for the first time ever, we were able to pay two full-time staff members – our Executive Director Heidi was finally able to be paid a salary and we created the position of CARE Curator, which intern-graduate Rachel Rossetti now fills. You cannot imagine what a huge thing this is for a non-profit that spent its first 12 years as a 100% volunteer organization!
5. Coming off of our major fundraiser at the end of 2015, we were able to build a brand new enclosure for Boomer and Slade, a custom indoor addition for the special needs Araali and Zuberi, and construct the Safari Suites which will bring in sustainable funding for the facility! We also welcomed our first guests in these suites with great success! *Remember, you can book you stay in the suites at wildanimalretreat.lodgify.com
6. We had several scout groups and volunteer groups come out to complete service projects that included work on several enclosures, improvements to the lemur housing, and the construction of a new llama shelter (after the old one blew away in a storm).
7. Last, but certainly not least, at the end of the year we were able to rescue four young tigers – Divali, Nadal, Naya, and Shaanti – who desperately needed a forever home. Their happiness and comfort that they have shown since their first moments here is the greatest gift we could receive!
More than anything this year, we saw an overwhelming amount of support from you. Every time we asked for supplies for the animals, you sent them! Every time we held a fundraiser or were in a pinch financially, you gave! And, every step of the way this year, you supported our work and showed your love for the animals we all hold so near and dear to our hearts. You have made it possible for us to achieve all that we have this year, and we thank you – from the bottom of our hearts – for that.
On this first day of 2017, we are already thinking about all the amazing things we have planned for the next 365 days. In the upcoming months, we aim to rebuild the large front enclosure to move the new boys – Divali and Nadal – into so the girls can have both sides of the enclosures they are in now. Until that time, you can still give to our Giving Fund to make sure they have what they need at this time.
We want to begin work on our “bobcastle”, a custom habitat for our 3 bobcats that will give them more space, more fun stuff to do, and more privacy – which bobcats tend to need. We hope to make it large and roomy enough that we will be able to take in more bobcats as needed.
We would like to build additional lemur housing to not only give our group of three – Rita, Mort, and Miss Stewart – more room, but also be able to take in some of the lemurs we get almost monthly calls about. Sadly, there is a tremendous need for lemurs that have been bought as pets to be rehomed, and right now, we do not have the ability to do that.
We also plan to continue building our support base, increasing our volunteer group, seeking long-term donors and corporate sponsors, increase our education program to reach more people and help create new advocates for animal welfare, and to build important partnerships that will further our mission and help animals everywhere.
Of course, our main goal will never change. If nothing else, we will continue to provide the best home and give the best care we possibly can to the animals already here. Can we count on you for your help? We hope we can, because we can’t do it alone!
Thank you for making 2016 such an important year for CARE and we hope each and every one of you has a wonderful, successful, and bright 2017!!
Love and thanks,
The CARE Family
Loving, Giving, Sharing and CAREing
Before I formally introduce CARE's four new and precious gifts, I must first give you a bit of perspective into CARE the organization and what CARE really stands for.
What CARE Believes In -
CARE leaves political and legal matters of animal welfare up to professionals in that area. We are here solely to give help and a home to animals in need when asked by authorities (or the owners themselves) but are not involved in making lawful judgments about other facilities or removing animals from owners against their wishes.
CARE does not condone or support any verbal or written negative rhetoric about other animal facilities or owners. There is way too much hatred being shared in the big cat world and we refuse to contribute to it. You never know the whole story. We are here to help, and we can do that without demonizing others.
Many people and facilities who are in possession of big cats are not bad, evil people. Many of them are good, caring people who started out with the best of intentions. Some get lost along the way or get in over their head. They fail to provide the home they intended. Some facilities may become overpopulated because they lack the ability to say “no” or allow unchecked breeding. Some organizations lack staff or lose precious funding. Some people just have bad things happen and they can't care for these amazing creatures anymore. The fortunate ones learn along the way, improve and grow, and have a support system that helps them carry out their work. Whatever the case, CARE was not created to judge others, we are simply here to accept animals who need a home with open arms when we can. We do not feel it necessary to comment on animals' previous owners, many of whom come to us wanting to do the right thing for the animals they can no longer care for. Despite previous choices, they are trying to make the right choices in the end - which can be very difficult.
Now For The Story!
With that said, we want to tell you a little bit of the story about four tigers that needed immediate help from CARE. Simply put, the little ones’ home failed to meet the standards set by federal regulations. After lengthy communication with authorities and the owner last week, the owner gave up custody and CARE made the decision to give the tigers a home with the approval of governing agencies.
With just 4 days before their arrival, CARE staff and volunteers were called to action! After three backbreaking days of work fixing platforms, building housing, moving sand, filling the enclosures with toys & fresh, warm hay, the new residents’ homes were ready.
However, there was still a final touch……a Christmas tree...they must have a Christmas tree! Late at night, in the dark after working all day, another quick trip to the store and the final touch was in place. Festive trees for the new CARE angels. All there was left to do was wait for them to come home. Are they going to be aggressive? Do they get along well? Will they be malnourished? Will they hate us? Will they be diseased? There were so many unanswered questions. All we knew is that we were giving a home a set of 3-year-old sisters and a separate set of brothers.
On Tuesday, December 13th, at 10:45 am., Robert Engesser and his professional animal transportation crew arrived with CARE’s precious cargo. Each of their personalities were immediately apparent and the names we chose beforehand were easily matched to each cat.
First to unload was a girl. She walked on the grass like she was trying to get her sea legs. Never being in such a large enclosure before, she was a little frightened. She would be named Shaanti, which means peace. Shaanti is a little more mellow than Naya, her sister. Naya, meaning new, is smaller than Shaanti and a little more skittish than the others. We learned she is also very food aggressive. It may take her a while to get used to the way we feed. She will do better once she realizes there is no hurry to eat, that there will always be enough for her and all the others. But, both of the girls are loving and affectionate as well. There were millions of snuffles for everyone!
I must tell you I was in shock when I saw the boys. We were under the impression these tigers were 2-3 years old. I'm thinking about our big boys at three weighing nearly 500 pounds! I was getting the gates ready when the boys rolled around the corner in their transport cage. I couldn't catch my breath - they were not 500 pounds but 100! They weren’t mean and aggressive, but sweet and calm. They weren’t starved or diseased, but healthy and strong.
The boys’ names are Nadal, meaning fortunate and Divali, meaning Festival of Lights. They are full of energy and life. I could hardly control the tears watching the two boys run for hours in the same enclosure inhabited by tigers Kate, Zeus, Jezzabell, Elley, and Kira through the years.
All four tigers are perfect. They got here safely, and they all seem to already be settling into their new forever home well. They were loved at first sight and will be loved always. After all the loss in the past years, new life is extra precious to us all. It's hard to explain the overwhelming joy and energy these new residents have already brought back to CARE. And, most importantly, they are why CARE exists. This is what we ARE here to do!
Right now the four tigers are quarantined and will be for the next 30 days. The sisters and brothers are unrelated and have never been together, so they are in separate enclosures. Once we are sure that they are healthy, we want to move the boys to a larger enclosure and let the girls have both sides of the space they are currently in. We will be planning a fundraiser in the upcoming months to make that happen for them.
Meanwhile, please come and visit if you can, donate if you can (we still will need extra supplies for them), and share their story if you can. This is the real message of the season - Giving, loving, sharing and CAREing!
Heidi and the CARE FamilyRead more
Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) is announcing our 2016 Fall Festival!
JOIN US FOR OUR FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR!
Come celebrate the fall season during a special fall-time tour of the facility and event to raise funds for CARE’s 40+ lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bobcats, lemurs, and llamas!
DATES: NOVEMBER 5th, 6th, 12th, & 13th!
TIMES: Festivities start at 12pm & 3pm on Saturdays and 1pm on Sundays with time for refreshments and activities before the tour begins (activities and tours usually last 2-3 hours).
The whole facility will be decorated for the season and the cats are most active during the cooler autumn months. Bring the whole family to give special gifts for the animals to receive and play with, get a tour of the facility and hear about each unique animal, watch the animals run and play with their presents, and more!!
- Fun for the Cats: The big cats of CARE will receive gifts of pumpkins, treat filled boxes, and pinatas to play with. A few cats will even get to play "bobbing for pumpkins" which is their favorite fall enrichment game!
- Fun for Us: We will have special educational activities for the whole family, games, prizes, and refreshments in addition to the extra-special CARE tour and gift giving! Visitors 18 years and older will have the opportunity to give some of the cats their favorite snack and even play Tug-O-War with one of the big cats to see just how strong they are (believe us, its as fun for them as it is for us)!
- AMAZING RAFFLE! This year we have an extra special raffle that includes 2 round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines and a 2 night stay in our Safari Suites (for 2 people). You can get more information and tickets below. The winner will be drawn after the tour on the 13th. You do not have to be present to win.
We ask for a donation of $20 for adults and $15 for children under 12 (all ages welcome). We encourage you to make your donation and reserve your spot in advance (through PayPal below). Your donation will help support our non-profit facility in providing a good home to these amazing animals! *Please make sure you carefully select your date and time.
Please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you there!
*Feel free to click on the below flyers, print, and pass around to your friends and family!
November 15, 2001 - September 14, 2016
Loving Adoptive Parent: Lianne Pearson – Coppell, Texas
Loving Sponsor: Ian - North Dakota
From Heidi Krahn, Founder and Executive Director:
Every night I go to bed thinking about the cats that may be sick. I worry if they had enough food to eat or water to drink. I worry about if they're too hot or too cold. I worry about them getting weak and tired. I mostly worry about the ones that are older or the ones that may be ailing.
For the past two months there hasn't been a night where I have gone to bed without thinking of Clyde. Well into the night, I would research his strange condition. When he first got sick I was very worried, but I felt so strongly that he was going to get better. I moved him up to the house in a transport cage so that he could be monitored and given the loving care he needed. I felt like he was going to be one of CARE’s great victories.
I wanted you all to understand how difficult it is to care for a sick tiger so I started posting bits and pieces of his medical care on Instagram and Facebook. I could see that he wanted to eat, but his body would not allow it. We tried every kind of meat and texture that we could think of. Finally the answer came in the form of ground beef in a baby bottle pureed in a blender. He ate 10 pounds of beef over 10 days. It wasn't enough for him to survive, but it made him strong enough to go back into his enclosure with his sweet sister Bonnie.
Everyone was so excited at what appeared to be Clyde's rebound, so the idea of having to tell people that he had begun to slip again over the past weeks was a painful one. I moved him back to the house so he could be given a second round of TLC. We could only get him to eat a few bites of meat a day. I made the decision to move him back to be with Bonnie in the hopes that maybe their special bond would aid in his recovery, but it still didn't work. A part of me wanted to tell everybody what was going on, and then the other part of me thought "Why should anybody else have to go through this torture?". Every day, despite our desperate efforts, we watched him wither away more and more. It was one of the most heartbreaking breaking months I've ever had. The helplessness was unbearable. CARE Curator, Rachel, and I had tried to feed him constantly through the last few weeks but he ate nothing.
I talked to doctor after doctor and I read through mountains of documentation concerning diseases that affect appetite. I tried experimental medications and our vet, Dr. Bill came and sedated him several times in the hopes of finding some sort of answer. Ultimately we couldn't find anything.
It's very hard to make decisions about letting go. Almost 15 years ago I held tiny Clyde in the palm of my hand only moments after he was born. His mother was being boarded at the facility before CARE was even CARE. I had no idea his mother Kenya was pregnant.
One November morning I watched Kenya, the giant white tiger, give birth and clean her little baby. She chewed the umbilical cord as all good mothers do. She chewed shorter and shorter and shorter... Then I realized she was trying to chew on the baby's leg. The crazy person that I was years ago, ran into the enclosure, distracted Kenya, and took the little baby away. You all know that baby as Bonnie. I saw something else in the corner of her house- the remains of a little, newborn tiger. Kenya had killed it and ate most of it. The terrifying sight reinforced that I was making the right decision by taking little baby Bonnie away from Kenya.
I took Bonnie to the house, I clamped her umbilical so she wouldn't bleed to death, and I handed her to one of my kids. When I got back to Kenya, she was having another baby. Before she had a chance to eat this one, I went back into her enclosure, I quickly distracted her into leaving her house, and I lifted the lifeless little baby into my hand. It was a boy - a lot smaller than Bonnie, and his lungs were full of fluid. I flipped him upside down and cradled his shoulders. He still didn't breathe.
After several massages and breaths (and a mouth full of amniotic fluid from mouth-to-mouth) sweet baby Clyde took his first breath. It was the first breath of over 100,000,000 breaths he would take in his lifetime. The exact moment of holding a little baby tiger in your hands as it takes its first life-giving breath is something that is indescribable - as is the moment when you hold them as they take their last breath.
I don't like talking about that last breath as much as I like talking about the first and all the ones in the middle. Did you know that Clyde had to wear a preemie diaper when he was a baby because Bonnie liked to pacify on poor baby Clyde's body parts? Did you know Clyde was a night owl, preferring to walk about when most of the other cats slept? Did you know that Clyde hated to go into his lockdown so we could clean his enclosure? We often had to design elaborate toys on ropes and strings to coax him to go where we wanted him to go. Did you know that Clyde did not like chicken? Of all of CARE's cats, only Ace and Clyde dislike the most coveted of all the big cat treats.
There were so many special things about Clyde - so many things that make me feel blessed to have been able to see, feel, and experience between his first breath and his last. So many snuffles... so many kisses... so much love...
Where ever you are please take a moment and appreciate those in your life who bring you joy. Celebrate each breath you share with your loved ones, and on this special day, let's give a little extra thanks for that fuzzy faced white tiger named Clyde and the 100,000,000 breaths he shared with us all.
We are starting an end of summer raffle, and it is pretty amazing! We have a 3' x 4' canvas painting that our very own Cassie painted! You can go to the link below (you can also find it on our website in our profile) for details, pictures, and to get your tickets.
Tickets are $5 each, enter as many times as you want - all the proceeds go to benefit the animals of CARE. You have until September 11th to enter.....good luck!!Read more
Today is the day many of you have been waiting for – the grand opening of the CARE Safari Suites! The construction of the suites has been the largest project CARE has ever attempted. Like many great plans, it started as a small idea, then grew into a giant project!
At first, it was simply meant to be a new set of special-made enclosures for our young lions, Zuberi & Araali, and our young tigers, Slade & Boomer (not a small undertaking in itself). While brainstorming for these enclosures, new ideas blossomed. CARE’s Executive Director, Heidi Krahn, consulted with Arizona based Triple B Builders owner and senior contractor, Bryan Berry Sr., and a new plan emerged. CARE held it's largest fundraiser ever to pay for this HUGE project, and, through the generosity of our supporters, we exceeded our goal and raised a total of $90,000! Now, all that generosity and the hard work of so many has resulted in something amazing! The final result:
A 9,000 sq. ft. exterior enclosure for Zuberi and Araali. This space is full of trees and green grass. Plenty of room to walk, play, and roar!
Zuberi and Araali’s 500 sq. ft. interior, climate-controlled medical care center features a 50” HD TV with plenty of stimulating cartoons to watch. Their favorite shows are Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies, and wildlife documentaries on Animal Planet! Finishing this interior enclosure was a priority due to their early struggles with life threatening illness called Wobbler's Syndrome that requires them to have protective, comfortable living space. Although their condition has greatly improved, constant monitoring is essential to their well-being.
A lemur and coati food prep area was also added to the building. This added greater ease in caring for CARE’s smaller residents located in an adjacent enclosure.
A volunteer rest area was added to allow the dedicated and often exhausted CARE workers relief from the Texas elements. Three twin beds are available to be used by senior volunteers who may need to stay overnight for special events or for long-term medical observation of the animals. If asked nicely, Zuberi and Araali may even share their TV with the volunteers!
This gigantic enclosure was built for our young tigers, Slade and Boomer. Over 10,000 sq. ft. of Texas countryside was developed for their special living area. The view is stunning. They will be moving in next week after the install of their pools and platforms is complete.
Nestled 16 feet above the lion and tiger enclosures, the newly built Safari Suites are the non-animal crown jewel of CARE.
Imagine dining in your luxurious accommodations above CARE’s beautiful lions lazing in the Texas sunset....
....or sipping wine on your terrace as you watch the tigers, Slade and Boomer, frolic below. Over the east terrace, you will also see the energetic lemurs in their enclosure; leaping through the air with ease.
That is not all – suite guests will also receive a behind the scenes tour of the CARE facility including meeting all of the lions, tigers, bobcats, llamas and more. Guests will have the opportunity to safely feed the king of the feline beasts and the sweetest of little primates.
This has been a labor of love by many. This endeavor could have never been completed if CARE did not receive high-quality interior furniture and decor donated by home furnishing company, ATG, metal piping used to build the big cat enclosures donated by Woodstock Tube, and all of the considerable financial donations given by so many.
Finally, you can reserve your stay with the big cats that you have come to know and love. The CARE facility’s “Wild Animal Retreat” features the following:
- View of lions from your luxury bedroom window
- View of tigers and lemurs from your terrace
- Breakfast and Dinner of your choice served to your room
- Behind the scenes feeding tour and night time tour options
- Personal 24 hour on-site concierge
- Access to on-site outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi
- 50" HD TV with satellite
- Mini fridge, Keurig coffee maker, and microwave
- Area activities options available
- Stays can be tailored to your needs
- All 1,280+ donors who helped us raise the funding needed for the project - literally could not have accomplished this without each and every one of you!
- ATG who donated the interior furnishings and decor for the suites!
- Triple B Builders - For planning, development, and construction!
- U.S. Mattress who donated all of the AMAZING mattresses used in the suites!
- Wave Custom Pools for our amazing pool service!
- Curtis Hutson and Policeman Movers for getting all of the furniture from Dallas to CARE!
- Jeff and Cindy Parker of Parker Custom Ironworks for welding done on the enclosures, suites, and signs!
- Barbara Gilbert and Tracy Connell-Design Consultants
- Decatur Heat and Air- For installing all of the AC units!
- Rich and Denice of Bugs and Ashes for installing the patio flooring and handling our pest control!
- Sherwin-Williams for supplying the paint!
- IESI/Progressive Waste Solutions for all of our waste disposal!
- Woodstock Tube LLC (Alabama) for donating metal for the enclosures!
- Hunter Douglass for the custom blinds
- Rock City Burgers for feeding the work crews!
- And, last but certainly not least, all of the CARE Interns and Volunteers who worked tirelessly on this from planning, to fundraising, to building. Particularly, thank you to Heidi Krahn who dreamed this dream, saw it through, and never gave up or gave in! Read more
There are two ways someone can be a guest in the CARE “Wild Animal Retreat”. We will be holding a bi-annual Safari Suite raffle for our supporters. The lucky raffle winner gets a 2-night stay in the guest suites with full accommodations (a $2,000 value). We will be posting about our first raffle soon, so please keep an eye on our website and social media for details.
You can also reserve your stay in this one-of-a-kind retreat at any time, please visit wildanimalretreat.lodgify.com for more information and booking. The special introductory donation to CARE for a stay in the suites with all of the amenities is $750 per night. Guest donations will help CARE continue giving a safe and loving home to some of the planet’s most amazing creatures. You can also see more pictures of the suites on our Facebook page!
We also would like to thank the following sponsors who made this project extraordinary:
We just want to announce the very special birthday of CARE's oldest cat, black leopard Ace! Ace turned 20 on July 14th, 2016, which is a huge accomplishment!
Leopards live around 10-15 years in the wild, but can live up to 17-20 years in captivity. We are so happy to have such a distinguished older gentleman here at CARE.
Ace has spent his whole life at this facility. He was born here in 1996, as was his half-brother Spotty (both shown below as babies).
Ace spent many years with a female leopard named Shila. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2009.
Since then Ace has been a bachelor, which has been okay since he is a very independent and sometimes aloof, guy. However, he has a few favorite people that he enjoys spending time with. He particularly likes the ladies and can be downright "grumpy" towards many men. Many of our followers think that he is always a grump, but that is not the case! He can be an incredibly affectionate and lovely with his close friends.
With his beautiful dark coat, Frank Sinatra eyes, and unique look and personality, he is a very special guy. Happy birthday old man! We hope you have many more with us!
We are happy to announce the opening of CARE's Etsy Store!
In addition to the auctions and raffles that we occasionally hold, we decided to open up a store where you can get a memento from CARE at any time.
Currently we have about 100 foot prints available, some in multi-colors, and even some that have a space so you can add your hand print beside them (shown).
Most of the paw prints are from a few of the cats that have sadly left us, like Kate, Rascal, and Tabula. Other paw prints, like Acari's, were taken during a minor surgery months ago. There are only a limited number of each cat's prints. We are glad we have something we can offer those of you that want to honor their memory and keep a part of them with you always.
Of course, all of the paw prints are available for a donation that will go directly back into the care of the animals here. You can check out our store at www.etsy.com/people/CareRescueTexas!
We have held a lot of auctions this year as fundraisers to help purchase a new gator vehicle (for cleaning, feeding, and facility maintanance) or gold cart (for guests who have difficulty walking), but we know that sometimes this meant donating for these items were out of a lot of people's price ranges.
So, we are going to offer the last piece of Araali and Zuberi Art that we have in a raffle. Tickets are $5, so most people can enter, support CARE, and have a chance to win a one of a kind treasure!
In case you forgot what Araali and Zuberi's creative process looked like, you can watch it below, and the link to the raffle is: https://www.raffleriver.com?r=4304
June 24, 1996 - June 17, 2016
Loving Adoptive Parents: Paul & Sarah Beauregard – Dallas, Texas
Loving Sponsor: Kimberly Swaner in honor of Nigel and Nala - Murray, UT
Beautiful, long lives full of love are something we all wish for and this is exactly the life that Serena has had at CARE. While we are sad to announce her passing, less than a week before her 20th birthday, we also celebrate the time we have had with her. She was a bright and unfailing light who shined for a very long time. She was both loving and fierce. She was welcoming to her human CAREtakers and friends, and shared her love (and her many vocalizations) with everyone. We hoped so much to celebrate her milestone birthday with her, but she grew weak, frail, and very, very tired. 20 years of life for a tiger is no small feat, so we gave her the peaceful release that she deserved. Please join us in remembering her unequivocal beauty and grace and the most perfect snuffles in the entire world. She was so special, to so many people, so we asked two people very close to her to write her memorial.
From adoptive parent, Sarah Beauregard -
When asked if I would like to write Serena's memorial, I instantly felt honored yet also not worthy. You see, I might have been Serena's adopted mom for the last 6 years, but her relationships were endless. Serena's openness and love for communication made her a magnet. She let anyone that walked by her have a chance to be her friend, especially if they had some chicken. In the beginning of our friendship, Serena and I would spend hours just laying on either side of the fence just being in each other's presence. Over the years, having a child of my own, I had less and less time to make the 2 hour trip to see her. Yet, Serena always led me to believe she remembered everything about me and what we had. I will never forget a single story Heidi (CARE's Executive Director) has shared with me about Serena's birth, to being the fiercest cat on the property, and her unshakable love she had for her mom Lacy. From my first encounters witnessing Serena attacking the neck of our gift of a huge stuffed bear from, ultimately destuffing it to the core - to this past Thursday watching her laying in the light of her last moon, we will always be grateful for her, her beauty, her fearlessness. Rest in sweet peace my love.
From CARE intern graduate, Brie Butler -
To say that everyone who had the privilege of meeting and working with Serena loved her is a bit of an understatement. So many of her CAREtakers throughout her 19 years were so deeply touched by her, and I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that her passing leaves us with heavy hearts. We all have a different story and reason to why Serena was just so special, whether it was her fierce but loving demeanor, her quirkiness, or her never-ending snuffles.
Looking through my Serena pictures and videos brings such sadness, yet such happiness and joy for all of the memories I have of our time together. Serena first captured my heart and soul six years ago when I started my first internship at CARE and it was the spunk and energy of Serena that taught me how to be the animal caretaker I am today.
I first arrived at CARE with a love of animals and the childhood dream of working with tigers and big cats. Despite this, I did lacked the confidence to work with and connect with the cats and was unable to express the love I had for them like so many people who could interact, work, and snuffle or “tiger talk” with them so naturally.
Shortly after my arrival I started to feel more comfortable as I spent time with all of the cats but it was the bond that I started to form with a certain spunky and talkative individual who brought out my own enthusiasm, my own affection, and even my own snuffle. That individual was Serena, the beautiful tiger with so much fire and yet so much sweetness to entrap anybody who walked by her. She encouraged and brought out my self-confidence to really work with the cats and give them all of my love and enthusiasm. That engaging and intense personality of hers, that affection, that spunk, that contentment, and that snuffle all helped to shape who I was and who I am as an animal caregiver and as a person.
Serena, CARE will never be the same without you and from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for everything you helped me with and all of the memories, the laughs, the snuffles and most importantly, the love you gave me. Rest easy sweet girl.
The 2016 2nd grade class at Bridgeport Elementary School presented CARE's executive director with a check for $1,123 for the adoption of Boomer this year. The money was raised by the class as they learned about big cats.
The 2nd grade class came out to CARE for a tour earlier this month and now each have a pass so that they can come out with their family and introduce them to their new adopted tiger.
Photo courtesy of Derek Krahn
The kids also participated in a big cat themed coloring and essay contest. The winners in each category will have their work displayed in CARE's Welcome Center for all to enjoy.
We want to thank the teachers, administrators, parents, and especially the kids for their amazing gift to CARE!
Many times what you read on the internet concerning big cats is full of fallacies, myths, and outdated information. But, we ran across an article that has fantastic information in it, and is fairly accurate! We wanted to share these 21 amazing facts about tigers with you (with a few small edits and notes)! They really are remarkable animals....but we have known that all along!
1. A tiger’s legs are so powerful that they can remain standing even when dead…Tigers have been known to have been shot, bleed out, and die, all while standing up. Pretty crazy.
2. They are the largest of all the big cats, weighing up to 700 pounds
3. If you look a tiger in the eyes he is less likely to kill you…Tigers prefer to hunt by ambush. Because of this, men in India often wear masks on the back of their head with a second face to keep tigers from sneaking up on them.
4.Tigers are completely blind for the first week of their life. About half do not survive to adulthood
5. The white spot on the back of their ears is called an ocelli (eye-like marking)
6. Tigers have antiseptic saliva
7. Tiger’s tongues make our tongues look pretty sad…The tiger’s tongue is covered with numerous small, sharp, rear-facing projections called papillae. These papillae gives the tongue a rough, rasping texture and is designed to help strip the skin, feathers, fur and meat right off prey. They have been known to lick the paint right off the walls of their enclosures in the zoo.
8. Tigers are mostly solitary creatures…Tigers are solitary animals, and it is actually fairly rare to see them group together in the wild. The exception to this, of course, is a mother and her cubs.
9. They’re nicer than lions (when it comes to eating)…Unlike lions, who would fight to the death over a kill, when a tiger crosses paths with another tiger while hunting, they often share the meal together. Also, when several tigers are present at a kill, the males will wait for females and cubs to eat first, again, unlike lions, which do the opposite. Tigers rarely argue or fight over a kill and simply wait turns.
10. Tigers have very diverse diets…Tigers feed on deer antelope, wild boar, and buffalo. But did you know they also eat a variety of birds, fish, rodents, small elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, and even leopards?
11. Tigers do not normally view humans as prey…Tigers will only attack a human in the wild if they feel threatened. Or if they’re really really hungry and you look delicious. 😉 But seriously, if you were to ever encounter a tiger in the wild, slowly back far, far away while keeping eye contact with him. Chances are you’re in his territory and he wants you to leave more than he wants to eat you.
12. A backhand from a tiger can kill you…While tigers prefer to use their massive teeth to crush their victim’s neck (lovely!), a single strike is enough to do the job. One swipe from a tiger’s front paw is strong enough to smash a bear’s skull and even break its spine.
13. Tigers have been known to imitate the call of other animals to successfully attract prey
14. Tigers have a brain that weighs over 300g…It is one of the largest brains of all carnivores.
15. Tigers are adept swimmers…Unlike almost all other big cats (except jaguars), they enjoy bathing and often play in the water. As adults, they often swim several kilometers to hunt or to cross rivers.
16. They have an amazing short term memory…Cats in general have been found to have a better memory than most animals, being at least 200 times better than dogs. Tigers’ short-term memory alone lasts about thirty times longer than humans’, and their memories are made with stronger brain synapses, meaning that they can remember more and do not forget things as easily as we do. *We didn't find conclusive research data validating this, but we believe it! We have seen time and time again here at CARE how long the tigers remember things. Never upset a tiger, they will never forget that you did!
17. There were once nine subspecies of tigers: Now only 6 remain…Three subspecies of tiger have been killed off in the last 80 years.
18. The Balinese tiger was purposely hunted to extinction…Due to the Balinese cultural belief that tigers were a destructive force, they were culled until their extinction. Below is one of the few known photographs of a Bali tiger.
19. There are a greater number of tigers in captivity in the US alone than there are wild tigers left on earth. *This includes tigers in zoos, sanctuaries, as well as private ownership. And, this also includes all of the U.S., not just backyards in Texas which is a common myth.
20. The white tiger was eradicated in the wild due to trophy hunting or capture for the exotic pet ownership…There have been no recorded sightings of these rare Bengal tiger variants in the wild for the past 50 years. Today, the white tiger can only be found in captivity.
21. It has been estimated that the last remaining subspecies of tigers could become extinct in the wild in as little as 15 years…We have lost 97% of the wild tiger population in the last century, and numbers continue to get lower.
Original content found at http://slightlyviral.com/amazing-facts-about-tigers/Read more
May 1, 2001 - May 4, 2016
Loving Adoptive Parents: Christopher, Kathleen and Donovan Ray of Dallas, TX
From Heidi Krahn, Executive Director and Founder
In the past two weeks it as though I have been carrying the weight of the world around on my shoulders. I know that you know things are not the same. Losing your lifelong mate Kate has been difficult, but there is more. You have been feeling weaker every day. Food does not taste the same. Some days you can hardly get out of bed. The worst part is that your boo-boos are growing really fast. I see it in your eyes… but I don’t want to spend one sad moment with you. I have wasted so many days living in dread of death that I missed the beautiful days that could have been spent with others who have passed.
Your CAREgivers and I decided to give you the most fantastical birthday ever. What a special day it was. You didn’t know it was going to be your last and I tried to pretend I didn’t know. I made the decision to surround you with all the magical things that made your life perfect…the things that makes CARE so perfect!
Snuffels, toys, turkey cake and most importantly all the love any tiger could want or need. You see it isn’t often we CAREgivers know that it would be a last birthday. In a way we all received a gift on your birthday. You laid by the fence for hours while we all kissed and loved you. You were so strong that day. It was a perfect day. You reminded us all of your strong younger days before cancer began destroying your incredible body.
I don’t know if people understand how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye. I was there they day you were born. You took my breath away that day and continue to do it now even if it is only in my memory of you. You have blessed so many people with your magnificence and beauty. CARE and the world has lost a puzzle piece.
I would like to share your gift to me to others. I wish that every person would treat the ones that they love with joy and happiness every day. Don’t ever waste a day mourning loss before the loss. Live every day to its fullest…don’t waste a day, hour, or minute… celebrate every birthday like it’s your last. This is how you changed my life sweet Rascal.
It is time for me to do what I do best now…care for all the others I am still entrusted with the stewardship of. I will think of you often and smile because I know for certain.......YOU KNOW HOW MUCH YOU WERE LOVED!
Furry Fiesta Comes Through Again
For the past 8 years, the Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) has been the chosen charity of the annual Furry Fiesta, a DFW area convention for anthropomorphic art, science fiction, and fantasy fans. Through the years the attendees of the convention have donated tens of thousands of dollars to CARE to help provide for the 40+ big cats and other exotic animals that call the facility home. The generosity of this animal-loving group has been beyond incredible, and at times has been the only thing that kept the CARE organization from an empty bank account. So, this year, CARE wanted to pay back that kindness and generosity by paying it forward.
CARE staff approached the Furry Fiesta directors with a proposal to invite another animal related non-profit to the convention and to share a percentage of the total donations with them. CARE felt like we had the big cats covered, but that some little kitties could use some help too - so we chose a group called FAAS, based in Arlington, TX.
FAAS was started when a group of people heard about the Arlington, TX animal services immediately euthanizing all feral and stray cats that it trapped. These people wanted to step in and try instead to spay/neuter them, rehab them if they were hurt or sick, and release them back to where they were picked up so they would have a chance at life.
Since then, they have grown to have a very active TNR (trap-neuter-return) clinic where the goal is to reduce the number of free-roaming cat populations. An estimated 7,000 cats have been TNRed in Arlington by FAAS. 4,100 have been spayed or neutered at the Snip & Tip Clinic. An additional 2,200 cats have been rescued from the Arlington Animal Services. This has resulted in an increase in the cat live release rate from 24% to 80% and has reduced the intake at animal services by 2,000 cats a year.
FAAS also has an education program where they encourage pet owners to have their cats fixed and tell people about "community cats" - feral cats that roam freely and should be considered wildlife, just like squirrels or raccoon.
Trapped feral cats waiting for vetting so that they may be re-released or relocated to a safer area.
FAAS attended the Furry Fiesta event with CARE in March where they were overwhelmed by the kindness and enthusiasm of the 2,820 convention attendees. These generous convention-goers ended up donating a whopping $17,970 and CARE committed to sharing 25% of that with FAAS.
On April 24th, 2016 CARE’s Board President, Jamie Reed, stopped by to present a check for $4,500 to the FAAS Clinic manager, Becky.
While there, Jamie got to meet and learn about some of the cats that this amount will directly help. While TNR and education are the main focus of the FAAS group, it isn’t the only service they provide. FAAS also traps abandoned strays or finds adoptable kitties at shelters that are on the euthanasia list and takes them in with the hopes of finding them loving homes. Quite a few of these unwanted cats have health issues – illnesses and injuries – that must be addressed before they have a chance at being adoptable. 100% of the donations from Furry Fiesta will go towards the veterinary treatment of these cats.
Gandalf is a sweet 10 year-old male who was found abandoned in an apartment complex. When he was picked up, he had severe stomatitis – it was so bad he would growl and cry every time he tried to eat even wet, mushy food. He had to have every single one of his teeth pulled and is now a much happier guy now who will be a great companion to someone.
Snowflake is another 10 year-old who was dumped at a trailer park along with several other cats. He has stomatitis as well and has to have 18 teeth removed.
Timmy is yet again a sweet boy with stomatitis and is waiting to have his painful teeth removed (that is why his little tongue is sticking out).
Rebecca was trapped and was very, very sick. She needs to go to the vet to get a diagnosis on her left eye so she can receive treatment.
Dizzy came from a hoarder. All of the cats that came in this group have immune system problems. Dizzy and his brother both have eye problems that need to be checked out.
And there are many, many more that need attention. Most importantly, they need homes. The cats at the FAAS clinic are all special needs which means that most shelters and rescue groups would not consider them adoptable. But, there is no reason that they can’t make a great companion to either the right person with a little bit of extra patience or even the companion of another pet. All they need is a little extra TLC – like Gomez:
Gomez was trapped as a feral – and was incredibly wild! There seemed to be no chance that he would ever be okay with people until a magic little mouse came along. FAAS staff and volunteers started playing with him with a small mouse toy with a long tail. He was mesmerized by that tail, and started becoming more comfortable with the people playing with him. Now, he is a clinic favorite and begs to be held and pet by his adoring “staff”. Gomez will make a wonderful friend to someone – but beware, FAAS will not let him go easily. They are waiting for a very special person to love this very special cat!
Please consider contacting FAAS at www.faastexas.org if you are interested in giving one of these slighty imperfect, yet absolutely wonderful cats at FAAS a furr-ever home!Read more
With great sadness, we said goodbye to Kate yesterday, April 25th, 2016.
What first seemed to be an abscess under her chin that appeared overnight a few weeks ago, and then was assumed to be a snake bite, turned out to be a secondary infection in connection to very aggressive cancer.
Kate had been unresponsive to the meds were had been giving her, and even Dr. Bill coming and sedating her to treat the wound made no difference. Kate has not been getting better and after she had retreated to her shelter to be as far away from everyone as possible, we finally sedated her yesterday to take a closer look. We found a large tumor on her neck and the evidence of malignant melanoma. The decision was made to euthanize her to end her suffering – she was eating with difficulty and was clearly not going to recover. During her post-mortem exam, we found her lungs ravaged with cancer. While she was not showing signs of any respiratory distress before, it would not have been long until it would have been impossible for her to breathe.
This is a very sad time for us, especially since we have lost so many cats to cancer – melanoma specifically. It has certainly caused us to raise many questions about why. As we have looked back over our losses in previous years, it has become clear that the cats that have been diagnosed with melanomas have all been related in some way. Our research partner, Dr. Brian Davis from the NIH, has been interested in this commonality and obvious genetic connection and that is why every time we experience a loss like that we send him valuable genetic information to continue his research on cancer.
The cats here are interesting to study in relation to why melanoma occurs and why it is more prevalent in certain bloodlines. Unlike with humans, there are so few factors that may be contributing to cancer – just their diet (which is always meat), their water source, their stable and relatively unpolluted environment, the sun and of course, their DNA. They don’t use cellphones, they don’t eat produce treated with insecticides, they don’t drink alcohol or smoke, etc. It is so important that we work to unlock the secrets of cancer – not just for them but for everyone who has been affected by it. Loss is painful, and Kate will be missed and will always be loved, but she will follow others that will have their passing hopefully play a part in discovering ways to beat a vicious and unfair disease. Cancer really does suck and we are tired of it taking away animals and people that we love.
You can view a beautiful tribute to her by Derek Krahn below and her In Memory here.Read more
Happy National Volunteer Week!
Volunteers are the backbone of CARE. We simply can never give as much thanks to our dedicated volunteer team as they deserve. But, we did want to call attention to a few things that you may not know so you can see how absolutely invaluable our volunteer family members are!
CARE houses over 40 exotic animals that need daily (and sometimes hourly) care on over 22 acres, welcomes thousands of visitors every year for educational tours, and over $150K a year to care for the animals. This is an enormous task, yet CARE only has two full-time paid staff members – and we only began paying them in the last 6 months!
Everyone else that cleans and repairs enclosures, distributes medications, prepares food and feeds the animals, refills water buckets 2-3x daily, develops and implements enrichment activities for the animals, conducts tours, does general facility maintenance, organizes and works on- and off-site events, maintains CARE’s website and social media accounts, does school visits, seeks out funding and donations, takes photos, answers emails and calls, and is involved with nearly every single other activity necessary to provide daily care for the animals and run a non-profit is one of our 25 active volunteers and interns and 10-15 special events volunteers whose average tenure is 5 years (although we have many who have been volunteering for longer than 10 years – special shout-out to Lisa, JD, Claude, Curtis, and Derek K).
That is an incredible amount of work for a very small number of people which is a testament to how dedicated they all are to the animals here. All the blood, sweat, and tears shed by this group is done for the animals that they love.
Not just this week, but in the coming months we will be sharing with you stories right from our volunteers’ mouths so that you can hear about CARE from their point of view. They all have amazing tales to tell.
To our volunteers: you have chosen to dedicate your time and love to beings that can never thank you in words. But, we hope you see how much they love and appreciate you in their eyes! Thank you for all that you do for them!
We are pleased to announce our 1st Animal Art Auction!
We always look for creative ways to provide enrichment to the animals as well as raise funds for their care. Doing paintings with them serves both purposes.
So, we have 9 amazing, one of a kind pieces from Araali and Zuberi, the lemurs, Bindi, and Tawney available to bid on at www.32auctions.com/CAREart1.
We hope to raise enough funding to help with a new gator for facility maintenance, cleaning, and feeding or for a 6 seater golf-cart (so that people with disabilities or difficulty walking can tour the compound).
The auction starts today and will run through February 15th. Let the bidding begin!!Read more
Gary started volunteering with CARE in 2011. At first, Gary's commitment to CARE was as an Adoptive Parent to Lyddia, the most vocal tigress CARE has ever had. By 2012, Gary was a fully trained volunteer, dedicating much of his free time helping around the facility and bonding with many of the resident cats. In early 2013, after Lyddia passed away, Gary adopted Mwali (pictured). Gary and Mwali share a very special bond with one another. Mwali absolutely adores his adoptive dad!
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Gary graduated as a Nuclear Engineer from the Merchant Marine Academy of New York in 1980. He was commissioned in the US Air Force and married Debbie, his childhood sweetheart, later that year. He and Debbie have 2 wonderful children and they are active church members in Wichita Falls, TX.
Gary also became CARE's Board Secretary in 2013. As the newest Board Member, and with everything Gary does, he is anxious to be an effective member of CARE's team. Just recently, Gary has once again expanded his role here at CARE and has agreed to take on the role of Volunteer Coordinator!
We have a very small team here at CARE, and each member of our little family is incredibly special and so very important. Please join us in thanking Gary for his hard work and dedication to the animals!Read more
Bobbie (short for Bobigail) came to CARE in January of 2016 when her family, who had kept her as a pet since she was a baby, wanted to provide her with a more suitable home.
Bobbie and a sibling had been found as orphans when a rancher shot their mother. The rancher kept one of the bobcat kittens and gave the other away. Young Bobbie eventually came to be with the family that she would spend the next 4 years with. She spent the first part of her life in the house with the family and the family pets. Eventually she was housed in an outdoor enclosure.
Bobbie was loved and cared for, but a domestic home is no place for a wild cat. And, the family was unable to spend enough time with Bobbie and give her the interaction that she needed as a captive raised cat.
While Bobbie has only been at CARE a very short while, we have seen her sweet personality - she welcomes her CAREkeepers with chirps, trills, and rubs. We have also seen her wild side, she is an excellent hunter who is doing a tremendous job of keeping her enclosure mice-free! She has settled in far better than we ever expected, even being neighbors with some of the largest residents at CARE - several huge white tigers including the giant Kannapalli!
Right now, as she adjusts to her new home, she has her human CAREkeepers to interact with. But, eventually we would love to move her closer to Max and Mia - and maybe even in with them - so that she has other bobcats to keep her company.Read more
Estimated June 1999 - 12.9.2015
Loving Adoptive Parent: Shaun Buckley – TX
Loving Sponsors: Jamie Reed – Dallas, TX; Nikki Ottoson - Alberta, Canada; Amanda Weller - Maplewood, MN; and Laura Macias - Red Oak, TX
From Jamie Reed, CARE Director of Development/Board President
There will never be anything I can say that will memorialize Tabula in just the right way. So, instead of trying to write a perfect memorial for a perfectly imperfect lioness, I'd like to think of it as my love story - the story of how I fell head over heels for an incredible, loving, spirited, stubborn, goofy, grumpy, absolute mess of a cat.
Tabula had only been at CARE a few days when I first met her. She looked like an overstuffed, and slightly worn, teddy bear. She had bare, black skin on her ears where the flies had bitten and bald spots on her elbows where the fur had been worn away. Her face was wrinkled and slightly scarred and she was fat! Rolls cascaded down her body and squished her face into a permanently confused expression. That lovable, sweet teddy-bear look was very misleading!
Photo from Krista Cope
I hadn't considered that she might be scared being in a brand new place, surrounded by strangers. I didn’t know that she was half blind, probably adding to her fear. And she WAS scared. She was TERRIFIED. And fear does not a friendly lion make! When I approached her, she lunged at the fence between us, snarling and growling with more ferocity than I had ever seen. She scared the daylights out of me, as well she should have. After that, I stayed as far away from her as possible.
Her previous owner asked CARE to take her in. However, it was a rough transition for Boo. When she got to CARE, she didn't know where she was, who we were, she couldn't see well, and she was all alone. Just image how that would feel. My heart broke for her, and I began to understand her fear and aggression.
Over time, she stopped being so afraid of the grass under her feet, the huge Texas sky over her head, and the activity that surrounded her at the facility. She ventured out of her small lock-down area to explore. She was fed a good diet and started shedding some of the weight. She basked in the sun and her anger and fear diminished. While she had started enjoying her new home, she was still scary to me. But one day, it just happened. I remember locking eyes with her and being frozen in my tracks. Intense is the word to describe those eyes!
We stared at each other for what seemed like an hour. Then she rubbed the fence, smooshing her wrinkly and worn face against the chain-link. As she rubbed, she made low growly noises. They weren’t threatening sounds, but what I came to think of as lion purrs. She flopped her massive body on the ground, rolled on her back, and started swimming with her big floppy paws in the air, doing some weird lion version of an upside down breast-stroke! She made me laugh out-loud and I warmed to that big, scary lioness.
That silly backstroke became her signature move when she was feeling frisky and that single interaction started a relationship that I would have with her for the next 5 years. Over those years I grew closer to her and I learned her quirks, like how to start calling to her long before I approached her enclosure to let her know I was coming so she wouldn't be surprised. Or, when I sat down next to her, to get up very slowly so I didn’t startle her. Being half blind made things a little scary sometimes.
I learned to gauge her mood and I learned that she liked it best when you talked to her in a high, sing-song voice. She would even "swim" along with your voice, stopping when you stopped and starting back up again when you did. I learned that you had to put her food right in front of her face so she could find it and good luck locking her up in her lock-down area - somewhere she went willingly on her own but don't you DARE close that door on her!
The whole time I knew Tabula, I wanted nothing more than for her to be able to talk. I wanted to know if she was happy in her new home. I wanted to know if her declawed paws hurt her when she walked, despite the soft grass. I wanted to know if there was more wrong than just failing eyesight. I worried about her mind. Boo was not completely stable. She would have periods of paranoia when everything around her was an enemy. The fence, her ball, the air, even her own leg were not safe and she would growl and snap her jaws at the threats. More than anything, I wanted to know if she knew she was safe and loved.
She was not always volatile though, most of the time she was content lounging around and rolling in the grass. She was happy to have her friends sit down by her enclosure and talk to her. I did that often, benefiting from the comfort she brought me and wanting to comfort her as well.
Photo from Rachel Malone
While I got a lot of time with Boo, it was never going to be enough. That's been really clear in the last few weeks. But, the reality is that nothing can prevent old age, not the best care in the world can do that. I just have not been ready. I have not wanted to say another good-bye, and to one so special. She was still so full of life, so spunky, still Boo.
Photo from Heidi Krahn - November 25, 2015
But, her body was giving out, she was tired, and she was hurting. It was her time, like it or not. And in the end, all that really matters is that as long as she was here, she was loved, and I was one of the lucky ones that got to love her.
Now, I look at each and every picture, video, message, and tribute to her since she passed away, just as I always do after a loss. I see how many people she touched and how many people cared about her. It warms by heart when I need it most. I added some of my favorite posts from the people that knew her best at the end of this story. She left behind an army of people devoted to her!
In the end, Tabula found a home here with us and she thrived on the love given to her. She was a testament to the devotion that is given so freely by the CARE family. I miss her terribly, I think I always will, but I am so glad I got to know her. Love you so much my Boo, my precious girl!
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie the Pooh
Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) is announcing our annual Fall Festival!
November 7th, 8th, and 14th!
During the festivities you will experience an up close and personal tour of the facility learning all about the big cats and lemurs. The animals will play with pumpkins and chase presents that are specially made for them by our visitors. The facility will be decked out for the fall season as we welcome in the big cat’s favorite time of year.
Fun for the Cats: The big cats will run, jump and play with their pumpkins and have specially made presents (with treats inside) tossed to them to chase. Our cats love the cooler weather in the fall and get extra frisky!
Fun for Us: Games, refreshments, face-painting, prizes, arts and crafts, treats, and the present toss will be tons of fun for the whole family.
Visitors 18 years old or older will have the opportunity to feed the cats their favorite snack…chicken treats! Plus, we are bringing back the big cat bobbing for pumpkins.........
.....and the Tiger Tug-of-War for adults. You can test your strength against one of our massive tigers. It’s all fun and games to them! Bring your cameras, this will be a memorable experience for all!
Festival Dates: November 7th, 8th, and 14th!
Times: Festivities start at 12pm and 3pm on Saturdays and 1pm on Sunday with time for fun and games before the tour begins.
We ask for a donation of $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. You can make your donations in advance below.
You can also enter our fantastic raffle, for a donation of $5 per ticket, online HERE! Prizes include Two night stays at the Dallas Crowne Plaza Hotel, subscriptions to Bark Box, gift certificate, tickets to sporting events and more. We will continue to add prizes as they come in until the last day of the festival.
Admission Tickets: Choose quantities during checkout.
Please let us know if you have any questions and we look forward to seeing you there!Read more
Big cats in captivity need a lot of specialized care, including exceptional enclosures that will provide them with the space, enrichment, and protection that they need to be happy and healthy. Lion cubs Araali and Zuberi are now 16 months old and tiger cubs Boomer and Slade are 11 months old and they all need permanent enclosures to fit their individual needs!
In September, CARE launched its most ambitious fundraiser ever aimed at raising $80,000 to build new housing. The fundraiser was also the first time that the organization used a crowd-funding platform through Indiegogo. The goal was to raise the amount needed in one month so that preparations could being as soon as possible to break ground on the new structures.
The following people are just a portion of those that contributed to this project, but there are many more that donated, spread the word, and sent their support. We thank EVERYONE from the bottom of our hearts for making such a difference in Boomer, Slade, Araali, and Zuberi's lives! We will be posting updated and pictures as we break ground in November!!
Thank you to the following contributers, and many more who are unnamed!
Aaron D Bourne, Adam G. Van Kirk, Adam Heim, Adam Holley, Adam Kozak, Adam Patrick DeLand, Adam Van Kirk, Alana Vester, Alecae Alaysia, Alejandra Garcia, Alejandro Ramirez, Alex Hinga, Alexandra Duca, Alexandra Wilkison, Alexx Marshall, Alexxis A., Alicia Bourgeois, Alicia Mraz, Alicia Neal, Alicia Neal, Alisa Gromova, Alison Dube, Alissa Polley, Alissa Polley, Allison D'Arat, Allison Greene, Allison Hagler, Allison Leslie, Allison Theirrien, Allyson Lewark, Almeda Golden, Alyson Palmer, Alyssa Slachta, Alyssa Stegner, Alyssa Ziegenhorn, Amanda Aschenbrenner, Amanda Daniels, Amanda Fall, Amanda Groover, Amanda Humble, Amanda Priego, Amber Prairie, Ambyr Dornauer, Amelia Von Lee, Amy Bachman, Amy Bachman, Amy Bertolini, Amy Phillips, Amy Pike, Amy Reason, Amy Renaud, Amy Victoria Regis, Amy Weirs, Ana Urrego, Anastasia Riabkova, Andie Langford, Andrea McSherry, Andrea McSherry, Andrew Wagstaff, Andy and Amy Basore, Andy Yanacek, Angel Holmes, Angela Bonilla, Angie Norton, Anida Sirivong, Ann Dvorak, Ann Worley, Anna Schoess, Anne DiMattia, Annette Cross, Annette Spetrino, Annie Speck, Anthony Galvan, Anthony Hranitzky, Antoinette Costales, April Baello, April Baello, Arthur Litke, Ashes DiMaria, Ashlee Montgomery, Ashlee Thomson, Ashley Backstrom, Ashley Pickering, Ashley Ulsh, Ashley Zuefle, Aubrey Snodgrass, Audra Stallard, Audrey David, Becca Sergent, Becky Willard, Ben Templeton, Bernadette Ramos, Beth Christiaans, Beth Marcus & Suzie M., Beth Storhoff, Beth Trussell, Bethany Williams, Birgitta Johnson, Brad Yasar, Brandy Carver, Breanna Burk, Bree Sontheimer, Brendan Curran, Brendan Lusk, Brett Cary, Brian Abueg, Brian Anderson, Brian Peters, Brian Tietze, Brianne Wallegham, Bridey Murphy, Brioney Ellington, Brittani Dreer, Brittany Case, Brittany Curtis, Brittany Lasko, Brittany Lasko, Brittany Paddock, Brooki Everett, Brookie Judge, Brynn Herndon, Bryony White, Burt Smith, Caitlin Bush, Caitlin Ceynar, Caitlin Vest, Caitlyn Johnson, Callie Shilling, Calum Barnett, Camilla Smith, Carl Cormier, Carl Gilchrist, Carla Bonney, Carly Orchard, Carol Churchey, Carol Money, Caroline Parks, Carrie Soom, Carrie-Lynne Sorvari, Casey-Anne Tucker, Cassandra Baez, Cassandra Mea, Cassandra Whan, Catherine Anderson, Catherine Schlecht, Céline Jacqueroud, Chad Tokach, Charles Schrier, Charlotte Nottingham, Chelsea Mortimer, Chelsea Mortimer, Chelsea Reynolds, Chelsea Theriault, Chelsea Theriault, Chevaux-Lancelot, Chris Bangham, Chris Sullens, Chrissie Sargent, Chrissy Parker, Chrissy Wahl, Christa Wallis, Christina Joseph, Christine Hoag, Christine Joseph, Christine Summers, Christopher Ridenour, Christy Decker, Cindee Hoff, Cinnamon L Sullivan, Claire Docherty, Claire Low, Claire Powner, Clark Reynolds, Cleo Charland, Clifford Steven Morrison, Colleen Donovan, Colleen Jousma, Connie Zangara, Coral Leahy, Corey Antonio, Cortnee Dempsey, Courtney Burkard, Courtney Rose, Courtney Smith, Courtney Soto, Cristina Gonzalez, Crystal Shelton, Crystal Simons, Crystal Guarisco, Cydni Hildreth, Cyndi Knorr, Daniel Byrum, Daniel Durand and Serena Rodriguez, Daniela Castro, Daralyn Kingma, Darby Talbert and Michael Pignone, Darcie McDougall, David Bitting, David Johnson, David Levison, Dawn Oliver, Deanna England, DeAnna Kettler, Deanne Crosby, Debbi Everitt, Debbie Fuson, Debbie Godley, Deborah F. Williams, Deborah Stonum, Denna Dom, Denny Ayala, Desiree Luna, Desiree Purdie, Dexter Grabowski, Diana Kelsey, Doug Pendleton, Douglas Nelson, Dustin DeSoto, Dustin Nguyen, Eddie Bonner, Eduardo Lavin Garcia, Eileen Hamblin Steffen, Elaine Gillmore, Elena Buck, Elise Bohning, Elise Carter, Elise Rosberg, Eliza Macdonald, Elizabeth Gonzales, Elizabeth H Burns, Elizabeth Johnson, Elizabeth Williamson, Ellie Jones, Ellie Severson, Elora Maisenhelder, Em Peach, Emily Bragg, Emily Brown Morgan, Emily Draper, Emily Fairbanks, Emily Gill, Emily Lopez, Emily Meier, Emily Paez, Emily Rose, Emily Shelton, Emily Thompson, Emily Ziemer, Emma Alimi, Emma Stein-De Turck, Emma-Lea Davis, Erica Greene, Erica M. Devore, Erik Lund, Erika Graybiel, Erika Mathre Peters, Erika Tapper, Erika Wheldrake, Erin A., Erin Devine, Erin McGuire, Eszter Gerocz, Evan M. Campbell, Evan Melick, Evelyn Jones, Gabriella Matera, Gabrielle Davis, Gabrielle Marquard, Gabrielle Rock, Gabrielle Simpson, Geoffrey Steinberg, George Gu, Georgeanne Snelling, Georgia Crean, Ginger Parker, Giselle Elizondo, Grace Higham, Greg Schneider, Guardian Lion, Hailey Hudson, Haley Shaw, Hannah Fox, Hannah Friend, Hannah Karban, Hannah Karban, Harry Block, Heather Armstrong, Heather Dodge, Heather Dodge, Heather Fischer, Heather Hall, Heather Paulson, Heather Skorjanc, Heather Thompson, Heidi Österholm, Holly Tonini, Irene M. Hughes, Iwona Stanek, Jacey Mayronne, Jaedyn Calcagno, James Signoretta, Jami Chambers, Jami Parks, Jane Benning, Janine Jenkins, Jarrod Bell, Jaseline Santiago, Jasmine Hensley, Jasmine Hensley, Jasmine Shaw, Jay Berlin, Jay Revels, Jaycee Rae, Jeanette Freed, Jen Glenn, Jenni Crewe, Jennifer Best, Jennifer Blackmon, Jennifer Bowen, Jennifer Clutter, Jennifer Crewe, Jennifer Csapo, Jennifer Cursio, Jennifer Drennan, Jennifer Flanigan, Jennifer Isaacson, Jennifer Saum, Jennifer Shultz, Jennifer Swarbrick, Jennifer Tisdale, Jenny Batchelor, Jenny Zurita, Jeremy Scanlan, Jeremy Scanlan, Jesica Courtney, Jess Ruiz, Jessica Atwood, Jessica Barringer, Jessica Gonzalez, Jessica King, Jessica M. Tebeau, Jessica Norvill, Jessica Purkey, Jessica Sanchez, Jill P. Felker, Jillisa Cutler, Jim Reynolds, Joan Conine, Joanne L. Pilot, Joe Hegyes, Joelle Dunn, Johanna Hollway, John Broome, John Hamiga, John J Stanzak, Jolene Gawrys, Jonathan Eloi Lantiegne, Jonathon Wolff, Jordan Melsoner, Jordan Parks, Jordan Weishner, Jordi Wilson, Joseph Jackson, Josephine Siu, Joshua Lucas, Joshua Sgroi, Josie Jimarez-Howard, Josie Mooring, Joy Kohlsaat, Juan Valenzuela Jr., Judith Berlin, Julia Skiles, Julie Maguire. Alexandra Gutierrez, Julie Malone, Julie Wesolowicz, Justin Cash, Kaelyn Swafford, Kaitlin Keeney, Kaitlin Mendez, Karen Aronson, Karen Egger, Karen Lachapelle, Karen Vandewalle, Kari King, Karla Flores, Kassandra Gauthier, Kassie Johnson, Kat Stevens, Kate Longfield, Kate Payne, Kate Pileski, Katelyn Wilkinson, Katherine Deneka, Katherine Dominguez, Katherine James, Katherine Musulin, Katherine Wasson, Kathleen Brady, Kathleen M McFarlane, Kathryn Coll, Kathy Kelehan, Kathy MacIntosh, Kathy Roper, Katie Iorio, Katie Jackson, Katie Lytle, Katie Lytle, Katie Maxey, Katie Meyer, Katrina Korb, Katrina Williams, Katy Hites, Katy Lzc, Kay Deli, Kayla Adams, Kayla Clark, Kayla Marie Clark (Care of Emily Bragg), Keiran Courville, Kelli Wainwright, Kellie Graham, Kelly Collett, Kelly Evans, Kelsey Butler, Kelsey Krimmer, Kelsey Metcalf, Kelsey Scholl, Kendall Cahill, Kendall Lanham, Kendra M Dixon, Kenzie Trezise, Keoni Morris, Kerri Wesley, Kerrie Parker, Kerry Coburn, Kerry Lennon, Kiersten Nicholson, Kim Boettcher, Kim Hutson, Kimberlee Olson, Kimberly Acker, Kimberly Cormier, Kimberly Swaner, Kimberly Wagner, Kira Kozak, Kori Johnson, Kristen Burch, Kristen Hicks, Kristen Kinsey, Kristen Mettler, Kristie Kroeger, Kristie Kroeger, Kristin Bengtson, Kristina Allen, Kristina Dols, Kristine Diedrich, Kristine Diedrich, Krystle Bartholomew, Kyle Bartolomei, Kyle Hatfield, Kyle Pagucci, Kylee Delvaux, Kyra Hazzard, L Albright, Lana Adames, Lane Binish, Lannie Roshelle Cervantes, Larissa Sayer, Laura Brown, Laura Christie, Laura Hickey, Laura Leader, Laura Lindauer, Laura Macias, Laurel Borreson, Lauren Hartley, Lauren Miller, Leanda Mangan, Leandra Lumagui, Leann Mai, Leia Sullivan, Leigh Jackson, Leighann Wisniewski, Leslie Cooper, Leslie Marshall, Lexi Johnson, Lexi Sherman, Lia Parker, Lia Parker, Libby Heisinger, Lina Kleinschmidt, Lindsay Deppen, Lindsay Frischmuth, Lindsay O'Day, Lindsay Smith, Lindsey Goodwin, Lindsey Wallace, Ling Jin, Lisa Barringer, Lisa Gruber, Lisset Najera, Liz Warren, Logan Turner, Loida de Jesus, Lori Uhing, Lorri and Gil Roberts, Lucy Zamora, Luna McMeen, Luuk Snel, Lyndsay Benson, Lyz Meyers, MacKenzie Grow, Madison O'Shields, Maggie Audley, Maggie MacDowell, Maggie Neal, Makenzie Harris, Mallory Lane Moore, Mallory Saia, Marc Roa, Margaret Jow, Maribel Alcala, Maricza Valentin, Marie McClintock, Marie-Laure Cantin, Marilyn Schluter, Mary Cipriano-Walter, Mary Gilcoine, Mary Keating, Mary Lewis, Mary Lou Nelson, Mary Olesky, Mary Traub, Matt Takimoto, Matthew Larsen, Matthew Schermerhorn, Maud Bernabe, Maudia Morris, MD, Meagan Meskill, Megan and Kristofer Zarling, Megan Brophy, Megan Cameron, Megan Hawkins, Megan Homan, Megan Parish, Megan Phillips, Megan Steinkerchner, Meghan Longhi, Meghann Smith, Melanie Burzlaff, Melanie Cohen, Melanie Janis, Melanie Ohnemus, Melanie Pendleton, Melanie Piccolo, Melinda Mann, Melinda Mountain, Melinda Stacer, Melissa Jacobs, Melissa L Reed, Melissa McDonald, Melissa Pilinger, Melody Capper, Meredith Wiggins, Michael Nicholas Triola, Michael Pekarcsik, Michelle and Amanda Seng, Michelle Barnes, Michelle Kennedy, Mikayla Placke, Missy Maria, Mitchell Thompson, Monica Gerber, Morag Mackay, Morgan Aguilar, Morgan Cavanaugh, Morgan Greenway, Morgan Hale, Morgan Stockman, Myndi Garcia, Myrna D Crane, Nadia Gutowski, Nadia Labeikovsky, Naïka Estriplet, Nallely Corral, Natalie Desrocher, Natalie Smith, Natasha Devins, Natasha Wadsworth, Nathan Roseborrough, Neminda Kasthurirathna, Ngarei Gow, Nichole Muzina, Nick Cheek, Nicky Carrott, Nicky Carrott, Nicole Coan, Nicole Collie, Nicole Davis, Nicole Dodd, Nicole Dore, Nicole Hyland, Nicole Sutherland, Nikki Moore and Family, Nora Wilkie, Olga A. Prokhorov, Olivia Dom, Olivia Halsey, Paige Besse, Paige Hall, Pamela Mattson, Pamela Watson, Parker Lewis, Paul Clark, Paul Wareham, Paula Mayhew, Paula Ulloa, Penny Carmichael, Rachael Peters, Rachel Dufrene, Rachel Dufrene, Rachel Flagg, Rachel Jo Price, Rachel Lane, Rachel Price, Rachel Rossetti, Rachel Taite, Rachel Tenenbaum, Rachel Whiting, Rasa Poorman, Razzie Barker, Rebecca Baty, Rebecca Edwards, Rebecca LeBlanc, Rebecca Ramm, Rebecca Taylor, Rebecca Turner, Rebecca Wilson, Rebekah Ross, Regina Gill, Renate Brower, Rhys Jones, Richard I'Anson, Rick Rogers, Rima Lavine, Ris and Bill Allen, Robert Muzina, Robin Figueroa, Rosemary Beentje, Ruben Tejeda, Ruben& Carol Tirado, Ryan J Thrun, Ryan Noble, Ryan Noble, Sal Conrad and Melissa Martell, Sally Anderson, Sam Eberg, Samantha and David Hancock, Samantha Beeke, Samantha Lord, Samantha Overton, Samira Lamnouar, Sandra Jaquet, Sara Andrlik, Sara Freed, Sara Parsons, Sara Simonsen, Sarah Amann, Sarah Broge, Sarah Jean Coles, Sarah Parker, Sarah Prosser, Sarah Sparrowhawk, Sarah Trohiard, Sarah Vallinakis, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Wilson, Sascha Njaa, Scott Benning, Sean Daniels, Sean OHagen, Selena Rauenzahn, Selina Marie Roa, Shanna Harper, Shannon Dolan, Shannon Ortiz, Shannon Sweeney, Shari Augino, Sharra Myers, Shaundra Moniz, Shawn Brimmer, Shawn Kelly, Shayna Bell, Shelby Francis, Shelby Nayukok-Solski, Shelley Wilkes, Shelly Oxhandler, Sheryl Meador, Shirley Valonis, Skyla Goff, Sonja Smith, Sonnia Richards, Sophie Meyer, Sophie Quine, Stacey Devitt, Stacey Simins, Staci Dillard, Staci Egly, Stacia Tague, Stacy Looney, Steph Allison, Stephanie Cahoon, Stephanie Marotta, Stephanie McGivern, Stephanie Moore, Stephanie Morphew, Stephanie Potvin, Stephanie Ryder, Stephanie Veres, Steve Gare, Steven Ayotte, Susan Cahoon, Susan Connally, Susan Hogan, Susan Stamper, Susie Shatzsall, Susie Walker, Suzanne B. Robin, Suzanne Cording, Suzanne Driscoll, Sydney Hogan, Sydney Van Beek, Talena Penn, Tammy Harold, Tammy Phillips, Tamran Thigpun, Tara Litvack, Tarah Falsetta, Tash Howarth, Taylor Abrahamson, Taylor Catlin, Taylor Gilchrist, Taylor Gimple, Taylor Harris, Taylor N. Young, Teresa Jablonski, Teresa Jablonski, The Blueberry, The Hicks Family, The Ray Family, Theresa Alvarado, Thomas Lamant, Tia-Ashley Hulkenberg, Tifani Kent, Tiffany N. Teater, Tiffany Teater, Timothy Meier, TJ Stamp, Todd Coniam, Tom Nielsen, Tonya Kozak, Tori Boge, Torren Stanley, Tracey Biasiolli,Tracey McCabe, Tracey Woodard, Tracy Jess Hanks, Tracy Marotta, Travis Cheezum, Ubaldo Gonzalez, Valerie Higgins, Valerie York, Vanessa Thomas, Vanessa Weathers, Victoria A Buentello, Wanda Collings, Whitney Wilber, William "VVolf" Bentley, Wilson Pilot, Yael Bourgade, Yusuke Misawa, Zachary Epperson, Zack Krueger, Zoe E Kent
The Parker family from West Texas arrived in Bridgeport this week to give CARE a special gift.
Cindy Parker heard about CARE when her niece introduced her to Big Cat Derek on Vine. Cindy soon fell in love with all the animals at CARE. Living several hours away in Clyde, Texas, she wasn't able to commit to volunteering at the facility. Cindy and her husband Jeff came up with another plan of how to help.
Jeff is magical in melting and molding steel into works of art. Cindy is a creative artist who has been watching the big cats for months. The result of their combined work is new signs for CARE! The couples' company, Parker Custom Ironworks in Cross Plains, has makes a yearly donation to a non-profit organization. We are honored that they chose to donate not one but three works of art to CARE! When we experienced tornado winds this spring, our front gate sign was destroyed. Now, we have a new one towering 20 feet from the ground, welcoming all visitors.
Cindy labored for hours designing the signs. She chose Serena as her model for the Welcome Center sculpture.
Clyde and our beloved Sampson are elevated high above the main gate.
The lemurs thank our visitors for their generous support.
A dedicated Jeff worked for over 60 hours just to complete the 500 pound entrance sign, plus many more hours on the Welcome Center signs. Upon completion Jeff and Cindy, along with Jeff’s brother, Skeet and father, Steve traveled to Bridgeport for the big unveiling.
We were all amazed at the beautiful craftsmanship of their work. We appreciate the skill it required to raise the sign with the 50 ft. lift and attach it to the gate. Thank you Parker family for what you have provided to CARE!Read more
Early last week CARE took a little roadtrip to pick up a new resident. Meet Max the 5 month old bobcat!
Max's story is unfortunately a common one for young bobcats. His mother was shot and a game warden found him orphaned. He took him in, and then relocated him to a wildlife refuge. The refuge asked us if we could give him a permant home. By this time he was too habituated to people to be rehabbed and released.
He arrived at CARE late at night and the next morning got a clean bill of health from Dr. Bill. Now it was time to see if he and Mia could be friends. With him being twice the size of our first bobcat rescue, we hoped that their youth would make the introduction go smoothly. We could not have asked for a better outcome, it was love at first sight! In the last few days, they have spent their time cuddled up together for naps, staying up all night long to play, and hanging out on their window perches and cat trees to watch the birds outside. Max is very protective of Mia, and Mia is in love with boy. They chat all the time, calling to each other with chirps and gurgles and comforting each other with the loudest purrs you will ever hear! It is a beautiful thing to see them with each other, knowing that despite their hardships in the early stages of life, they now have each other.
Right now they are taking advantage of the sunroom that was built for Araali and Zuberi. They get lots of sunshine, room to run and play, tons of toys, a snug den to sleep in, and giant cat trees to climb and look down at their CAREtakers from. We hope to have a permanant enclosure finished for them in the next month or so. Until then, Max has really settled in and both bobcats are doing so well it makes our hearts swell.
Again, as we mentioned when we announced Mia's arrival, we want to a moment to please ask everyone to be careful if you come across any injured or abandoned wildlife. Not only can even a young animal bite and cause you harm if you disturb it, but they can become very quickly used to people. Once they see humans as a source of food, fun, and comfort, it severely decreases their chances of being returned where they belong. If you come across a baby bobcat, raccoon, bird, etc. please contact a rescue, rehabilitator, or authorities. They will know how to properly handle and care for the animals to give them a better chance at returning home in the wild. Also, if you live in areas where there are bobcat populations, there are alternatives to shooting the cats that may threaten your pets, chickens, or property. Animal conflict does not have to end in death, and the potential orphaning of offspring. Keep your pets inside. Protect your chickens with fencing and housing. Keep bright lights on. There are many options for deterring predation. Not only do we hate to hear of these animals being killed, they are important to controlling pests and help keep the ecosystems that we all live in healthy.Read more
We would like for you to help CARE welcome our newest resident, bobcat Mia!
On May 3rd, 2015, 9 year-old Carlos Perez and his family discovered the tiny kitten on a construction site. They did the right thing by waiting a day to see if the mother would come back for her kitten. Once she didn’t, they took her home and called us to see if we could take her in. Executive Director, Heidi Krahn, rushed to their home in Paradise, TX not knowing what to expect. Was she sick, injured, afraid or was it just a tabby kitten mistaken for a bobcat? When Heidi arrived, she knew it was definitely a bobcat, around 8-10 weeks old. She looked dehydrated, but other than that, healthy. Carlos had taken very good care of her, he had even built her a little “habitat” to stay in. The most surprising thing about the situation was that she was perfectly at home in the family’s arms. They were sad to see her go, especially young Carlos, but knew that it was the best thing for her.
The baby purred the whole way back to CARE. Initially, because of her complete lack of fear around people, Heidi thought she might have been a pet. But, certain behaviors made it seem more likely that she was separated from her mother. We think the separation occurred because of all the floods here in N. Texas. Carlos had asked if he could name her Mia, so we officially are calling her Mia de la Trinity in honor of the little boy who took care of her and the Trinity river that was responsible for much of the flooding in our area.
Unfortunately, because she bonded so quickly with the people who found her and is completely comfortable with anyone and everyone, we feel it too dangerous to try and rehab her and re-release her to live in the wild. Her disposition and lack of fear means she will likely always seek out people as a source of food and comfort. We will give her the best home we can though and we already adore her. She is bright and active and is already at home here.
*As a reminder, if you do find any wildlife, especially babies – please do not remove them from where they are. Often times, their mothers are nearby. If you notice that their mother has not come back, please do not pick them up! Wild animals can carry many diseases, and even brief contact with people can lead to them not having a chance of being rehabbed and released. Call local authorities or a rescue in your area who will know what to do next.Read more
This week's Lone Star Adventure takes us to a North Texas animal sanctuary that has a world-wide following on the internet. With hundreds of thousands of devoted fans who have never been there. But you are welcome to visit. At CARE, the Center for Animal Research and Education near Bridgeport, Texas.Read more
We asked a group of current and past interns to share a little about their unique experiences while at CARE. Many of them might be familiar faces, as several intern graduates are now regular volunteers here.
CARE's intern program is a 4 month long, intensive training session typically for students who are enrolled in a 4 year degree program or have recently graduated from college. Most are interested in various fields working with animals (specifically big cats), although many go on to do other things.
Interns gain practical experience working with exotic animals, and are involved with our educational and research programs. Interns at CARE assist with feeding, cleaning, animal health, animal management, behavioral studies, chemical immobilization, record keeping, assisting in construction and habitat modification, public speaking, fundraising and related activities. Interns are also involved with the volunteer and tour program.
Find out more about internships HERE!
It has been a crazy (and very scary) few days, but we really wanted to take some time to do a proper update on how things are going. First, we really need to make sure we say what we are thankful for right now, things could have been much, much worse than they were!! We also want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the many, many people in the area that lost far more than we did.
We are thankful……
…..That all the people and animals at CARE are safe. No one was hurt and no cats escaped. That is largely due to the incredible construction of the enclosures that took a beating, the amazing leadership of Executive Director Heidi Krahn and Operations Director Derek Krahn, and the fast work and amazing calm of the CARE staff prior to, during, and after the storm-including our BRAND NEW interns under the supervision of senior volunteer/intern graduate Krista Cope.
…..For all the people that made it out yesterday to help clean up. JD Thompson - our tree god - was here at daybreak cutting trees and limbs until well into the evening. Andrew Rottner sent a generator for our freezer and 750lbs of chicken to help feed the cats. Camilla Smith, Derek Blakley, Annette Wiley, Krista Cope, Derek Krahn, Jessica Richter, Katie Handley, Heidi Krahn, Pam Lanfear, Jeff Fisk, Kelsey Prediger, Dustin Krahn, Destiny Krahn, Dakota Krahn, Claude and Stacey Maealiuaki (thanks for making lunch for the crew Stacey), and Gary Valdata (please forgive us if we forgot anyone!) were out here all day cleaning, working, and providing the best care to the cats. Our volunteers are truly the most amazing people who dropped everything for the animals. In one day, the majority of the debris was removed, enclosures made safe, and things almost back to normal.
….Everyone who reached out to ask if we needed help, see what they could do, shared our info with friends and family asking for assistance, and offered words of support and concern. Knowing that CARE has so many people out there who love the animals and are concerned for their well-being makes our hearts full. You have no idea how special that is!
….All the local news channels, NBC DFW, CBS DFW, and Fox 4 News, who covered what happened here and helped get the word out that we needed help. And, everyone who reached out to the media on our behalf (thank you especially Heather Merritt). Having the media support the animals is amazing! You can see some of the coverage HERE.
….All of our amazing friends (and people we have never met) out there who donated to help the animals! Almost $11K has come in since late Monday night to help with repairs. So many of you gave, we wish we could name you all, but the number of people willing to give is just overwhelming. Just know that we saw each and every gift come in and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your willingness to help.
In fact, we truly think that the amount of repairs will be covered by what has just been donated, with some left over. So, we want to tell you a little bit about what we will do any extra money. We weren’t going to say anything for a few days until we had all the details in place, and the timing is a little off, but now is as good as time as any….especially since we really owe the safety and security of our animals to one important thing – the enclosures that were masterfully built for them. Specifically built to withstand the strength of tigers and lions, it seems they are excellent at withstanding tornado winds as well! Now, we need a new double enclosure to house our youngest residents who are VERY quickly outgrowing their current accommodations. Araali & Zuberi and Boomer & Slade need new houses! We have the plans drawn up and have been getting estimates on supplies and labor. We take the construction of quality enclosures very seriously and with the special needs of the young lions, and the fact that due to new USDA regulations they have to be a new height, this enclosure will not be cheap. But, thanks to you, we have a head-start on the fundraising! We will be getting out more info on the project with all the details, cost of construction, and where you can donate very soon. We even have a few cool things planned to make this fundraiser as successful as possible. Stay tuned and again, thank you all so much for your dedication and love of every single creature that calls CARE home. They are so fortunate to have friends like you!!Read more
May 19, 2015 CARE Survives Major Storms in Wise County
Links to news coverage for the damaging storms that rolled through Wise County the night of 5/18/2015. CARE suffered broken power poles, loss of power, downed trees, flooding, and lots of debris. Fortunately people and animals were safe and sound after the storm passed.Read more
There has to be a first time for everything! Tigers love water, and are very strong swimmers. Our adult tigers spend much of their summers lounging in pools to keep them cool. For each of them, there was that first time they got in the water, and we were lucky enough to have our volunteers and interns capture 5 month old Boomer and Slade during their first pool experience! Enjoy!
I first met Arctic as a young graduate student seeking to understand the genetic differences between the great cats of genus Panthera. He was a full grown, romping boy who was eager to seek attention from passers-by; and oh-so vocal! I had heard every vocalization by a member of Panthera, but his enthusiastic yowl become immediately and indelibly etched on my memory. My wife Crystal and I had the privilege to stay for a few nights at C.A.R.E. as we met other rescues in the area and discussed our research. Arctic was our first sight in the morning, our last sound at night, and forever changed my perspective as a researcher. In the sterile environment of a laboratory it is impossible to appreciate the magnificence of such a unique member of our planet. Even my close colleague Jan Janecka, who studies snow leopards in the wilds of Mongolia and Bhutan as a field biologist, had never seen such majesty in the flesh until he met Arctic...and boy did we see him. He was truly a sight to behold for biologist and animal lover alike.
The height of his leaps and the precision of his steps were mesmerizing, echoing the treacherous Himalayas and other high-reaches untouched by civilization where his species traverses with ease. Though Arctic’s closest cross-species relative is the tiger, it was astounding how different these two truly are. He reinforced in me an iron resolve that each individual representation of life residing with us on this planet deserves the aid of mankind in order to assist them in their journey forward in time. As we continue to see wild populations across the animal kingdom diminish and move toward extinction, this cannot be denied by responsible beings. His environment in captivity was luxurious and his care was impeccable. His life was full and his interactions with humans a joy. However, as with all life, the inexorable progress of biology took hold. Despite intense veterinary surveillance, the microorganisms that cause so many of us to fall did so with Arctic.
Though do not think his will to survive ended there. He will be forever recorded in the annals of scientific endeavor though a detailed recording of the genetic complexity within each part of his body. The very nature of his physical being will be accessible for others to understand. As geneticists seek to deduce the mechanisms that make each species and individual novel unto themselves, we need look no further for proof of his life than research asking the question: “what makes a snow leopard unique?”. In this dawning age of personal human genomics, Arctic is an irreplaceable pioneer who will provide the foundation by which others of his species will be studied. He will be missed by those who knew him in life, but he will be known by far more as the record of his life becomes the seed for innumerable future discoveries.
Thank you Arctic.
Brian W. Davis, Ph.D.
Exotic Genome Project / American Captive Exotic Feline Repository
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National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
We could not let Valentine's Day pass us by without giving the lion cubs Araali & Zuberi and the tiger cubs Boomer & Slade a huge stuffed teddy bear to love on (and kill). The cubs had so much fun. Enjoy the 2 versions of cuteness overload below!
Operations Director Derek (bigcatderek) also created his own version of the celebrations! You can check it out HERE.Read more
If you have been keeping up with lion cubs Araali and Zuberi, then you know about the illness that they have been battling for months, commonly known as Wobbler’s Syndrome. In case you haven’t, we wanted to give everyone a little background and update on how they are doing. But most importantly, we need to recognize all the amazing people that have come to the boys’ aid when they needed it the most.
Shortly before Christmas, Araali and Zuberi both experienced difficulty walking and measures were taken immediately to try and determine the cause. Receiving the boys’ diagnosis was devastating news – our little lion cubs, whose birth was a miracle in its own right, were plagued with Wobbler’s Syndrome, a horribly debilitating condition which affects bones which then affects the nervous system. Due to the bleak outlook of the diagnosis, it was even suggested by some that we euthanize our little ones as soon as possible to save them from their near-certain degenerative fate. As you probably already know, that is not our way at CARE. As long as our animals are not experiencing unreasonable and unnecessary pain, we will do everything we can to find a way to help them. Even with this seemingly insurmountable challenge in front of us, we had hope. Within hours of the announcement that the cubs were headed to Texas A&M for diagnostics, thousands of dollars suddenly appeared in CARE’s PayPal account from our supporters world-wide. At times like that, seeing the cascade of immediate support for any of CARE’s animals is humbling and incredibly uplifting, knowing that these special animals have touched the hearts of so many gives us strength to do what we do.
Early December, when the boys were first diagnosed
It has been a few months since their initial diagnosis, and the fight to simply give the boys a chance at a future hasn’t been an easy one. Sleep has been scarce (for us humans), the house where they have needed to spend time being observed has seen better days, but overall, the 80 pound cubs are doing well. Wobblers has made Araali and Zuberi less mobile (they’re pretty much limping all of the time, sometimes on multiple legs) and it’s made them more prone to injury. Normal lion cubs are rough and tumble by nature. They can usually withstand some pretty hefty knocks. With Wobblers however, minor bumps, tumbles, and head-jerks can cause injury which has had a negative looping effect. Any injuries can elevate their pain, the increased pain makes them stressed, anxious, and “jumpy” which then increases the likelihood of further injury. It’s a nasty cycle which we are fighting to control. Stress reduction is pivotal to their improvement, and they are never left alone - we even sleep with them at night. If for some reason they were to get scared in the night and perhaps move too quickly or run into something, it could be catastrophic to their recovery. They have good days and they have bad days, but the good ones are starting to outweigh the bad.
Since the boys are becoming more stable, a long term treatment plan had to be devised. First things first-research. It’s a good thing all those sleepless night allowed more time to search the web and talk to the top doctors and researchers in the world about Wobblers treatments. We immediately placed the boys on anti-inflammatory medications and loads of additional vitamins and minerals (lots of Calcium). Another thing they desperately needed was sunlight so they could absorb essential Vitamin D. They were spending so much time in the house due to their limited mobility and their need for a controlled environment, not to mention the fact that the cold weather this time of year caused more discomfort for them, that they were getting rather accustomed to their new plush accommodations with soft blankets on top of thick carpet in front of our den’s big TV & fireplace.
Araali could get himself outdoors when we coaxed him, but Zuberi, try as he might, couldn’t make the trip, so we started carrying the 80 pound cub inside and outside. The most terrifying period of this whole ordeal was the first week of Zuberi’s symptoms. He was in such bad shape, he literally couldn’t walk ANYWHERE. He crawled & he shuffled, but he couldn’t lift himself up off the ground. There were times where we would watch him struggle without improvement, and we couldn’t help but think the battle was being lost. There were a few tears those first days to say the least. More research necessary. More sleepless nights. More furniture eaten.
We have been weighing our options and making decisions. The use of anti-inflammatory medications long term could be detrimental to the lions’ internal organs, but how will we otherwise be able to control their pain and keep their inflammation under control? Enter Assisi Animal Health. The company has developed a special collar which utilizes a new technology- Targeted Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy or tPEMF. This technology was developed to treat a laundry-list of conditions in animals including Wobblers Syndrome! The wonderful people at Assisi donated 2 collars for the boys, and in return we report on all of their progress. It’s not every day you get to test your new products on lion cubs with legitimate long-term needs, so they were truly excited to help. We started their loop-treatments before the New Year and their improvement has been noticeable. We are hoping to take them off of the anti-inflammatory medications completely if we continue to see improvement. This will, of course, all depend on how many 15 min treatments we can get in a day. The main area of concern is their cervical spine (their neck vertebrae) which means they have to wear the Assisi loop on their neck for 15 straight minutes, 4 times a day – a delightfully difficult task to accomplish with frisky lion cubs. They have to be sleeping or very distracted for the collar to be slipped on without them noticing the magical new chew toy with a pretty green light.
Zuberi napping while getting his Assisi collar treatment
Our final issue has been their long term housing situation. Obviously, these are growing lions, not domestic kittens and them living in the house was incredibly problematic. As their health improves, they have become more active, bold, and destructive. They are a greater danger to the dogs and domestic cats that live in the house as well as a threat to the two tiger cubs who have to be kept separately from the lions. The boys were also not getting enough sunlight in the house, but sometimes it is too cold or they are too fragile to go outside. Additionally, they are now 80 pounds. Carrying them outside when they have difficulty moving on their own will soon not be an option anymore. They cannot be left alone in the house for a second and the lack of sleep on the side of the CAREgivers becomes dangerous when having to care for the other 50 animals at CARE. It was decided that special housing needed to be constructed for Zuberi and Araali to fit their needs. It would need to be connected to the house for easy access, have a sizeable indoor area, but have access to their outdoor enclosure. There was a lot to think about.
Getting WAY too big for the house!
Enter the Hero. Local businessman and CARE friend, Andrew Rottner, spent hours comforting and caring for the boys since the onset of their illness. Between us, we don’t think he stood a chance of not falling in love with them from the moment he first saw them. Twenty four hours after Andrew heard of our housing issues, he and John of John Schedcik Custom Homes arrived at CARE to start planning. Zuberi and Araali’s new rehab facility would be added directly on to the house so they can still come inside when needed, it will have 19 windows all around to structure to give the young lions the valuable light they require, but it will protect them from the elements and be climate controlled with central heat and air. The construction of this amazing facility began Christmas Eve. Andrew and John did not stop with the construction through the holidays. These two gentleman donated a portion of the cost and a lot of their valuable time to the projects.
Along with John and Andrew, we can’t begin to thank all of the people that have made this amazing project happen! Several employees of North Texas Bank gave $1,000 each to help fund the building. Vendors BBC, Mike Sanderson of Sanderson Electric, Don’s A/C Service, Framers Rob and Ray Brewster spent long hours completing the building as quickly as possible. And, we cannot forget all of the people who have donates to the boys’ care since the first mention of trouble. Those donations went towards paying for the remaining half of the building.
We know everyone has been waiting patiently for news on Levi, and we thank you so much for thinking of him and sending your well wishes all week. Ever since Levi’s initial issues began, we have tried everything we could think of to make him better, and we had so many reasons to believe he would make a full recovery. We removed a broken tooth that we expected was causing discomfort so he could eat painlessly. When he still wasn’t eating, we treated an infection in the extraction site. He still continued to have difficulty eating, so he was examined, treated with antibiotics, all with little effect. We started to wonder is something more was going on. X-rays were performed and there were no signs of anything in his mouth that would be causing him to continue to have problems. We tried so hard, and desperately hoped for an improvement. Despite what we did, he continued to deteriorate and quickly. We made the decision to let him go. It was a painful decision, it always is, but it was the right one for him. It is hard to explain how difficult it is to watch an animal that has been healthy, powerful, and majestic his entire life slowly weaken and fade before their time and not have the ability to make it better.
Of course, it was crucial that we perform a thorough necropsy. What we found was quite different than anything we expected.
Preliminary pathology reports from Dr. Barbara Lewis from TVMDL have suggested that Levi suffered from Chagas disease. This disease is parasitic and is transmitted by an insect called a “kissing bug”. These bugs are prolific in Latin America, where 7 – 10 million people currently have Chagas. While rampant in Latin American countries, the “kissing bug” has just started moving into the United States. A lot is known about the disease in humans, but other than knowing that many animals can be infected, research is still being done on its prevention and treatment. Levi’s neurological symptoms, difficulty eating and swallowing, and the condition of his heart during the necropsy all support this probable diagnosis.
Volunteers Rich and Denice Hazlewood, from Bugs n’ Ashes pest control, have been aggressively treating the facility to prevent the parasite spreading. We also know have identified this parasite and can test for it and hopefully treat it if another animal becomes ill.
It is an undeniable that there will never be another tiger quite like Levi. He had an incredible presence here that is now a hole. Whether you were mesmerized by his beauty, or wary of his intimidating stare, you knew he was special. He often was misunderstood and judged too quickly. He could be incredibly calm, gentle, and affectionate (typically only women got to see this side of him). He was very loved, always respected, and we feel his loss every moment.Read more
Some of you may know both Araali and Zuberi have been experiencing some difficulty lately. We wanted to get as much information about their physical condition before explaining it to you. After consulting with specialists we now have a diagnosis and a game plan.
The issue first presented itself when Araali began to limp on his back right leg about a month ago. He increasingly became unsteady, stiff, and weak. After a quick examination by Dr. William McGee, or as we fondly call him, “Dr. Bill” an appointment for x-rays was scheduled.
We can’t begin to explain to you how difficult it is to load an 80 pound lion into the car in a stress free manner when they have never been in one before. For his safety we thought it was best to load him into a large kennel from inside the house where he felt most comfortable. Zuberi would need to come along due to the boys’ separation anxiety. Everything was going as planned when Zuberi was startled by a toy. He ran into the wall and fell to the ground. The accident was very minor and the impact with the wall should not have caused any injury. Lions, even cubs, are pretty darn tough. But, to our horror, he was immediately unable to walk…within minutes we found that he was unable to use either his front or back left legs.
The nightmare began. The preliminary X-rays on Zuberi showed nothing and he was placed on anti-inflammatory medications hoping the swelling would go down and he would return to his old self. Araali’s x-rays were another story. There was a marked bridging on his spine and the cause is unknown. Could be genetics, and old injury, anything. Advanced diagnostics would need to be scheduled for Araali as soon as Zuberi was back on his feet.
Sadly, Zuberi showed no improvement over the following two days. An emergency call was made to Texas A & M University’s Veterinary Medical Hospital for a complete work up. The boys were now inseparable. Araali knew his brother was in trouble. He never left his side as we began our long journey began.
The A & M exotic animal team was called together and was there to greet the boys when we arrived. The staff was wonderful allowing, the boys to stay together until Zuberi was sedated for an MRI, blood work, advanced x-rays, and an array of other tests performed by this top notch team.
Hours later the news was delivered. The neurologist diagnosed Zuberi with Cervical Spondylomyelopathy, commonly known as Wobblers syndrome. The syndrome is caused by a narrowing or malformation of the vertebrae in the neck which causes pressure on the spinal cord. The most common animals that are affected are horses and dogs, especially breeds that grow very fast and become very large (just like lions). The cause of Wobblers Syndrome is unknown, although a link to fast growth and genetics is suspected. Symptoms usually appear first in the rear legs as a mild lack of coordination in gait (ataxia) and can escalate to involvement of the front legs as well. Many affected animals move like they are drunk and uncoordinated. It has now become apparent both Zuberi and Araali were dealing with the same issue.
When we received this news, it was like getting hit with a ton of bricks. The prognosis is not fantastic. The best option is surgery, but only for adult animals after they have stopped growing. What the doctors told us was discouraging and numbing and even euthanizing was suggested at one point. But this is CARE, and we do not give up without a fight….ever!
We never gave up on Sampson. For years it was suspected that he had a Vitamin A deficiency as a cub, which causes him to wobble when he walks. Knowing what we know now, he could very well have the same issues the boys have. The good news is that Sampson survived as a cub and is now a senior citizen at 15 years old! There is hope.
The first steps are adding more calcium, fatty acids, and Vitamin D to their diet in addition to lots of sunshine for additional Vitamin D absorption. We were also told that it is crucial for their movement to be restricted as much as possible. No jumping, climbing, or rough-housing. You try telling that to 6 month old male lion cubs! But, we are doing everything we can. They are staying in Derek and Heidi’s house where they even take turns sleeping with the boys at night. They are observed 24/7, with many daylight breaks in a newly constructed fenced area in the yard where they cannot get into any trouble. Dahlia is watching them closely too, making sure they are okay.
We have regular visits from Dr. Bill and Dr. Tate, our local chiropractor, who is helping us understand how to stretch and massage they boys’ necks. Assisi Animal Health has released a new technology called Targeted Pulse Electromagnetic Field Therapy (tPEMF). It is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological treatment of pain and swelling used on Wobbler’s Syndrome in domestic animals. They have graciously donated one of the units for the boys. Our volunteers spend hours with the boys making sure that they are carefully watched and given lots of love.
CAREgivers and medical attention are only half of the battle though. Hundreds of donors have come forward to make sure the boys will only receive the best care there is. We are presently breaking ground on Zuberi and Araali’s new indoor/outdoor environment (more info coming soon). We will continue to research and do anything and everything we can to find a solution, as long as they have quality of life, we will not give up. Already we have seen improvement in Zuberi, walking more each day.
We will not be able to fight this battle alone. We cannot thank you enough for rushing to the boys’ aid already. When we say that the animals at CARE would not be here without you, we REALLY mean it. This is going to be an exhausting and expensive endeavor and without your help, we just can’t do it. So, thank you. Thank you from the boys, from us, and from every single big cat, coati, lemur, and llama here. If there is any possible way, WE together will win this battle and the boys will live to a happy and healthy old age.
Just in time for the holidays, CARE is so happy to share a little joy!
Although we have had our hands full for the last few months, we can't forget what our mission and purpose is here at CARE. We are here to provide animals in need with the best quality and most loving home and care that can be provided. So, when we were contacted by an individual with two baby tiger cubs looking for a good, life-long home, we could not say no.
Please meet these two (yet unnamed) baby boy tigers. They are 8 weeks old, and to say they are a handful is an understatement! But, they are healthy, happy, and completely adjusted to their new home and CAREtakers (and they are just about the most precious little snufflers in the world).
We will be giving you lots more information (and pics) very soon, so we ask that you please be patient with us on questions about the cubs. We have a big cat daycare situation going on, and on top of caring for 50 other adult animals, it is a struggle keeping up with inquires at the moment. Stay tuned and we promise you will see and hear a lot of more of these two!
These boys are spunky and are constantly on the move, but we were able to get them to sit still long enough for a quick photo session.
So, Season's Greetings from CARE's newest residents and all the other tigers, lions, leopards, llama, cougars, lemurs, and coati!
This Thanksgiving all of us at CARE are thankful for so many things, least of all the hard work and support of all our volunteers, donors, and visitors!
We ended up having the most successful Fall Festival ever this year. We had record breaking crowds.....
And tried out some new ideas, like bobbing for pumpkins with the cats......
Here is a recap of the event, fun was had by all!!
Everyone who helped out, came out to the event, donated, participated in our raffle, and helped get the word out helped the center raise over $14,000!!! That funding will not only help us get through the winter months when donation and tours are slow, but it will help us get some much needed projects done around the compound. A very special thanks goes to the Bridgeport Index and Wise County Messenger who featured the event in their papers. We have to also mention the AMAZING front page article that the Fort Worth Star Telegram published on our annual fundraiser. Because of them we met so many new people who have never heard of us before!
We also had a very successful raffle this year, the first time ever doing it strictly online, and we are happy to announce the winners HERE!
Last, but not least, we had the grand-opening of our new Welcome Center during the Fall Festival and we cannot even begin to tell you how amazing it was! We had an area for people to come in out of the not-so-nice weather we experienced for half of the dates, a gift shop where people could pick up our awesome new t-shirts with the designs from the t-shirt logo contest, and an office where we had a cash register and computers to help with checking people out and keeping everything organized. With as many people as we had this year, we honestly do not know how we would have managed it without this space!
We have to make a HUGE point to thank everyone who worked on the Welcome Center in the months prior to the Festival:
Krista Cope, Dakota Krahn, Nicole Wahler, Triple B Builders (Bryan Berry Sr., Brian Berry Jr., and Richie), Dave Brown, Dustin Krahn, Ellie Opdahl, Darrion Riggs, Brad Higgins, Derek Krahn, Denice and Rich Hazlewood, 84 Lumber in Chandler, AZ, Heidi Krahn, Nicole Lounsbury, Ashley Morales, Daniel Byrum, Melanie Quain, and Destiny Krahn.
Also, thank you to David Hancock and many others for completing the new lemur expansion at the same time construction was going on with the Welcome Center. And thank you to J.D. and Lisa Thompson for donating a huge, beautiful executive desk for the Welcome Center office.
We know we are missing many who also helped, and especially those who contributed financially to the project. Thank you, thank you, thank you, again and again for your generosity. We are entering a new phase at CARE, and it is so exciting. We have healthy and happy animals, with full bellies and a safe and loving future ahead of them. We absolutely, without a doubt, could not be where we are today without each and every one of you.
So, again, this Thanksgiving we are giving thanks for YOU!Read more