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Conservators Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Education, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Zoos & Aquariums

Mission: The Conservators Center reconnects people with wildlife by introducing visitors to rare, threatened, and endangered species—up close and personal. The conservancy’s animal residents serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts: You are more likely to become invested in these species after you meet them and learn about their inherent value. Looking a tiger in the eye, hearing lions call to one another, howling with wolves, and meeting a binturong for the first time will forever change your perspective. You protect what you know.

Results: We provide permanent homes to dozens of exotic animals; we also provide an exotic animal husbandry internship for students around the country and the world; we reach thousands of visitors and program recipients each year; we've critically supported overseas conservation programs in Chile and Vietnam.

Target demographics: Wildlife and wildlife professionals

Direct beneficiaries per year: About 80 animals on site, about 16,000 visitors and program recipients, local and national government agencies who need assistance with emergency placements

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: Educational tours and events for the general public. Internships for college students. Workshops and activities for wildlife professionals and educators. Collaboration with North Carolina State University Center for Veterinary Medicine's Carnivore Team to provide students with real-world learning experiences. Home for wild animals who need to move from their current situation—this includes retirement/rehoming from zoos and other facilities; owner surrender of a wild animal for which they cannot provide care; and assistance to authorities who have confiscated wild animals from inappropriate homes.

Community Stories

150 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would rate the Center even higher if I could. Positively MAGICAL! I go every year at least once a year (for my birthday) and shoot for more visits throughout the year. Go for the Twilight Tour-the nocturnal tours provide the opportunity to view most, if not all, of the animals alert and reactive. No tour is the same, the guides are SO knowledgeable (LOVE Kevin and Frank) and just take my word for it...when there's a dusting of stars in the sky, the lions are chuffing, and the wolves begin to howl...there's no place quite like it anywhere on Earth.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I first visited the Conservators Center shortly after we moved to the area. Friends had recommended it so highly, we were excited to check it out. The experience did not let us down! It was nothing short of incredible to be so close and personal with such magnificent animals. We enjoyed all parts of the tour, from the animals to the stories the staff told. It was such a wonderful experience, we now share it with our family and friends whenever they come to visit. Everyone always leaves thoroughly impressed! We can't wait for our next visits.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great experience with the animals and staff! I highly recommend for anyone who loves big cats or wants to get involved in animal husbandry!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After several visits to the Center and taking many, many great photographs, I highly recommend a visit there ! You won't regret it.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I were taken to this center by some friends who are adopters/volunteers. We loved the experience! We saw some species that we had never seen before in person--a couple we had never even heard of. So cool! I was amazed how close we were to the animals which helps to truly get to know them through observation. The grounds were very well taken care of, the pens felt appropriately sized and thoughtfully created and located, and the animals seemed relaxed. I would recommend a stop to this center to anyone!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first visited the Center for a tour back in 2014 and immediately knew I was "home". Being interested in zoology, the Center became my place to learn and grow. I was surrounded by positive people who wanted nothing more than to create a safe environment for these animals to thrive and a place for the public to connect with creatures they would otherwise not know about. I volunteered in animal care and eventually became a member of the gift shop staff (though, I have sense left to pursue my animal science degree).

The Center has a fabulous tour program that is catered to all ages, a spectacular internship program for those in the animal science field, and is always accepting volunteers for all sorts of projects.

If you love animals, this is the place to go! It's kind of out in the boonies, but it is worth the drive. Whether you come for a tour, a special event such as Girl Scout Day, or you are a volunteer, this place will immediately hold a special place in your heart.

Donor

Rating: 5

I first took a tour back in February living five minutes away I had heard about the conservators center but had never been. All my life in Caswell county it was about time. I'm going to school for animal care and management and decided after my Amazing tour I had that how awesome it would be to volunteer! So after volunteering a few times a spot in the gift shop opened up so I just went ahead and applied and I got hired on almost immediately. The conservators center is my safe haven. The people here are my family and the animals are my family. Each and every resident human or not on this property is cared for in so many extraordinary ways that makes the world a better place. They time and efforts put into each project big or small is amazing and the efforts put in to push for better things is unbelieveable! This is my home and this place is amazing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a life time adopter to one of the center's Lions (going on 2 years) and one of their Dingoes (just over a year) and it is truly a wonderful experience. I've read a review before where the person said there wasn't enough stars and I would have to agree. The animals here are taken care of very well and loved by all the keepers, staff, guides and volunteers. The people that run the place and take care of the animals continually go above and beyond and it shows. I have taken all of the tours and gone to nearly all of their special events as well. I love getting to know the animals and the people there better every time I go. It is my place of zen and helps me put life in perspective in life's difficult times. Thank you conservator's center, for all you do for the animals and for me.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Every visit to Conservators Center has been an amazing experience. My husband and I have taken every tour offered there, and each has it's own special charm with new and interesting information from each tour guide we've had. I like that there is not a scripted tour speech they follow so you can take the same tour multiple times with different guides and learn new things each time. The animals are calm and seem well adjusted to captive life, in fact most seem downright spoiled here! The love and care put into each animal and it's well being is definitely obvious. Kudos to all at Conservators Center for keeping these animals healthy, safe and most of all happy!

1 Christy4

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been visiting and volunteering at the Conservators' Center for as long as I can remember, the animals and humans are like family to me. Matthai lion and I have a very special relationship. It has been an honor to sponsor him and be a part of his life for the last almost 13 years.

The Conservators' Center has grown by leaps and bounds these last 10 years. I have been apart of every tour offered and they are all unique and fun. Each trained volunteer has their own way to guide the tours, and each are fabulous. I adore how much they love these animals.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Oh wow! I have been going out to visit and volunteer out at the Conservators' Center for over 7 years! The people and animals are like my family. When you go to visit it isn't like going to the zoo. You are on a tour with a person who knows the center and the story of each of those animals and they ALL have a story to share. Another aspect that I LOVE and other people that I have spoken to LOVE is that you get so much closer to these animals than you ever would in a zoo. You get to see how they interact with the visitors and keepers. It is truly amazing.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have visited this place often. First time was life changing. Now I just need to go back to see old friends and maybe a couple of new ones. To see large cats so close and to hear them "oof" is something you will not experience anywhere else.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A 20-year old tiger looks at you from five feet away and 'chuffles' to let you know that he approves of you. A lion 'oofs,' after being prompted by a human who loves him, and 15 other lions answer to convey that all is well in their world. An adorable binturong climbs across the top of her cage upside down to remind you that you should bring her a banana. A chubby but adorable leopard stalks you from one end of her large compound to the other end hoping for a treat. A caracal trills and shows you her 'best side' profile as you pass by her with your camera. A serval bonds with his happy human by marking her forever with his scent and a wolf shows one of his human pack members by laying his head in her lap.

Each of these beautiful animals, and the people who care for and support them, are the reason I volunteer my time and talents to the Conservators Center in Burlington, NC.

The center is not a zoo and is not supported by any government funds. It is a privately owned and funded by donations and, quite simply, love. A few dedicated staff members work tirelessly to coordinate animal care, promotion and publicity of the animals and the center, and the day-to-day business of running a center that cares for over 80 animals who have been rescued or retired to their care. Even more volunteers, like myself, give countless hours to prepare food and feed the animals, clean the animal living areas and provide enrichment for the animals to keep them engaged and happy, guide tours of the center's animals for the public and tell their stories, socialize the animals and show them love, and so much more.

I first met the animals and people of the Conservators Center when I took a tour with 100 schoolchildren. I was in awe of the volunteer tour guides who answered every child's question and introduced us to animals I recognized, like tigers and lions, and animals I had never heard of like binturongs, caracals and genets. They told us the backstory of every single animal. We learned that one of their bobcats came to them after being mistaken for an injured domestic cat and that their employees rescued a 'mutt' after driving hundreds of miles to pick up a rare New Guinea Singing Dog and discovering he was only a mutt. We met lions and tigers living in a 'mixed pride' because the founders of the center rescued the animals when another facility was shut down and, while they were unprepared to take on so many animals, they creatively found ways to make it work so that the animals could live happily and with an extraordinary quality of life.

I knew from the first day that I wanted to spend time at the Conservators Center and work with them on their mission to reconnect people with wildlife. In the past year, I've volunteered many hours on nights and weekends to help out in any way that I could. My favorite event was when students from the school for the blind visited the center. Volunteers and staff members made sure that each student learned as much as they could about the animals through their senses other than vision. We shared casts of pawprints to show the students how large the animals were. We took them on a tour and prompted the lions and wolves to rumble the earth with their roars and howls. We shared stories of the animals that brought them to life for these sweet students who could not see them.

The Conservators Center is my 'happy place.' Every chance I get to volunteer my time there is time well spent. Each tour that I drive a golf cart for a disabled person to see the animals and hear their stories brings joy to my heart. I hope to share the amazing animals and their two-legged friends who love them at the Conservators Center with as many people as I can. I hope that you'll visit them in person to learn how amazing they are but the next best thing is their website at www.conservatorscenter.org where you can learn the story of how they came into being and virtually meet some of the most amazing animals on the planet!

Review from #MyGivingStory

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first tour to the center was in 2014 with a group of summer camp kids. From the moment I set foot on the property, I knew I had found my "happy place." The experience of meeting the animals up close while hearing personal stories of each animal from tour guides is so refreshing and so different from a zoo. Seeing lions, tigers and leopards from 10 feet away was amazing and I enjoyed meeting and falling in love with binturongs, genets, singing dogs, Geoffrey's cats, jungle cats and others I was seeing for the first time. The staff and volunteers are all so committed to the animals and it shows every moment of every day. I especially love that the health, safety and emotional well-being of the animals always comes first at the Conservators Center. The staff and volunteers are so in-tune with the animals - they know what makes them happy and when something is "off" that they need to watch. I never know WHO is more excited by new items gifted by wish list donors - the animals or the humans who get to see the animals enjoy them.
My love for the center and the animals led me to begin my volunteer journey with this group in August 2014 and I am so thankful that I became involved. Every time I am at the center I learn something new and amazing from the veteran staff. Each staff member makes sure the volunteers feel appreciated and there is always something worthwhile to learn and do.
To be onsite and hear the wolves and coyote howl, the lions "oof" and the singing dogs sing is not something that can fully be explained in words - it's a feeling like no other that simply has to be experienced. The center's mission is to reconnect people with wildlife - they've done that and so much more for me. I highly recommend a visit to the center!!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Went to the Tree Toss on Jan 9th. What an experience!!! This was my second visit to the Center - the staff are so knowledgeable and helpful! And the animals!!!! What can you say about being that close to such wonderful loving animals!!!! If you haven't been there you MUST go!!! It is an experience that you won't soon forget!!! Visit, donate, volunteer!!! This is an experience like no other!!!!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The tour was terrific. The animals so well taken care by the staff. The tour guides were extremely informative. We could have spent ALL DAY! Worth my trip from Ohio!

3 Misty L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our summer camp program at TRU Teakwondo Center in Winston Salem, NC visited the Conservators Center for a field trip in the summer 2015. The kids and adults loved it! The caretakers of these animals are amazing and the animals have a wonderful environment full of love. Many of the animals here come from situations where they had nowhere else to go and the center took them in and in most cases made special accommodations to make sure the animals had a great home. It is a small environment where the caretakers are very knowledge about the animals and know their habits and personalities at a very intimate level. It was wonderful seeing animals being loved and accessible to the public so there can be knowledge passed along to others so these creatures can continue to receive the utmost care.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The animals here are amazing - a twilight tour is up close and personal. You'll learn their rescue stories and about the species and habitats and conservation. The passion in the staff and volunteers is palpable.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough about these guys & what an amazing, educational & entertaining job they do on the tightest of shoestrings. Their organization & volunteer coordination is second to none.
Kudos

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Conservators Center is an amazing place. It is clear that the staff all really care about the animals and want to educate visitors about their wonderful animals. The sound of the lions "offing" is primal and moving. I highly recommend a photo tour, but any tour is worthwhile.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Took our grandkids there and had a great time. Our guide was great, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to hear the lions communicating with each other at dusk.
Ev & Bill Wesson, Henrico, NC

6

Donor

Rating: 5

Everytime I go, my pace slows down, my heart fills with joy, and my smile broadens. I never want to leave. My daughter and I went about 5 years ago, just to witness the Xmas tree toss, and went home having adopted Bella, a glorious tiger. She caught my eye, and my heart, when she fell asleep on a tree, legs splayed around it like it was a favorite pillow. Although I don't get there as often as I would like, I am ever grateful that we have Bella. It is a thrill each time we offer her some favorite treats, or listen to the lions oofing, or watch the binturongs play, or look into the eyes of a majestic wolf. The humans who serve these beloved animals are gracious, informed, generous and loving. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and it shows. The Conservator's Center is a magical oasis amidst our sometimes frenetic lives. These four-leggeds are a treasure to behold. Give yourself the gift of spending some time there. You will not regret it!