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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

74 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.

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!

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

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

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

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

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family attended the tree toss after Christmas. I wasn't sure what to expect, and was unprepared for the incredible experience. The staff and volunteers were extremely knowledgeable and truly loved the animals. The habitats were well maintained and the animals looked to be well taken care of. To be so close and be able to watch the joy the trees and presents brought to the animals was unlike any other experience. I highly recommend this center to people to visit and donate to. One visit and you're hooked! We will be attending again this year!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We visited the Conservatory Center this summer. We did the treats and toys tour which was the best! The animals are well cared for and the care takers work hard to keep all the animals happy. They have an adoption program where you can adopt an animal of your choice and even visit your adopted animal. All employees were very courteous and informative.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had never heard of the conservators center, but I had a coupon, so I figured why not? I'm so very pleased we went! It was easily one of the most amazing experiences my family has ever had. Being able to interact with the animals and see them in such a natural way was just an absolute blessing. It's really an incredible place.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I visited the center on Sunday, March 29th for probably the 8th time or so. I brought two friends who wanted to know about this place I always talk about. Our tour guide Mandy was great. I had never met her before and really enjoyed her Toys & Treats tour. I love this center. It's definitely my "Happy Place" and now I am a Lifetime Adopter so it's an even happier place for me! It is not problem to drive the 2.5 hours from Fort Mill, SC, and I plan to bring more friends there soon.

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to the center 4 times and I never tire of the tours, the enthusiasm and dedication of the staff and volunteers and the experience of seeing these beautiful animals. I loved it so much that I adopted one of the lions. This is a dream come true for me as I have always loved big cats. I highly recommend this as a lovely day trip for anyone who has a love for animals. You will always remember this experience!

3 Cindi4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to visit the Conservators' Center twice as a guest - the first time with 100 elementary school children on a field trip and the second time on a photo safari tour. Both times I was treated to a wonderful experience with tour guides who truly cared about the animals they are entrusted with and the guests to the center. Our tour guide for the elementary students was able to answer every single question the students posed - and anyone with young children knows they come up with questions that can be quite challenging! Our field trip tour was one our students still talk about months afterwards. My photo tour almost can't be described (by me anyway) because it was so amazing. My tour guide knew exactly when and where to take me to get the most wonderful photos of the animals. He was able to get wolves to howl and Lions to call to each other - giving me amazing photo memories that I treasure.

1 Linda66

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is a wonderful place!! All of the animals are so loved and the staff are caring and loving individuals who really love the animals. I tell everyone I know about this wonderful place. It is not every day you can up close to a lion or tiger. Here they are right in front of you and are so beautiful. The most interesting animals to me are the Binturongs ( or bear cats). They are so cool. They smell like corn chips and take other animals as pets. :)

Linda Cohen :)

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I have visited there several times over the years and find it a remarkable place. I teach at a junior college and every new class I show my students the Converservator Center website. The animals are genuinely loved and it shows. I highly recommend going there for a wonderful experience. I love the zoo but to see a lion you have to use your binoculors. Here they are a few feet away. But not to worry. The staff are very professional and know how to handle the animals and things there are very safe. -- Linda Cohen :)

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I went on three (3) different tours (Adult Adventure, Treats & Toys and Adult Twilight) at the Conservators' Center this past summer (2014) when my daughter, Courtney, was working a 6 weeks Summer internship there between her Junior & Senior years of college. It's like nothing you've ever seen or heard before. Definitely something you have to experience yourself to truly know what it feels like to meet & learn about an animal you never knew existed, to be only a few feet from a tiger when he stands up on his hind legs for a treat, turning a corner & coming face to face with the wolves for the first time or hearing the lions oofing to one another. Hearing the stories of how all of these beautiful creatures came to be at the Conservators' Center will both make you laugh & break your heart. You'll never look at a picture of someone holding a tiger cub with envy because you'll think about Arthur Tiger and his life before coming to the Conservators' Center. The love & dedication of each person involved in caring for these animals is evident in everything they do 24/7 365 days a year. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable. The Visitors Center staff are friendly & helpful. The keepers, interns & volunteers are insane - working long hot & cold hours to ensure the needs of every animal are met daily. The animals are happy, engaged & healthy living in a place where they are loved. My daughter continues to work at the Conservators' Center as an Animal Care volunteer because being there makes her happy. I'm happy being there too. We're both looking forward to the upcoming Pumpkin Prowl & Tree Toss tours!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Conservators Center is an amazing place. You can see the love for the animals and everything that is done to keep them healthy and happy. We have visited several times and have more trips planned. It is great to see that these animals will be able to live out their lives in comfort and love. The center is also a great education on not just the animals they house but on animal trafficking and profiting off of animals. It always warms my heart to visit with the animals and to hear the amazing stories.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an amazing operation. The care, dedication, and passion that this place has for these rescued animals is evident throughout. The staff clearly loves what they do and their relationship with the animals is wonderful. You are able to have a very personal, up close experience that is also very safe. We enjoyed this wonderful and unique place and are so very grateful for how they care for these beautiful animals.