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Volume 4, Issue 3, 07.29.2009

ROMEO (1991-2009)

Romeo tiger passed away Monday, July 13. Romeo’s health had been declining for several months as a result of a progressive neurological disease, making it increasingly difficult to control his hind legs. For his comfort, he had been removed from the tour route in his final weeks. Romeo’s condition took a marked downturn a week prior to his passing, prompting Curator of Animals, Kathryn Bertok, and Veterinarian, Dr. Angela Lassiter, to schedule him for euthanasia. Staff, Romeo’s adoptive parents, and other members of the “CPT Family” were given unlimited visitation over his last weekend to say their goodbyes to him. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his CPT family.

Loss of Romeo Press Release

Romeo’s reputation at CPT was legendary. He was rescued from a private owner in Durham when he was six months old. Romeo grew to be twelve feet long (from his nose to the tip of his tail) and was estimated at one time to weigh over 800 pounds, making him a very large tiger (even listed in blogs as one of the world’s 20 largest tigers).

June 21, 1991 - N&O "Owner ‘down and out’ after SPCA seizes his tiger cub"
June 22, 1991 - N&O "Tiger taking new digs in stride"

Romeo was a favorite on tours and was particularly notorious for spraying tour guests. His size, spraying ability, and story made him particularly memorable. purchasing the cub from a pet store in Wake Forest, his owner took Romeo to be declawed and defanged The vet reported the situation, and authorities granted custody of Romeo to the SPCA, who placed Romeo at CPT.

Romeo’s life at CPT included two mates- Mini, a tiger who passed away in 2000, and later Shalimar. His relationship with Shalimar certainly reflected his name, Romeo was always possessive and protective of his females- including volunteers and adoptive parents. Boyfriends and husbands were not especially welcome. After Shalimar died in 2007, staff could see the difference in Romeo- he began resting in the spots that had been her favorites, and for some time showed signs of missing her.

Tour guides also introduced visitors to the concept of animal “enrichment” using Romeo’s preference for Obsession perfume. “Enrichment” is any item or activity that Keepers provide to captive animals to prevent boredom and “enrich” their lives. Obsession perfume was a favorite of Romeo’s. He also enjoyed showers, and of course, treats.

Some tigers express their affection every time they see you. Others may not have a special connection with you at all, although they may show a connection with other people. Romeo seemed to express intuition with every visitor independently. Romeo was a large tiger, but his presence was much more massive. The connections that humans have with Romeo are that much stronger, because we were humbled by our awe of him, and so grateful to be acknowledged and greeted by him.

Animal Updates

Apache and Nitro
CPT's April rescues from a Kansas junkyard have adjusted well to their larger enclosure. Both tigers were examined and neutered during their transfer to the outdoor enclosure. Apache's exam went well, but Nitro reacted to the anesthesia poorly and had some trouble recovering.

From observing Nitro's behavior in quarantine, CPT staff were concerned about his vision. Nitro's new enclosure was large and unfamiliar, and his visual impairment became obvious. CPT Keepers scent-marked the enclosure's perimeter and Nitro's water tray to make it easier for him to adjust to his new surroundings. They also installed a special feeding tray so Nitro can always get his chicken from the same place, and he now has a sand path to warn him he is near the fence. Nitro now negotiates his enclosure like a pro, and is happy to greet visitors with (sometimes slightly misdirected) chuffles.

More ...


Elvis, the serval left in the CPT driveway in April, has blossomed in his new home at CPT. He has regained the muscle tone in his legs, his fur has filled in, he chats with neighbor Hobie Serval, and he has even killed a snake or two that wandered in- perfect serval therapy! Staff plan to move Elvis to the tour route soon.

Get Involved

Donate / Adoption / Sponsor

CPT's recent rescues, Apache and Nitro tigers and Elvis Serval, were in dire need of a real home. Contribute to the care of wonderful animals like these with a one-time gift to CPT, or support a CPT animal for a lifetime with a CPT adoption.

CPT adoptions enable you to form a life-long relationship with an amazing animal. Adoptive parents enjoy almost unlimited visits with their animal and will be trained to interact with them safely.

You may also sponsor one of our new rescues, and receive an 8x10 photo, a certificate of sponsorship, a biography of the animal, and a species fact sheet.

Wishlist- Paper Towels and Soap

CPT is running low on paper towels and Dawn dishwashing soap. Please consider donating one of these items during your next visit.

New Volunteers

CPT relies on the efforts of volunteers to care for our many animals. CPT wants to welcome our newest volunteers!

Ashleigh Jones
Deborah Shoffner
Jessica Lantham
Mark Delves
Betty Coelho
Michael Coelho
Dewang Bhavsar
James Gunipero
Shraddha Ishwad
Rebecca Lewis
Jenna Calendar
Lisa Wallace

Rachel Tove-White
Ashley Brown
Lois Douglass
J Evarts
Annaliese Haftman
Marci Johnson
Cheryl Lee
Elizabeth Lyons
Jessica Redman
Jessica Tinfo
Jordan Veal
Patrick Welch

Current Events

Saturday, August 22nd
Teen Enrichment Day
Saturday, September 12th
Kid's Enrichment Day

Tuesday, September 15th
What's Fur Dinner?
Eat out and help feed a tiger! Visit any participating restaurant that day and a percentage of the proceeds from your meal will be donated to care for the majestic wild cats of CPT.

New Members - Welcome!
The Moncada-Gross Family
The Herman-Giddens Family
Nathaly Infante
The Madigan Family
The DeGraff Family
Joan Allison
The Naughton Family
Stanley Rydzewski
Katie Shrieves
The Schmaltz Family
The Boulden Family
Karie Morgan
Leah Heaney
The Rodier Family
Teng-Ye Ng
William Lee
Mary Murphy
Wilson Lee
The Prabucki-Wilson Family
Shama Dunlow
The Malloy Family
Jenna Strickland
Jess Dove
Sharon Goell
Sharon Halperin
Rebecca Kozitza
The Cespedes Family
The Shugart Family
The Haydock Family
The Bruzas Family

About Memberships

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