Home away from home: Caring for the wild at Conservators Center

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- One might expect to see lions and tigers roaring and playing in the wild but you might be surprised to find them in Burlington.

"We have two founders who actually started other facilities and they had such a love of animals and they had their own ideas on how the animals should be raised and taken care of that they decided to start their own facility," said Sean Haley, a volunteer at the Conservators Center.

It's a labor of love for volunteers at the center but it is not without its challenges.

"Most of our animals are geriatric, with geriatric meaning they are on the further end of their age scale", said Haley. "They almost all are living past their natural life cycle in the wild and so they all require special needs and special care. We have a couple of vets; NC State is real helpful with us on that. We have a couple of vets that are local that will come out and help us on need."

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The Conservators Center's mission is to educate the public about animals and their habitat.

According to Haley, that habitat is an ever-changing world for both us and the animals.

"A lot of people say the animals should be in the wild, the hard thing now is where is the wild?" Haley added. "There's not so much of it anymore. Man is encroaching upon their natural habitat, so it's really hard to look at a map and say, 'Yeah this is still wild' because it's not anymore."
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