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, cougars, bobcats, margay, lynx, ring-tailed lemurs, llama, and a tortoise.

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 a safe home, tremendous love, and world-class husbandry.

Our first priority is putting the animals that already call CARE home first, but we try and 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 primarily volunteer staff and the generosity of our donors is the foundation of CARE. It is because of them that our 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 be.  At that time, Heidi had worked with big cats for over 10 years. She had learned through both her good and bad experiences and developed a set of standards centered around giving the best care to big cats and upholding the proper ethics in which to run a non-profit organization that 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 that nurtures and respects the psychological well-being of our animals. Their health and happiness come 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 who got CARE to where it is today and will continue to improve CARE in the future. 

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 every dollar and to it in the most responsible way possible.

4. Representatives of CARE will not criticize other facilities or former owners and their choices. CARE was not created to pass judgment 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 prejudice. 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 learned information to programs that will offer a better 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 treatments for common diseases and issues. 

6. Education is crucial. Whether it is educating the public through social media or tours, educating interns for future careers, educating animal care professionals, or educating ourselves, we are dedicated to always learning 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 hopes 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. 

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