We are saddened to announce the passing of Andreka Jungle Cat on Dec 3, 2018.
He was a muscular, masculine, macho kind of cat. He arrived at the Center in 2011 with his then-mate, Ezebert, after living in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Missouri. In 2016, he was moved to a “bachelor pad” away from Ezebert to accommodate some age-related health issues. He seemed to enjoy the single life and could frequently be heard expressing the typical jungle cat “WOW” vocalization, especially in harmony with the lions’ oofing. He never cared much for human attention or scent enrichment, but was always excited to be provided with a tasty treat. We will miss this handsome guy very much and are very thankful for the time we had with him.
We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Calvin the lion on Nov. 10, 2018.
Calvin lived a full, healthy life with us for his entire 14 years. Born at the park in 2004, Calvin was named for the main character in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. When he tasted food he did not like as a young cub, our Calvin made facial expressions remarkably similar to ones that the comic strip Calvin made when he was confronted with unpalatable foods like spinach.
While he often chose to engage in the company of some special humans, Calvin was extremely focused on the big cat family he lived with every day. Calvin was the low-key but effective leader of our unusual Mixed Pride of lions and tigers, including two spunky lionesses, Savik and Katrina, and his pride-mate, Wic the tiger. His mother still resides at the park, as do his siblings.
Calvin’s blonde mane suggested that he may have had relatively low testosterone levels, but that did not inhibit him from being a gently assertive and effective leader. He led his group with a firm set of expectations, and required good manners from his pride at all times. They each knew they must pay polite homage to him every time they passed nearby by tucking their chins and rubbing heads with him, even if it meant waking him up. On days when the cats felt enthusiastically affectionate, the sound of their heads clunking together was audible from a considerable distance.
It was Calvin who first attempted to rescue Wic tiger and his siblings from their swimming pool when he was convinced the young cubs would all drown. After he understood that for some reason the tigers wanted to remain in the pool, he established some ground rules that abolished the practice of swimming in cool water and then flopping down in the midst of the sunbathing lion pride.
Calvin was always the peacekeeper. He broke up fusses and banished troublemakers away from the others in a timeout when they misbehaved. He ensured that the ladies did not spend too much time admiring Hansen next door.
Calvin's unexpected loss is truly saddening. This community is one of strength and, while we cannot understand the mysterious ways of nature, we can comfort each other during times like these and be thankful that we had the opportunity to share our lives with this amazing lion.
We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our resident tiger princess, Freya, on October 18, 2018.
She was born here at the Center, along with three siblings, on August 28th, 2004. Her mother arrived pregnant as part of a placement of big cats that had been confiscated from an unfit facility in Ohio. From the beginning, Freya was the most vocal and most playful tiger of the four. She was the first to leave the birthing den at only a few days old.
While she was still quite young, she and her brother Wic were introduced to a litter of lions - Calvin, Matthai, Katrina, and Savik - Matthai moved on to his own pride but the five of them lived together for about 10 years. Unlike Wic, who still lives in Mixed Pride, Freya was a tiger through-and-through, and didn’t like the hierarchical structure that is natural to lions.
She was moved to an enclosure all to herself, and she flourished in her independence. She could often be seen playing through the fence with her next door neighbors, Ra, Kiara, Kira, and Arthur. She diligently patrolled her territory and greeted visitors and enrichment with excitement and a sweet desire for attention.
In April of 2018, she began experiencing health issues which continued to decline over the next few months. She exhibited neurological symptoms that caused her to easily lose her balance and prevented her from enjoying the enrichment that once excited her. Our animal care staff made a great effort to adapt her habitat to suit her new needs. Her platforms were lowered for easier access, she was given a set of steps to more comfortably reach her favorite hammock, enrichment was placed in such a way that it still challenged her without frustrating her, and she was continuously monitored for any signs of discomfort.
Her health continued to decline rapidly as summer changed to fall, and eventually her quality of life reached a point where our animal care team had to make a very tough decision. She always prized her ability to be fierce. She had always been athletic and strong and playful, and when that was taken away from her by this illness, she seemed to lack the fierce joy that made her who she was.
The decision was not made lightly, and was the product of constant monitoring and daily evaluations. She was special to all of us, and the Center will not be the same without her. She touched many lives and introduced so many people to her species. We know that the memories she helped create will continue on for many years, and we all take comfort in that.
Spaulding is an important part of the Conservators Center experience—he may be ‘just’ a domestic mutt, but he’s served as a companion and mentor to many of our wild canids, including Melly Dingo and Sullivan Coyote. There’s no better teacher in The Way Of The Canid than Spaulding! Though we are known for our exotic animals, Spaulding Dog was undeniably special to everyone who knew him. He always greeted staff and visitors alike with a wagging tail and sweet whine for attention. He was a friend to all of us, including the other animals, thanks to his frequent walks around the park with his human pals.
We couldn’t be more thankful that the shelter in Spaulding, Georgia incorrectly believed he was a New Guinea Singing Dog and put him in our lives. We will miss him terribly. He passed peacefully on Sept. 30, 2018, with the greatest possible care and attention until the end.
Cookie arrived at the Center years ago as a companion for Jeremiah Ring-tailed Lemur, and her in-charge, girl-power attitude certainly inspired lots of laughter among our guests. It is heartbreaking to think we will never again see her adorably wide-eyed expression or hear her delightful coo, but we will take comfort in the fact that Cookie touched the hearts, minds, and funny bones of thousands during her life. Ring-tailed lemurs are social creatures in general. Jeremiah did not come from a background where he knew how to behave as a lemur, so Cookie had to instruct him on proper lemur behavior. We will be addressing his need for a companion, but we will have to give careful consideration to making the right choice for him. It will take us some time.
We are incredibly heartbroken to announce that Luna Jungle Cat has passed away.
Luna developed a cough recently, and we took her to the vet to have that examined. Unfortunately, the vet discovered a large, invasive tumor in Luna's abdomen, among other issues. Despite the vet's best efforts, Luna passed away. Later, the vet confirmed with us that Luna had cancer.
Though she was only with us for a short while, we are happy for the time we had with her, and we are glad we have photos and videos to remember her by. She was shy and deliberate, but exhibited an adorable, delightful personality we are thankful we got to know.
Additionally, some of Luna's cancer cells will be used for cancer research as part of a larger collaborative effort to benefit both animals and humans. It's a comfort to us that, though Luna is gone, she will still positively affect the lives of many. We hope it is a comfort to you all as well.
We are saddened to announce the passing of our darling Termite Chausie. Termite had been in slow renal failure for some time; unfortunately, he took a sharp turn for the worse this week. Nonetheless, he passed away gently, comfortably, and peacefully on Sept. 27, 2017. Our only male chausie, Termite, was a friendly guy who liked people and relished attention from his caregivers. When he saw someone approaching, he would often make a typical jungle cat call that sounded like “wow.” Termite also mimicked sounds like “whoa,” “pow,” and “oh.” He was charismatic by nature and spent quite a bit of time posturing and poofing out his coat to show how big and tough he was.
Our Cole Bearcat Binturong, sadly, had been very ill with pneumonia and under treatment at NC State Vet school for the last week. (Pneumonia is not uncommon in many species during seasonal changes.) Her status was touch-and-go, but, unfortunately, on December 8, 2017, she lost her battle and passed peacefully. She fought valiantly and had a skilled team of vets; the infection, however, was too severe. Cole’s unimaginable passing leaves a huge void in our hearts. She was a resident of the Conservators Center since she was an extremely young cub, and many of us watched her grow up into the independent, strong-willed girl we knew. It is hard just to describe how beloved Cole was -- her willingness to do somersaults for guests often left a profound impression on even the most disinterested visitor, and staff and volunteers adored her teddy-bear eyes and assertive attitude.