Carnivore Preservation Trust
1940 Hanks Chapel Road, Pittsboro, NC, USA
Carnivore Preservation Trust Pittsboro Reviews
Carnivore Preservation Trust (CPT) Oct 24, 2008
The return from Seattle last week was grim. The lavatories began leaking fluid and we made a u-turn a little over an hour after lifting off! Between flying back and sitting on the ground several hours while repairs were made, I missed my connection and spent Friday night in Philly. Got home around noon on Saturday and after unpacking I re-packed quickly so the family could head up to Raleigh for a friend’s birthday that evening. It was a fun night and we stayed over because the birthday girl had made reservations for us to tour one of her favorite spots the next morning.
We set out Sunday and followed Kathy to Pittsboro and a unique wildlife refuge. The Carnivore Preservation Trust, or CPT, was started around 1980 by Dr. Michael Bleyman, a geneticist at the University of North Carolina who was growing concerned that mankind was eradicating ‘keystone’ species. In the same way that a keystone is the single brick which keeps an arch from collapsing, keystone species are critical to the well-being of their ecosystems. Bleyman began with the intent of breeding large cats until they could be re-introduced into the wild, but over time the location evolved into a sanctuary for abandoned exotic pets (they stopped breeding some time ago). It was scary learning how many people buy tigers and discard them when they get big – our guide told us there were likely more privately owned tigers in Texas then roam wild in the entire world!
CPT is spread across 55 acres and houses a broad cross section from Order Carnivora. While we are familiar with carnivores denoting meat eaters, to gain entry into Order Carnivora you are only required to possess specialized teeth capable of shearing meat and tendons. Despite the vicious choppers, several species in the order live primarily on fruit. We absorbed this and a host of other fascinating facts during our two hour walking tour.
Weighing in around 700 pounds, the tiger Romeo was the highlight for the kids in our group (there are only four ‘public’ tours each weekend and group size is limited, so call ahead and make a reservation). Romeo clearly didn’t like males and ‘sprayed’ one of our gang! When the guide forewarned us about this possibility he indicated the spray isn’t “really what we think of as urine”, though I was glad not to be on the receiving end.
What we did receive was an introduction to some beautiful animals, including jaguars, ocelots, caracals, kinkajous, servals and even binturongs. Binturongs (which smell like corn chips, by the way) are a keystone for tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia because their diet consists primarily of the fruit from strangler figs. Only binturongs possess digestive enzymes capable of softening the tough seed coat of this canopy plant vital to the tropical rainforest ecosystem. So no binturongs = no strangler fruits = no canopy cover = no rain forest. Just a single tidbit from our education at this incredible facility just outside of Raleigh!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!