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Mission & History


The Center for Animal Research and Education’s mission is to provide a safe, permanent, and loving home to big cats and other animals in need with a focus on excellence in physical and emotional care; education; and research that will improve living conditions for captive animal populations world-wide.


The Center for Animal Research and Education (CARE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and long-term care of exotic animals as well as education and research that improve quality of life in captive populations.

Located in Bridgeport, TX, we currently provide a permanent home to over 60 animals including lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bobcats, margay, lynx, ring-tailed lemurs, llama, and a tortoise.

The animals here come from different backgrounds. Some of the animals were abandoned, abused, neglected, or exploited. Some were retired from zoos or rehomed from other facilities that could no longer care for them. They each have their unique story. Regardless of where they came from, they are all given tremendous love and world-class husbandry.

Our priority is caring for the animals that are already here, but we are always willing to give a home to animals in need whenever we can. In addition to rescue and animal care, we are passionate about improving husbandry and veterinary practices through education and research. 

We rely entirely on support from the public through donations. The tireless work of our largely volunteer staff and the generosity of our donors provide the foundation that CARE stands on. It is because of them that the animals not just survive, but thrive.

CARE does not buy, sell, trade, or breed animals nor do we allow public contact with our animals. When animals find refuge at CARE, they have a safe and loving home for life. 



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 our organization was built and continue to guide us every day.

CARE Foundations:

1. The animals come first. We organize ourselves so that we may NEVER cut corners on quality food, medical care, housing, or enrichment. We have an unwavering philosophy which nurtures and respects the psychological well-being of our animals. Their health and happiness comes before all else.

2. 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 got CARE to where it is today and they will continue to improve CARE every day. We all believe in CARE and what CARE represents.

3. 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 heroes 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.