TCWR is a non-profit organization, and relies on generous donations from supporters like YOU! No amount is too small.
Turpentine offers onsite lodging:
A brief documentary about the people and wildlife at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and its history of providing lifetime sanctuary to hundreds of exotic animals.
by: Charles Ragsdell, II
Your membership not only helps support the health and well-being of the animals, but allows you to come visit them all year round.
Sponsorship of an animal provides them with the veterinary care, enclosure renovations, and enrichment for the animal of your choice.
I am delighted to report that on March 8, we successfully completed relocating 28 big cats to their new home at TCWR in 128 days, thanks to your donations and support. One of the biggest rescue operations in our 20+-year history started October 29, 2012 when I received a call from Crawford County Sheriff, Ron Brown requesting our expert advise. On November 1st, the TCWR team made their first visit to the (Riverglen Tiger Sanctuary) site in Mountainburg Arkansas to prepare a plan to help Betty Young, the 72 -year-old owner of 30 tigers, 2 cougars and 2 leopards. Betty explained, due to her failing health, she could no longer properly care for the big cats. All the RTS animals were geriatric, the youngest being 14 years old. In fact, two of the animals passed away at RTS due to old age before they could be relocated.
After our first visit to RTS, we knew immediate action was required. We quickly moved many of our Big Cats around to create immediate space for some RTS animals to alleviate some of Betty’s pressure to care for so many cats by herself. Four cats were moved to another licensed facility. Next we created a 4.2-acre compound in a lower pasture, now referred to as “Rescue Ridge.” Preparation of the area required a massive clean up before it could be completely enclosed by an 8-foot tall perimeter fence. Then we built twenty 20’ X 50’ enclosures to accommodate the majority of the new animals.
All the new mouths to feed, water, and clean up after have forced us to make some real changes. TCWR hired additional temporary labor and recruited volunteers to help the clearing and construction effort. We also hired more interns for general daily animal care. TCWR is now home to 18 students for the 2013 spring/summer intern group. Nine are previous interns and nine new students started February 1st.
Unfortunately, our grizzly bear, BamBam, took a back seat due to the RTS rescue initiative. Our original plan to start building BamBam’s new habitat in early November had to be delayed after Sheriff Brown’s phone call. Our team is excited to now focus their attention on creating the new Grizzly Bear enclosure BamBam deserves, which we hope to open this spring or early summer. Keep watching our Facebook and website blogs for details.
Our goal is to not only save abused and neglected wildlife, but to also provide for all their needs for a longer and happier life. We believe all animals need large natural enclosures to run, exercise and play. Most of the RTS cats can now stretch their legs, but we still have twenty-eight cats in the main compound that do not have that luxury. We need your help to continuing developing the 459 acres available for the animals to enjoy. Sponsor a habitat today. Thanks for all you do!
In 1978, the Jackson Family acquired their first lion, Bum, while living in NE Texas. Tanya Jackson Smith, current president of TCWR, was only 11 years old at the time. In 1982, they acquired another lion, named Sheila. Although it wasn't easy taking care of the two lions in their backyard, the Jackson family was successful. Bum and Shelia moved from their home in Hope, Arkansas, to Eureka Springs when the Refuge was first started in 1992. They remained at the Refuge for their entire life.
In December of 1991, Katherine Gordon Twiss, a breeder and black market dealer, showed up on the Jackson's doorstep with 42 big cats crammed into three cattle trailers. She was on the run from the law in Texas and desperately needed to find a home for the cats. A friend of the Jackson family lived on a ranch in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and offered temporary refuge for the cats. Later the property was bought for a permanent home. The 42 big cats were moved to the nearly 500 acre ranch near Eureka Springs, which later became what today is Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The labor intensive job of quickly building temporary cages for the 42 big cats was completed. Twiss was impossible to get along with and moved all her 70 cats and 30 horses that she had picked up from around the country and brought them to the refuge.