Internship, Round 2

Classes have started and so have I! Yesterday was my first day back at Carolina Tiger Rescue since finals. A lot has happened in the short weeks since my last post.

I am so sad to report that PJ the ocelot was humanely euthanized Tuesday morning. PJ had been ill for the past few days and necropsy results showed that his I tract had been frozen for almost four days; he had not digested food in that time period. There was no indication as to the cause- no tears, no twists, nothing in his health to indicate why this may have happened. He also retained some fluid in his lungs. This marks the fourth animal passing in the sixth month I have been at Carolina Tiger Rescue. PJ was a very small ocelot who preferred activity at night to visits during the day (he was not on the public tour route). He was also one of the ocelots to receive the second structure built for my intern project. I have no strong pictures of him because he was a very elusive and very fast ocelot! Beth Lupold, one of our great volunteers, let me use this photo of PJ:

In addition, I learned that Disney the binturong was also humanely euthanized during the holiday. Disney had been suffering severe foot pad ulcers during cold weather and this season marked the third year in a row. Because little research has been conducted on binturongs, we were unable to find the cause or a proper treatment for this very painful condition. The pad sores are open wounds in the feet, and no medications were alleviating the discomfort or reducing the progression of the strange ulcers. No cause has been found, and every effort has been executed in solving the problem. In light of this fact, the only humane option was to humanely euthanize him. Because Disney was not releasable (binturongs are from Asia), these are the repercussions of having exotic animals as pets. Disney was not on the public tour route at the sanctuary, but he will be missed for his sweet face and lazy disposition. This photo also belongs to Beth:

Thank you Beth for letting me use these photos. I regret I wasn't able to spend enough time with Disney to get any photographs of him.

We are so lucky to boast longevity as part of the lifestyles of the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue. I am currently taking a Captive Animal Biology class at NC State, and although we agree that life in the wild is better than in captivity, our animals experience optimal living based on best accepted practices. We continue to mitigate any pain or suffering to the best of our ability. If you are interested in working with Carolina Tiger Rescue, please visit our website: .

On a lighter note regarding my first day back, Isabella tiger is doing great! Izzy contracted a severe bladder infection and went on a two-week food hiatus. Because we were unable to get antibiotics or medication in her other than with darts, she was not doing well. Izzy is our epileptic tiger, and also the oldest (19 years). She requires the anti-seizure medication Phenobarbital on a daily basis to control seizure episodes (though she still has them on occasion). Combined with not eating, I was not the only one concerned that she would not live through Christmas. Prior to leaving for Houston (which is why I was gone), I had a fence visit with Isabella. She wasn't eating the whole raw chicken in front of her and was more concerned with communicating with neighbor Mona, who wanted the chicken. She chuffled weakly at Mona and kept trying to get up the little rise to the fence, but was unable. When Mona walked away, Izzy emitted a very sad little sigh that immediately caused me to burst into tears. The poor thing just felt awful. However, I bugged Lauren, senior keeper, continuously throughout my absence and heard of each step Izzy took towards recovery. It started with darted antibiotics, then eating a chicken leg, then ten, and finally she is eating like she should. Yesterday we threw her chickens over the fence and she leapt into the air like a kitten to catch them. I also received some beautiful chuffles from the recovered tiger, and I can't express how happy I am to see her well. She is also more alert since the keepers reduced her Phenobarbital dose a few weeks back. Man do I love that tiger.

The highlight of yesterday was scrubbing the two-dozen tupperware containers left from the past three days due to frozen water pipes (we have lots of water on reserve during these times for that very reason, so no one went without water). Thank goodness I wore water-proof pants! It was 35 degrees out! I also worked with keeper Lenore and another volunteer cutting whole chickens into quarters for feeding and the breasts into chunks for treats and enrichment. Almost six months I've been at Carolina Tiger Rescue and yesterday was my first butcher experience! I must say, however, that the meat we give our cats is really good quality... I have seen those same cuts in my own kitchen. We are so fortunate to receive donations from the local chicken processing plant.

I can't wait to get back out on Saturday! I also can't wait to write more this weekend... there are many photos and stories I have yet to share. If you are interested in seeing even more photos, videos, or learning more about what we do, visit our Facebook page: . A new album just went up and the photos are fantastic!

Thanks for reading!