The Conservators Center was founded in 1999 in Mebane, NC. After volunteering and working for other wildlife oriented organizations, Douglas Evans and Mindy Stinner founded the Center as an educational non-profit dedicated to providing a specialized home for select carnivore species. In 2001 the Center relocated onto 45 acres of beautiful, forested land in Caswell County, of which only approximately 10 acres is currently developed. Over the next few years, the site grew to house three tigers and about 25 small wild cats and other small carnivores.
In 2004, the Conservators Center assisted the United States Department of Agriculture by accepting the placement of 14 lions and tigers that were part of a larger confiscation of animals living in unacceptable conditions. These animals were coming from a facility that focused on reproduction, and four of the female large cats delivered cubs not long after their arrival. The Center’s population of large cats expanded from three big cats to over 30 individuals in a matter of a few months.
Because of the decision to maintain these animals on site, the business plan of the organization was shifted to include opening the park to the public to provide enough funding to support the expanded population. With that shift, the Center opened its doors to the public in 2007 with its first guided, walking tours.
Today, the Center is home to over 80 animals, and more than 21 species; employs more than a dozen full and part-time individuals; and is a hub of volunteer activity. The park welcomes over 16,000† visitors each year from all over the state and across the country. In addition, the Center participates in collaborative educational efforts with other institutions that expand the educational impact far beyond the park’s borders.
The Conservators Center strives to provide a premiere educational experience at every level of zoological involvement from the public experience on our park tours to an industry-leading internship program for future animal husbandry professionals. Our goals encompass the development of industry best practices as well as wholistic understanding of infrastructure and care requirements for these species in captivity. The Center’s educational initiatives and programs work in tandem with our advisory relationships with other facilities across the continent and around the globe as well as at the local, state, and national levels of government.