Big Cat Sanctuary of Bridgeport, Texas | Center for Animal Research and Education

by CountrySunshine

CARE, the non-profit Center for Animal Research and Education, provides a safe and comfortable home to lions, leopards, tigers and mountain lions.

A few miles south of Bridgeport, Texas is “CARE”, the Center for Animal Research & Education.

Set on 20 acres, CARE is home to tigers, lions, leopards, and mountain lions. It is a safe habitat for big cats who have been abandoned and abused, and a place where they can grow old in dignity and comfort.

All photos by L.C. Clifton / Country Sunshine, who retains the copyright.

About CARE

Entrance sign to Big Cat Sanctuary

The Center for Animal Research & Education was founded in 2002 by Center Director Heidi Berry.  After seeing so many sick, neglected and abandoned big cats, she felt a need not only to save them, but to educate the public.

CARE is a non-profit facility that looks to interns, volunteers and animal lovers to keep it running.  It is funded by corporate sponsors, adoption and sponsorship programs, fund-raising events, tours, and private donations.

Do you like big cats?

Which is your favorite?

The Big Cats

CARE is home to a variety of big cats.  It currently houses a snow leopard, several mountain lions (cougars), black and spotted leopards, African lions, and 32 tigers.  All of these big cats were formerly held in captivity  and are unable to live in the wild.

Lounging tiger
Lounging tiger
Mountain Lion
Mountain Lion
Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard

Cat Food

Cow legs | Food for big cats









Unlike other sanctuaries that feed ground meat and grains to their big cats, CARE feeds their animals whole animals.   The majority of these animals are donated livestock from area ranchers.  These donated cows and horses are either old, sick, or injured.  No livestock that can be cured are accepted by CARE.  

The big cats are also fed deer, which is a special treat.  Many local hunters donate their kills during deer season. 

When no other meat is available, CARE purchases frozen chicken parts from area supermarkets.

The Lemurs

Lemurs at CARE

 Two lemurs at Center for Animal Research and Education Center










In December of 2011, CARE was asked to take over the care of adult lemurs.  Lemurs are small primates that are native to Madagascar.   They have long, ringed tails, and feed on fruits and berries.  After several months at CARE, much to the surprise of the staff, all the adult females born children!  There are now 10 lemurs at CARE, and are quite a delight with which to interact!

Tours of CARE

Feeding a chicken leg to a white tiger

In order to raise money for the care of the animals, and also to educate the public about the big cats, CARE offers tours of the facility.  Tours are available Monday through Friday by appointment.  On the weekends, tours are available between the hours of 11:00 am and 5:00 pm, and start on the hour. Call 940-683-5034 to set up your tour.

For adults, the minimum donation is $15.00.  For children, the donation is $10.00.  Children must be at least 7 years of age or older.  Younger children must have pre-approval by the Center to visit.

One of the fun things to do on a tour is feed chicken to the tigers.  You may also get a chance to play tug-of-war!

Safari Dinners

For a special occasion, family gathering, or business meeting, CARE will arrange a special dinner for you and up to 7 guests.  Before the meal, your group will receive a VIP tour of the grounds & facilities, in addition to an outdoor wine tasting.  

As dusk approaches, you’ll enjoy a 4 star, candlelit meal on the grounds of the facility, accompanied by the roars and night calls of the big cats as the moon rises. 

How To Help CARE

Adopt A Big Cat or Lemur

Help the Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) by "adopting" one of these big cats, or even a lemur! For a monthly donation of $100.00 for a big cat, or $50.00 for a lemur, you get:

  1. An 8 x 10 framed, color photo of your cat or lemur
  2. The chance to visit your cat/lemur anytime CARE is open
  3. A plush big cat or lemur

Your gift is 100% tax deductible, so not only will you be helping the animals, but you'll get a tax break as well!

Sponsor A Big Cat or Lemur

If the adoption price is a bit steep for your wallet, you can sponsor one of the big cats or lemurs. There are 3 options for sponsorship:

  1. Big Cat Stripes, for $50.00 a month
  2. Big Cat Spots for $25.00 a month
  3. Lemur Sponsorship for $25.00 per month

For these sponsorships you'll receive:

  • A 5x7 framed, color photo
  • The opportunity to visit your big cat or lemur 4 times a year, by appointment
  • A listing on the profile page of your big cat or lemur

 Like the adoption, your donation is 100% tax deductible. Everyone wins!

Donate to CARE

If you'd like to make a one-time donation to help with the animals of CARE, you can give funds by PayPal or by check.  There are 3 funds that need your help!

  1. The General Operating Fund.  The money in this fund helps with the general operating expenses, such as utilities, heating, housing, veterinary care, education and research
  2. The Veterinary Fund.  This fund covers all aspects of medical care for the big cats and lemurs.  Vaccinations, medications, deworming and surgery are all quite expensive, so any money you can spare is a great help!
  3. The Habitat Fund.  All of the housing at CARE is in need of upgrading.  Money is needed to purchase building materials and to pay contractors for construction.

When you make a donation, you can specify which fund you'd like your donation to go to.  If you prefer, just write a note with your donation to have the funds go where they are needed the most!

All donations are 100% tax deductible! 

Learn More!

For Information on Donations, Sponsorships, Adoptions, and Tours, visit the following:
  • Center for Animal Research and Education (Care)
    Official website for the Center of Animal Research & Education (CARE). Adopt a big cat, become a sponsor or intern, or just donate to help a great cause!
  • CARE on FaceBook
    The official FaceBook page for CARE
  • C.A.R.E.'s Pinterest Page
    Fun photos of the animals at CARE
  • Faux Paws
    Flip flops made with fake animal fur. Portions of proceeds are donated to CARE and other animal advocates groups.

More Views From CARE


Copyright 2012-2015. L.C. Clifton / Country Sunshine.
All Rights Reserved.
Originally published December 10, 2012 on Zujava.


Updated: 05/05/2015, CountrySunshine
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CountrySunshine on 05/06/2015

It is a wonderful place to visit. The staff are so caring, and it's obvious they take good care of their "cats". I am grateful that so many people in my community support this organization!

AngelaJohnson on 05/06/2015

I admire people and organizations who care for animals that normally would have had to be destroyed. And places like this help educate people about wildlife.

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