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Mission & History

OUR MISSION

The Center for Animal Research and Education’s mission is to provide for a safe, permanent and loving home to exotic animals in  need. CARE focuses on excellence in physical and emotional care, advocating animal welfare through education, and conducting minimally-invasive research that will improve living conditions for captive animal populations world-wide.

WHO WE ARE...

The Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to education, research, rescue, and long-term care for exotic animals. Located in Bridgeport, TX, CARE currently provides a permanent home to over 50 animals including mountain lions, African lions, tigers, black and spotted leopards, bobcats, ring-tailed lemurs, llamas, and a coati.

The animals at CARE have come from a wide variety of places. Some of the animals were bred to be exotic pets or used for entertainment. Others were retired from zoos or taken in from other facilities that could no longer care for them. They each have their unique story, but regardless of where they came from, they are all given tremendous love and world-class husbandry here at CARE.

While caring for the animals already here is our first priority, we always are open to take in animals in need whenever we can. In addition to rescue and animal care, we are dedicated to advocating animal welfare through education, and conducting minimally-invasive research with the aims of improving living conditions for captive animal populations world-wide.

CARE relies entirely on support from the public, no funding is received from any government agency. The tireless devotion of our largely volunteer staff to the welfare of these animals is the foundation on which the center was built. It is the organization’s volunteers and donors who hold the hope and promise for the future of the magnificent creatures that depend on CARE not just to survive, but to thrive.

OUR HISTORY

In the early 2000’s, Executive Director and Founder, Heidi Berry-Krahn and many dedicated supporters had a dream of what CARE would become.  They were very passionate about the foundation that CARE would stand on. At that time, Heidi had worked with big cats for over 10 years. She had learned through her experiences, both good and bad, and maintained a set of beliefs which centered around giving the best of care to big cats and upholding the proper ethics in which to run a non-profit organization people would be proud to be a part of. The following are CARE’s core beliefs that are the foundation on which organization was built and continue to guide us every day.

CARE believes:

  • The animals come first.  We organize ourselves so that we may NEVER skimp on food, medical care, housing, or enrichment.  We also hold an unwavering philosophy which nurtures and respects the psychological well-being of all facility residents. Their health and happiness comes before all else.
  • Our organization should be filled with people who share the same passion for providing the best home possible for the animals.  Our volunteers, staff, and interns are the people are who got CARE where it is today and will continue to improve CARE every day.  We all believe in CARE and what CARE represents.
  • Every donation is a gift. No matter what amount is given, every cent is important and valued and those who choose to give are our heros and have our utmost respect. We will do our best to stretch ever dollar and to use those gifts in the most responsible way possible.
  • Representatives of CARE will not criticize other facilities/owners and their choices. CARE was not created to pass judgement or enforce regulations on others, we are here to provide a safe and loving home to animals that need one. Whenever possible, we will give a home to those animals without question or judgement. We also know that our way is not the only way, and we respect the differences in other animal facilities as long as they are not abusive or negligent in their care.
  • We have a responsibility to contribute information and energy to programs that will offer a better present and future for animals at CARE, other facilities, and in the wild. This includes participating in studies and partnering with research organizations to search for causes and cures to common diseases and ailments. Our research methods are minimally invasive, and will never cause serious harm to the animals we are dedicated to caring for. Most techniques are observational, or we collect genetic material and data while animals are sedated for routine veterinary procedures, from shed whiskers, or post-mortem examination at the end of an animals' life.
  • Education is crucial. Whether it is educating the public through social media or tours, educating interns, educating animal care professionals, or educating ourselves, we are dedicated to always learning, sharing, and growing. We want to share what we know, and what we are still learning. We want to share the amazing stories of the animals we love, in the hope that others will love them too and want to protect them and others like them. We may not have all the answers but we will never stop asking the questions that matter. We are here to share our passion with others.  

ALWAYS remember CARE is for ALL – all animals that need us, and all people who want to be a part of what we do.