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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Baroness Caracal


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Just like people, each cat has her or his own character and personality, some seeming more friendly and others a bit shy or even grouchy. Baroness definitely belonged to the group of cats that tend to avoid contact with human visitors; while she sometimes enjoyed enrichment "toys", she didn't come up to see people all that often.

With some persistence though, it was possible to break through. Through regular visits, I was able to establish a relationship wherein she would come when I called her name, although on occasion I would have to talk to her for a while before she would emerge from the tall grass or her comfy den box. Offering her some lean beef treats was the way I won her trust, even though she would first give me a hiss or two to indicate that she was in charge. It didn't make her less attractive; on the contrary, she showed that she really wasn't tame, true to her origins as a wild-caught animal that was brought to Carolina Tiger Rescue in its earlier days when the facility was still attempting to help preserve the species through captive breeding.

In her later years, Baroness wasn't able to groom herself well and clumps of matted hair gathered on her back where she couldn't reach well. One even ended up looking like an extra tail. They didn't hurt her and were only shaved off when she was anesthetized for her yearly vet visits. They looked odd, though, and I used to show a photo of them to tour guests until she sometimes felt comfortable enough to come up to the fence during a tour to show them in person.

In other respects, Baroness was a real beauty. Her tufted ears, with a small "tag" on the right one, were very pretty and she had the most gorgeous eyes. Baroness passed away on 18 October as a result of kidney failure and I will truly miss my visits with this unique caracal.

Tribute by Maria de Bruyn.

Photo/s courtesy of Maria de Bruyn and Amanda Byrne, ©Carolina Tiger Rescue