Yesterday our group visited The Conservators' Center, a non-profit rescue organization that helps animals in need. They are located in outside Mebane, North Carolina, and have an absolutely wonderful website.
Upon arrival, head animal keeper Janine began our tour.
First we saw servals. These cats are originally from the African grasslands and were fascinating to watch.
I must admit, I can't remember the name of this cat. She just kept pacing and pacing throughout part of her cage as we stood, watching, and learning about her. I felt so bad for making her nervous that I missed hearing anything else!
I've never heard of a binturong before. These Asian animals are banana crazy and imperative for keeping the rainforest alive and well. This one in particular showed off for us by climbing all over his habitat, including showing us how to climb down a tree head first!
Everyone seemed fascinated with the wolves, and this arctic-timber wolf in particular stayed right near us for quite some time.
We didn't faze this tiger. He just hung out in the corner of his pen and watched us all. He was one cool cucumber!
Some of the lions and tigers were born around the same time and have been raised together. There was something awesome about watching these two species of cats play together.
They rested atop this towering play structure in their area, too. I'd love to know what they're thinking!
My most favorite animal, however, was Arthur, the white tiger. He may be part snow tiger, or his coloring may be due to the abuse he suffered as a baby; but either way, his stripes are very faint and are most prominent on his tail.
We didn't seem to bother Arthur, either, and were able to catch him playing hide-and-seek with his friend ...
and then, amazingly, he went seeking while we were still there! I've only seen these types of animals in the zoo, before, when the most action you can hope for is a lazy tail flick as they sleep. To see such strong and mighty animals roughhousing only a few feet away was incredible.
The kids took their own kiddie cameras along and took hundreds of pictures - literally - so we'll be editing those tomorrow. They were both fascinated with the animals, but also with the new friends that they've made today. Isn't it funny how experiencing something amazing with someone else draws you together?
After a picnic lunch in the Conservators' Center's new pavilion, we headed home, full of stories of lions and tigers and ... bobcats and lemurs and wolves and all sorts of wonderful animals.
If you've never been to The Conservators' Center and you live in the area, be sure to check it out. It's definitely worth a visit. If you live far away, be sure to check out what kind of animal resources are in your backyard. You won't be sorry.