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Sluggish Economy Complicates Caring for Homeless Animals

June 29, 2011

MEBANE, N.C. - Lions, tigers and a bad economy are prompting such organizations as the North Carolina Conservators' Center to say, "Oh my!" when it comes to finding enough funding to serve the population of wildlife in need.

The nonprofit group, located in Mebane near Chapel Hill, houses wildlife left homeless for a variety of reasons. They've seen an increase in demand as many zoos and wildlife habitats struggle to remain open. At the same time, their funding has decreased, according to co-founder and executive director Mindy Stinner.

"A lot of the places that are having a hard time now are places that serve animals or provide a service that is maybe less desperately sought, in the middle of a crisis time."

The Conservators' Center houses 90 animals of 19 species, including lions, tigers and leopards. The nonprofit Center is located on 45 acres, but currently only occupies 10 of those acres, with plans to expand once its financial situation improves.

The Conservators' Center is also open to the public for tours and educational activities. Stinner hopes the animals can serve as "ambassadors" to educate people about their natural beauty and relevance to society.

"All of them are entirely dependent on us for their care, every single day. They didn't choose to be born in captivity, so we choose to give them the best life we possibly can while they're here."

The nonprofit organization has plans to expand its educational outreach, specifically to high school and college-age students.

More information is online at

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC