Monthly Archives: April 2015

Annual Arkansas 500 motorcycle charity run raises money for Turpentine Creek


It was a perfect weekend for exploring the Ozarks on a bike, and that’s just what 50+ people did April 10-13. They were taking part in the 4th annual Arkansas 500 charity ride, organized each year by Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Vice-President Scott Smith to help raise funds for the big cat preserve.

The Arkansas 500 is a Dual Sport Motorcycle ride (not race) that spans three days and travels over 500 miles of back roads in the Natural State. “Arkansas offers the most diverse sites and experiences for dual sport riders in the Midwest,” says Smith, “including beautiful wooded forest, large hill climbs, incredible water crossings and more back roads that can be ridden in 10 years!”

“We all ride dual sport bikes, which are street legal but also suited for off-road riding,” Smith says. “That way you can explore back-country dirt roads, gravel roads and jeep trails. It’s a whole different experience than highway riding.”

Riders camp each night at a different location — Lake Fort Smith State Park Campground and Buffalo Point State Park Campground – and lunches are catered.

“There are dozens of vistas never seen by the rider who sticks to the main highways,” says Smith. “We do ride street legal dirt bikes, but we try to stay off the pavement. It’s a great way to enjoy nature and simply riding.”

Smith rides an XR650L Honda but says a wide range of bikes participated in the weekend. “We had everything from a Yamaha 250 to a BMW GS 1200,” he said.

What makes Arkansas a go-to destination for dual sports riding, says Smith, is the widely varied landscape – hundreds of miles through forests, along rivers, all accessible through back roads most people never ride.

His favorite route in the state is from Turpentine Creek to a town Oark, 90 miles to the south, passing through places like Pettigrew, St. Paul, and Red Star.

“There are many many ways to get from Point A to Point B,” Smith says. “You can go a different route every time. It’s great.”

“Dual sport riding offers you an experience you will rarely find on the paved roads, and the lack of traffic makes the ride much safer than otherwise,” Smith says. “We bring in everything we need and take it out with us, from food to gas to fixing your own bike if you get a flat.”

Throughout the year Smith rides the Ozark Mountains searching, exploring, and hunting for the best roads for riding dual sport bikes. “A lot of us choose to communicate through online forums, while others find ride buddies during their adventures,” he says. “Either way, we all want one thing — an awesome, adventurous ride in the mountains.”


“Cats at the Castle” fundraiser April 18!!


“Cats at the Castle” ​

Dinner and Fundraiser in Support of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, April 18, 2015

At Castle Rogue’s Manor, located on AR Highway 187 in Beaver, Arkansas  (5 miles north of historic Eureka Springs, AR)

Please join the Turpentine Creek Board of Directors and Turpentine Creek Staff members at Castle Rogue’s Manor for a special fund raising event celebrating the Big Cats of Turpentine Creek.

There will be breathtaking scenic views, fine dining, and a wide variety of unique artwork and other items available for auction.

Social Hour and Silent Auction begins at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.

Live Auction begins after dinner.

Tickets are $110.00 per person.  When ordering, please specify choice of menu option – prime rib or vegetarian lasagna.

Don’t miss this opportunity to feast at the most unique Castle in the country where you will create memories that will last a life time.  All proceeds from this event will benefit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

Tickets may be ordered by going to

For additional information, please email

Vaccinations, pain management all part of big cat maintenance


When’s the last time you gave a tiger a shot? For Emily McCormack and other staff and interns at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, the answer was just last week.

“All the animals here receive inoculations once a year and rabies shots every three years,” says McCormack, who is curator at TCWR. “They are subject to the same diseases any cat might be, including feline rhinotracheitis, calici and panleukopenia viruses. The medication we use, Fel-o-Vax, covers those things.”

Vaccinating the animals is not the most fun task in the world. “You have to use a pole syringe to inject them,” McCormack says. “It’s the same gear we use to sedate them when we have to do a rescue and have to tranquilize the cat to move it, although with the inoculations we use a much smaller needle because it’s only a 1 cc shot.”

Nonetheless, she says, the tigers do not like being stuck. “You have to sneak up on them,” she says. “It’s probably like a bee sting would be to us, but some of them get very indignant.”

As a way to avoid the big cats associating the pain of the injection with any one person, everybody rotates giving shots.

“Everybody has a favorite cat, so we do allow you to opt out of sticking your favorite,” McCormack says. “We want them to trust us, and typically the next time you’re around, after you’ve given one a shot, they shoot you a look, but usually after that, all is forgiven.”

Beyond simple vaccinations, the exotic population of TCWR receive continual medical attention from the staff and a local veterinarian.

“We keep an eye on them closely,” McCormack says. Antibiotics are used as needed for infections and other appropriate problems, and as the cat population ages, managing for pain becomes an issue.

“Over 50 of our cats are on a geriatric pain management plan,” she says. “We consult with our vet to decide which animals get what for arthritis. Because many of them are declawed, they develop arthritis in their spines when older. Many take 4-8 pills a day for their issues.”

These medications include anti-inflammatories for pain and neutraceuticals, products that range from isolated nutrients to dietary supplements and herbal products. Because many of the cats growing up were fed nutritionally poor or inappropriate diets, these latter items are added to their diets now for issues such as bone density.

“The goal is to keep them healthy and comfortable, which is part of giving them a home here,” says McCormack. “We do everything we can.”

“The inoculations alone are $20-30 per cat,” McCormack says. “And the other medications vary widely in price for over 100 exotic big cats and animals. It isn’t cheap to pay their vet bill.”

To donate toward medical expenses of our big cats, you can adopt or sponsor a cat today here:

Adoptions & Sponsorships

Fifth Annual Cats at the Castle April 18


Cats at the Castle is an annual fund raiser put on by Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Board of Directors to help raise money for its more than 100 tigers, lions, and bears. This dinner and art auction takes place at Rogue’s Manor Castle at Beaver, Arkansas, just seven miles north of Eureka Springs. “We are fortunate to live in a community with such a rich population of artists in every possible medium,” says TCWR Vice-President Scott Smith. “And they are generous people who contribute to Turpentine Creek through donating their art to our cause, which is much appreciated.” TCWR also provides a program where the artist can donate and receive up to 60% of the auctioned item’s sale back to the artist, which creates a win/win for everyone. Guests to the event can enjoy not only the breathtaking scenic views from the castle, but fine dining with beer and wine as well. Tickets are $110 each and limited to the first 100 paid reservations. “Not too often do you get the opportunity to feast at the most unique castle in the country,” Smith said. “And when you bid at the auctions – we are doing both a silent and live one – you are directly benefitting over 100 lions, tigers, and bears who need your help to survive.” Suggested attire is business casual all the way to fancy. Social hour will start at 6:30 p.m. and dinner will follow at 7:30. Diners may choose between the “Tiger” option (prime rib) and the “Bear (vegetarian lasagna). To reserve a seat for the Cats at the Castle banquet and auction, go to You can also email tigers@turpentinecreek for the most current details. Rogue’s Manor Castle is located 13 minutes north of Eureka Springs on Hwy 187 left off Hwy 23 North. To check out the view at Rogue’s Manor Castle, go to their website at




Compound Kitty of the Week


Duke is our Compound Kitty of the week. As you know, only a handful of our bit cats still live in the old compound area right behind the gift shop, awaiting the time when they get their own grassy habitat areas. Duke is one.

Duke was part of the big Mountainburg rescue that took place late in 2012. He is 17 years old and tends to grumble a lot and otherwise be very talkative.

As one person put it, “Duke was not the happiest kitty in the world when he first got here, but as he’s gotten to know us, he has had one of the most improved attitudes of any tiger since he arrived.”

If you would like to contribute toward building new habitat areas, here is the link: