On October 20th, IXL volunteers gathered at the Carolina Tiger Rescue for a wild day of helping with trail maintenance. The Carolina Tiger Rescue provides a forever home to big cats and other exotic animals who were kept in poor conditions and would not be able to survive in the wild. IXLers were eager to assist the sanctuary, and, to their delight, the day started with a behind-the-scenes tour.
During the tour, the IXL group learned a lot about the CTR’s work and the unfortunate circumstances that make it necessary. After hearing of the mistreatment these animals received as illegal pets or in roadside zoos, they were inspired by the care CTR took to give them a better life. “I was blown away by the compassion and dedication of the staff and volunteers,” said IXL teacher membership specialist Susan White. Susan was impressed by how the staff provides the animals with enrichment items like splash pools or swinging toys. “Little things like that, and the fact that the staff avoids touching the animals, demonstrate the respect and reverence that they have for these wild animals.”
The tour was also full of delightful moments. IXLers got a glimpse of massive Rajah Tiger, who was an impressive sight to behold. Carolina Tiger playfully pounced on her enclosure-mate India. And Anthony Leopard’s goofy antics, like batting a giant purple ball, warmed everyone’s hearts on that chilly fall morning.
After the tour, the volunteers got to work. To feed their animals, CTR caretakers regularly drive an ATV on a narrow wooded trail; IXL volunteers were tasked with trimming back the plants that were creeping onto the path. IXLers clipped thorny stems, sawed through branches, and cleared out debris. Even as the rain picked up, they were glad to contribute to the sanctuary’s goal of providing excellent care for their animals.
In fact, many of the volunteers have continued to think about how they can help tigers and other big cats. As Susan put it, “It felt satisfying to not only be able to help that morning, but also to have little and big ways to continue to be part of CTR’s mission—whether it’s avoiding palm oil products, which lead to clear-cutting of rain forests, or sponsoring a CTR animal financially. I cannot wait to go back!”
By Lauren McGarry, Curriculum Designer