Carolina Tiger Rescue, formerly the Carnivore Preservation Trust, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild.

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Carmelita Tiger


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Carmelita arrived at Carolina Tiger Rescue (then CPT) as a very young cub. Carolina Tiger Rescue 's most faithful volunteers can even recount stories of her early years in the company of roommies Tex and Jellybean tigers. In 2002, the Detroit Zoo contacted Carolina Tiger Rescue about finding a companion for their own rescue, a male tiger named Lucky.

So Carmelita left her home to join Lucky at the Belle Isle Zoo in Michigan, where they lived for several years. When the Belle Isle Zoo was closed, Carmelita and Lucky were transferred to the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoo contacted Carolina Tiger Rescue again in the fall of 2006, and Carolina Tiger Rescue was only too happy to plan for Carmelita's return along with her new beau.

Carmelita and Lucky arrived on March 7, 2007. Unlike her cautious companion, Carmelita was comfortable from the second her travel cage was opened. She immediately set about a perimeter inspection of her new enclosure, and staff and volunteers agreed that she recognized her former home.

Videos of the Arrival from Detroit

Carmelita's Release Fast / Slow
Perimeter Patrol Fast / Slow
Making herself at home Fast / Slow
Taking a stroll Fast / Slow
Room with a View Fast / Slow

In Carolina Tiger Rescue's long history, it was certainly a joy to be able to welcome a familiar friend home.

Carmelita at Carolina Tiger Rescue as a cub

Carmelita arrived with a cancerous mass on her left arm. In Detroit, she had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. The recommended treatment was to amputate the limb. Due to a tigerís physiology removing a fore limb can be very difficult for them to recover from. Even with removal the prognoses is normally between six months and a year. After discussing her prognosis with Detroit, the decision was made to leave the leg intact and let her live the rest of her life at Carolina Tiger Rescue.

Six years later, after spending many years in apparent good condition and no remarkable changes to the tumor, Carmelita began to go down hill. The vets arrived Sunday morning and knocked her down so that we could get a look at her leg. Unfortunately the tissue in that leg had started to break down which was an expected occurrence with this cancer. The decision was made to euthanize her. Dr. Mothershead found other signs of cancer in her body though the largest area of concern was her leg.

Carmelita gave us an incredible six years of life to spend with her. Her antics and warm personality were certainly appreciated by our family and visitors alike. I know that I was always watching for any signs of the cancer progressing and was always amazed at how wonderful she looked. Dr. Lassiter and I had just remarked at how well she was doing just a few weeks ago. But we also knew that things would progress quickly. She will be missed by everyone, including Jelly Bean who was very excited to have her near by for the past few weeks

Carmelita's Memorial Photo Album

Tribute by Kathryn Bertok.

Photo/s courtesy of Kathryn Bertok, ©Carolina Tiger Rescue