See Lucky Run

Although Carolina Tiger Rescue strongly opposes the owning of exotic animals as pets, we do not ignore that these cats can also be a lot of fun to interact with. Because the majority of our animals come from situations where they were raised by humans, a lot of the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue are social and enjoy human-animal interaction (with a fence between them, always). This is called protected contact. A lot of zoos are switching from a method called free contact (where animals keepers work alongside animals to clean, feed, etc) to protected contact to avoid injury or worse (think of cleaning an elephant's foot, the danger of working with raptors, or being mauled by large predator... not fun). Carolina Tiger Rescue takes every precaution to ensure happy lives for both animals and volunteers. That being said, we really enjoy visiting and interacting with these cats! If you haven't visited or volunteered, you definitely should so you can See Lucky Run. Lucky is one of our largest male tigers who was rescued from a private owner during a routine traffic stop (imagine your flashlight coming to rest on a fifty pound tiger cub in the backseat of a car). He lives with Carmelita Tiger and their enclosure has a shift that sits on a small hill. I discovered on accident in my first months as an intern that Lucky is a bit of a prankster. Always being careful when changing water, I almsot came out of my skin one day when out of nowhere a giant orange tiger throws himself against the fence. Once I re-learned how to breathe, good old Lucky was stalking me in true wiggle-butt fashion. Neither aggressive nor irritated, Lucky just wanted to play Hide and Seek.


One of my favorite pastimes while working as an intern has been to hide behind one of the metal shift doors and wait for Lucky to come careening down that hill to scare me. My response is to always jump up and pretend that I am found, or to jump up and yell "Boo!" When I yell at this tiger like he is a four year old, Lucky turns and sprints back up the hill because it is his turn to be scared. This could go on forever, but usually lasts around five minutes until Lucky gets winded and plops down by the fence (which is really good,  because if a tiger is winded, I'm probably ready for an oxygen tank). Lucky never tires of planning his next mock attack. The only way to get him to change his plans is if the food truck comes around, and since that only happens once a day, we settle for entertaining him as best we can.

I got lucky with this shot! No pun intended. We were playing hide and seek and I clicked the camera just as he came full speed.