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.
The Conservator's Center is a bit off the beaten path but well worth the visit. Some friends and I went to see the "tree toss", where old Christmas trees are put in the cages for the animals to play with. What a great place! Every animal has a story and the volunteers talk about them as if they were their children. The highlight was when the lions began to "talk" to each other across the compound. Their roars sounded like we were in a stadium listening to loud speakers. Absolutely awesome! I'm looking forward to another visit in the summer.