Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Backyard for Bam Bam Turpentine Creek’s grizzly gets dream home

A Backyard for Bam Bam Turpentine Creek’s grizzly gets dream home

Thursday, October 31, 2013

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Bam Bam has to curl his body up to sit in the stock tank. Small for an almost full-grown grizzly, he spans eight feet when standing on his hind legs with his arms up.

Where does a 750-pound grizzly bear swim?

In the case of Bam Bam, the resident grizzly bear at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, in a stock tank barely big enough to fit him and his bath toy, a large ball. And then it’s more of sit-and-soak than swim.

“He loves the water,” said Claire McElroy, a TC intern. “He’ll spend 80 percent of his time in it.”

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Eric Studer shows off Bam Bam’s new back yard, which has a swimming pool with a waterfall.

Bam Bam is a nearly full-grown grizzly bear who spent the first two years of his life as a domestic pet. When Turpentine Creek adopted him in November of 2009, he was living in a space barely big enough for him to turn around. Now six years old, he has lived in a double enclosure in the refuge’s compound. But on Nov. 3, he will be introduced to his new backyard, which has a swimming pool, climbing tower and slide, and the public is invited.

“I can’t wait to see him on his jungle gym,” McElroy said.

Turpentine Creek is mainly an old-folks home for tigers that were bred for pets and outgrew their owners’ ability to feed and house them. Bam Bam was adopted in Oklahoma along with two tigers, according to Eric Studer, a former board member who handles public relations. The refuge’s only grizzly (there is also a black bear), Bam Bam is the star attraction because unlike tigers, who are nocturnal, he is awake during the day.

“He’s very playful, and acclimated to people,” Studer said.

Bam Bam’s new habitat has been on the drawing board for more than a year, but was sidetracked when Turpentine Creek’s Tanya and Scott Smith were called to take in more than 30 aging tigers from a private shelter whose owner could no longer care for them. Moving the tigers two at a time took months. Housing them required a major fundraising drive to buy materials to build a whole new section of tiger habitats on the refuge, six miles south of Eureka Springs. The refuge’s original compound is now used for temporary housing until animals can be moved into large habitats with natural surfaces.

For Bam Bam’s new home, Turpentine Creek created a dedicated fund, receiving gifts from $5 to gifts from major donors, Studer said. Staff, interns and volunteers pitched in to do much of the construction, setting poles and building the climbing tower and giant slide, made from fire hoses. The pool, which has a waterfall and is almost four feet deep in the center, was built by Aquacrete of Bella Vista.

“They knocked half the price off,” Studer said. “It would have been in the $60,000 range.”

The public is invited to the grand opening of Bam Bam’s new backyard at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the refuge, on Highway 23 south. Bam Bam will be moved into his new indoor den a few days before to get used to it, Studer said, then on the big day, will be let out to explore the yard.

“I hope he will go crazy and run all over,” Studer said, “but you never know.”

Grizzly bears in captivity have a life expectancy of 25 years, Studer said, and Bam Bam has had a pretty good life so far, being fed every day and getting his fill of his favorite food, grapes. But everyone at Turpentine Creek is excited to see his world expand.

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BamBam Press Release

News ReleaseOctober 9, 2013For Immediate Release

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge to hold grand opening of all new grizzly bear habitat November 3

Bam Bam, Arkansas’ most popular grizzly bear gets new home with custom-built swimming pool

(Eureka Springs, AR) – October 9, 2013 – Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) will introduce their popular grizzly bear, Bam Bam, to his new enlarged habitat with a grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 3.

Bam Bam, a 6-year old male grizzly bear rescued by TCWR in 2009 from a private owner, has become a visitor favorite with his “hind-n-seek” antics and love of his miniature stock tank soaking pool. Thanks to private and corporate donors, Bam Bam will move from a small concrete and wire enclosure to almost a half-acre natural habitat featuring an in-ground swimming pool with a waterfall.

Bam Bam will be relocated from his current enclosure to his new indoor den in the all-new Bear Bungalow Building. His den door will be opened an 10 a.m. with a special ceremony so visitors can see Bam Bam feel grass between his paws for the first time.

“I can’t begin to tell you how excited all of us are to see Bam Bam experience his new home. His custom designed pool will be a big hit thanks to the generosity of Randy Murray and his wonderful team at Aquacrete out of Bella Vista,” said Tanya Smith, TCWR president and co-founder. “This highlights our goal of replacing all concrete enclosures with large, natural habitats where our animals can run and play for the rest of their lives,” added Smith.

All interns, staff and the refuge board of directors will be on hand for this historic achievement by Arkansas’ most popular wildlife sanctuary. The refuge opens at 9 a.m. for wildlife viewing with hourly Walking Tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trolley tours also available. Wildlife feedings start at 5 p.m.

Normal admission prices apply, $15 for adults, $10 for children 12-under, seniors, and military members. Children under 3 are free. Donations and volunteers are welcome and help pay for ongoing care of more than 130 tigers, lions, cougars, bears and other endangered wildlife making TCWR a life-long home. For refuge details, visit www.www.turpentinecreek.org or call (479) 253-5841.

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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge BackgroundFounded in 1992, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization operating one of America’s largest big cat sanctuaries. The 450-acre refuge, located 7 miles south of Eureka Springs, is home to over 130 big cats and other endangered wildlife. Open everyday, the refuge has been voted one of Arkansas’ Top 10 Destinations and is rated the #1 Attraction in Eureka Springs by TripAdvisor.com.

Additional Information Sources & Photoshttps://www.turpentinecreek.orghttps://www.facebook.com/TurpentineCreekWildlifeRefuge/photos_streamhttp://www.aquacrete.net/index2.php#/home/

Press ContactsEric Studer – ericstuder@mac.com (214) 676-3860Tanya Smith – Tanya@www.turpentinecreek.org (479) 253-3715


Oct 22 Podcast

Oct 22, 2013 – Cat of the Week – Ziggy (Tiger)

On Saturday, April 12, TCWR went to Fairview, Missouri, to rescue two adult tigers, Ziggy, a 7 year old male, and Tigger, a 9 year old female. The couple had owned the cats since they were cubs. Both tigers were purchased from the same private breeder for $500 each. Though tigers do not make pets, Ziggy and Tigger were well cared for by their previous owners. Their cage was a good size with a covered barn area for shelter, and the cats were secluded on their property. They both seem healthy and definitely well fed. The previous owners were moving and needed a new home for the tigers.

To view any of our over 150 podcasts, visit our Turpentine Creek Youtube Channel.

Spooktacular 2013

News Release 10/01/2013For Immediate Release

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge holds 18th Annual Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular on October 26

A fun-filled family event and the only opportunity for night wildlife viewing at Eureka Springs’ favorite attraction

(Eureka Springs, AR) – October 1, 2013 – Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) will hold it’s 18th annual Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular on Saturday, October 26, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Games, food, and a children’s costume contest provide a fun experience for all ages.

The main refuge compound will be open to experience the night habits of lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, and the ever-popular grizzly bear, Bam Bam. The annual Halloween party is the only time the refuge animals can be viewed in the dark of night. The refuge will offer guided hayrides throughout the evening to observe the big cats.

“This is one my favorite events of the year because the kids have so much fun and it’s the only time to view some of our animals after sunset,” said Tanya Smith, TCWR president and co-founder.

The refuge opens at 9 a.m. for wildlife viewing with hourly Walking Tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Trolley tours will also be available throughout the day and wildlife feedings start at 5 p.m. Visitors to the refuge during the day will be allowed free entry to the Spooktacular party in the evening, but must exit the refuge at 6 p.m. and re-enter with a pass at 7 p.m. to allow the staff preparation time for the party.

Normal admission prices apply, $15 for adults, $10 for children 12-under, seniors, and military members. Children under 3 are free.

Donations are welcome and used to pay ongoing care and feeding expenses for over 130 tigers, lions, cougars, bears and other endangered wildlife making TCWR a life-long home. For refuge and event details, visit www.www.turpentinecreek.org or call (479) 253-5841.

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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge BackgroundFounded in 1992, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization operating one of America’s largest big cat sanctuaries. The 450-acre refuge, located 7 miles south of Eureka Springs, is home to over 130 big cats and other endangered wildlife. Open everyday, the refuge has been voted one of Arkansas’ Top 10 Destinations and is rated the #1 Attraction in Eureka Springs by TripAdvisor.com.

Additional Information Sources & Photoshttps://www.turpentinecreek.orghttps://www.facebook.com/TurpentineCreekWildlifeRefuge/photos_stream

Press ContactsEric Studer – ericstuder@mac.com (214) 676-3860Tanya Smith – Tanya@www.turpentinecreek.org (479) 253-3715