Global Day of Impact at Carolina Tiger Rescue
When I started at ShareFile, I didn’t expect that I’d spend a workday building a road under the watchful (or was it hungry?) gaze of nearby tigers, but thanks to Citrix’s Global Day of Impact, that’s exactly how I spent last Friday. Corporate Citizenship is very important to the cultures of both ShareFile and Citrix, and to encourage community service and volunteerism, every employee is given an extra day off to volunteer in their community.
For our Global Day of Impact, we headed to Carolina Tiger Rescue, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary whose mission is saving and protecting wild cats in captivity and in the wild. Housing 14 tigers, 3 lions, and an assortment of other wildcats from ocelots to binturongs, the Rescue takes in animals from bad situations and cares for them for life. Many of the animals were used irresponsibly by their previous owners. A lion named Sebastian was part of a Haunted House in Texas, while another lion named Tarzan was used as an attraction at a hotel in Mexico. Two of the tigers, Rajah and Kaela, were found wandering a highway near Charlotte, NC.
Each of these examples highlights a big problem that Carolina Tiger Rescue is working to educate the public on, namely that many states (including ShareFile’s home state, North Carolina) have little to no regulation around the ownership of exotic wildlife as pets. Naturally most private owners are not equipped to properly care for and feed large wildcats, and as a result wildcats kept as pets often suffer from neglect and abuse. The Rescue is opposed to the use of wild animals for purposes other than education or breeding in accordance with Species Survival and Population Management Plans, and they are working towards the day when wildcats are not owned as pets or used for entertainment purposes.
As you’d imagine, it takes a lot of work to care for so many big cats, and Carolina Tiger Rescue volunteers help with things like construction, maintenance, tour guiding, and animal care. For our volunteer day, we helped lay down a road through the woods to open up vehicle access to new tiger cages that were being built at the Rescue. It was hard work shoveling clay and laying down old telephone poles, but we were happy to help the Rescue expand their facilities.
After our work was over, we enjoyed a guided tour of the Rescue, and were able to get to know some of the cats. We were usually within 4 to 5 feet of the animals, and so, unlike at most zoos, we could actually see them! It was awesome to be able to view these powerful animals up close and funny to see how friendly they were – we were usually greeted with Chewbacca-like grunts by the more sociable ones. All in all, it was a great day and I’d highly recommend volunteering or visiting Carolina Tiger Rescue if you’re ever in the area. They also accept donations of cash or needed supplies, and you can even help support their mission by adopting a tiger or other animal!