Monthly Archives: February 2016

New Tours for 2016

Take a walk on the wild side and reserve your spot today for one of our special tours! This year we have decided to expand our special weekend tours. Love the animals at Turpentine, want to see more? Join us for a Carnivore Caravan Tour and see areas usually restricted to our visitors!

zeus-9664Do you love Photography? Soon, you will be able to reserve your spot for a Fine Feline Photo Tour and be able to take as many pictures of our animals as you can in 2 hours!

Want to learn more about what we do, why we do it, and get the chance to talk to our Curator/Assistant Curator, join us for a Coffee with the Curator tour.

These tours are only available on select days and cost extra but they are well worth it! To check for availability of tours click here! All the proceeds from these tours goes to help our animals!

Coffee With The Curator – $150 Per Person Limit 5 –  The opportunity of a life time for you and up to 4 friends! Sit down with our animal Curator or Assistant Curator for coffee, muffins, and to talk about the history of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Take a behind the scenes tour to see the animals in their spacious habitats, see the animals at Rescue Ridge – an area usually restricted to visitors –, and see what it takes to care for our animals on a day to day basis. This personally guided tour will last approximately one hour and give you a truly unique perspective on the refuge, the animals who reside here, and the caretakers.

Carnivore Caravan Tour – $100 Per Person Limit 5 – You and up to 4 friends can go on a personal tour of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge! Get a behind the scenes look at Turpentine Creek while being escorted by one of our Senior Animal Care Staff members. See all the animals in the habitat areas, see where we prep all the animals’ food, get a close-up view of our vet hospital, and take a tour of Rescue Ridge –an area usually restricted to visitors! Learn more about all the animals that live at Turpentine Creek and what we do here. This personally guided tour will last approximately one hour and give you a truly unique perspective on the lives of the animals who reside at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.BB_King_Mack-2243

*Coming Soon* – Fine Feline Photo Tour – $300 Per Person Limit 2 – Love photography? Love big cats and bears? We want to invite serious photographers to take a walk on the wild side and capture our big cats and bear on film. The only way to keep a big cat forever is through the lens of your camera and we are offering you the opportunity to take a guided photo tour around our big cats and bears. For up to two hours you and your photography friend will be escorted around our refuge to capture photos of our beautiful animals. FOR SERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHERS ONLY MUST BE 18+ YEARS OR OLDER.

Visit our website today to book your special tour! Tours are only available on select Saturdays and Sundays. Limited spots available for each tour, book now to reserve your spot before they fill up!

To reserve your spot click here!


Habitat Rebuilds

Habitat Rebuilds and Construction at TCWR

February 20, 2016

Changes are happening at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge! We’ve made so much progress over the last few months, updating and upgrading our habitats. Recently, we began tearing down our oldest two habitats for complete rebuild! We were so happy when they were built so long ago, but we’ve learned a LOT about building habitats since then, so they just had to go!

The landscape looks different without those two habitats, but don’t worry we are putting new ones up where they used to be. The big cats will have plenty of space to run and play when they are done.

For those of you who have not visited in a few months, Turpentine Creek will look like a whole new refuge. Since October, we have crashed the compound, built new habitats, repainted the majority of the habitats, and now we are rebuilding the two habitats at the furthest point of the tour loop. This is just the beginning of the improvements being made at Turpentine, keep watching for updates on improvements, builds, and changes coming to Turpentine as the year progresses!


Enrichment Donations

Enrichment Donations

February 19, 2016


Enrichment Donation from Washington Regional Walker Heart Institute and the University of Arkansas Recycling Center.

Enrichment is a wonderful way to improve the lives of the animals living at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The enrichment that we employ at Turpentine Creek is geared to stimulate multiple senses for our animal residents. Thanks to generous donations – both monetary and objects –  we are able to give our animals enrichment often.

Recently, we received a large donation from Washington Regional Walker Heart Institute and the University of Arkansas Recycling Center. They donated numerous cardboard tubes and boxes to give to our animal residents. We utilize these donations by adding scents, spices, and non-toxic paints. Sometimes we give the animals regular tubes and boxes, other times we use the tubes and boxes to create cardboard ‘prey’ for our animals to ‘hunt’. Either way the animals at TCWR love the enrichment items that we give them.

Washington Regional Walker Heart Institute holds a special place in the hearts of our founding family. Many members of the founding family have had to spend time at Washington Regional Walker Heart Institute. It was during one of the stays at the facility that Miranda Smith, daughter of Tanya Smith and Scott Smith, noticed all the cardboard being discarded by the facility. Miranda approached the staff and told them about our mission at TCWR. They were excited to help our animals out and ever since have donated on a regular basis to help our animals.

We have many supporters who donate items that we can use for enrichment, including: Christmas trees, pumpkins, boxes, tubes, bags, spices, burlap, cedar chips, and more. The animals and staff are grateful for these donations. You can help too by saving and donating your own boxes and cardboard tubes!


TCWR is Number 1 Family Attraction In Arkansas

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Ranked #1 Family Attraction in Arkansas

February 12, 2016

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is honored to be listed as Arkansas’ #1 Family Attraction on FlipKey’s – a Tripadvisor Company- 2016 Top Family Attraction’s list. Through customer feedback, online ranking, and travel research FlipKey found the top family attractions in all 50 states. This is the third year that FlipKey has released a top 50 travel list and it is part of a “best of” series that they are releasing.

Lodging-59842“You want a vacation that will be memorable, fun, will provide hours of entertainment and gigabytes of photographs. We’ve searched through every state in the U.S. to find the 50 top family attractions worth traveling for,” the blog post stated.

All of the staff at TCWR is excited that we made the list this year. With all the changes and improvements that we are planning, over the next few months, we know that not only will we meet the expectations of our visitors but we plan to exceed those expectations and make every trip to TCWR a fun, educational, and unique experience.

Click here to read more about FlipKey’s top 50 list on their website. 

TC February Shirt

T.C. February Shirt Design, Now Available

February 9, 2016

Oh, No! T.C. has been hit by cupid’s arrow and has fallen in love with the new interns! Take a peak at T.C.’s new shirt on our online store. Just watch out for cupid’s arrow, T.C. is easy to fall in love with.

Each month a new shirt design will be available for a limited time. Collect them all and help the animals at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. All profits from T.C.’s shirt sales go to helping take care of animal residence at TCWR.

All our online t-shirt designs come in a variety of sizes and colors so customize T.C.’s shirt just the way you like it and help spread the word about Turpentine Creek and what we do!

The January T-shirt will only be available until closing time on February 10th, so if you forgot to order that shirt you need to get it now before it is gone for good!

Thank you everyone for supporting Turpentine Creek. The animals need you!

Click here to purchase your shirt now and show your support of Turpentine Creek!

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Spring Interns

Changing of the guard – New Spring Interns

February 8, 2016

Over the past 6-months, we have seen many changes at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The Fall 2015 interns saw a compound crashed, participated in a day of “Final Freedom”, felt the sorrow of the passing of beloved animals, watched the inception of animal target training, and tested a new animal care taking routine. Last week, we welcomed a new group of interns to Turpentine Creek, and at the end of this week we will say goodbye to a large portion of the ‘old’ interns.

16SpringInterns-1223The Turpentine Creek internship program runs on a biannual cycle. In the spring and fall, new enters come to Turpentine Creek to learn and gain experience working with the dangerous exotic animals that we care for.

Since the internship program began, over 400 – nearly 500 – post-graduates have successfully completed an internship at TCWR. TCWR past interns now work all over the country with the majority currently working in their chosen fields. We have past interns working from New York to California. Many of our interns heard about the internship program from past interns. We are training and influencing a generation of animal caretakers in the United States. We teach them not only how to take care of exotic animals, but how to do it safely.

The interns do not just learn about the animals here, they learn about themselves, and create lasting bonds with the staff and fellow interns. They become friends, family even. Six-months might seem like a very long time, but it is here and gone in the blink of an eye. Every six-months we must say goodbye to good friends and welcome new friends.

This spring we are excited to have nine new interns for the Spring 2016 internship, they are: Jennifer Aguilar, Jessica Arnold, Siria Cruz, Alyssa Henke, Carly Hepburn, Kelly Hurlbut, Allison OíDonnell, Amy Row, and Anna Stumpf.

16SpringInterns-1425Sometimes, we get a little extra time with our interns. Many interns choose to stay for a second, third, or even forth internship. These individuals gain additional experience and assist in passing on the knowledge that they have gained over the past 6, 12, or 18 months. It is through their guidance that our internship program continues to improve.

Some of the interns that chose to stay for a second internship are: Nikki Adams, Nicole Barney, Lanie Dishong, Shelby Handley, Jacqueline Kimmel, Isaac Kuhn, and Susannah Manning-Osborn.

Meghan Lahm has chosen to stay and participate in her fourth internship!

We know that this group will see some big changes happen at TCWR, and we are excited to see how they will assist in making these changes happen smoothly and successfully.

Rescue Report: Bobby Bobcat

Rescue Report: Bobby Bobcat

February 4, 2016

Our newest rescue, Bobby Bobcat, is finally beginning to settle in here at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The 17-year-old Bobcat is blind, but in good health for his age.


Bobby Bobcat Peaking out of his new den at TCWR

Bobby comes to us from Ohio. Recently, Ohio changed their laws to prohibit the ownership of dangerous animals without a special permit. Bobby was one of many animals that were willingly relinquished to state officials upon the law passing in 2012. Some Bobcat owners have argued against the law since it did not officially list Bobcats as restricted animals, although it did list all their lynx cousins. The courts have ruled, for now, that bobcats can be kept as pets.

Bobby’s owners relinquished him to Ohio officials when they decided to move. We know very little about his living conditions prior to the Ohio authorities taking possession of him, although we were informed that he lived in a 10×10 enclosure in someone’s backyard and at one time, another bobcat shared his enclosure.

Bobby is an intact male bobcat that has all his claws. The Ohio Veterinarian did a full checkup and even trimmed his claws before they let us take over his care, although they did not give Bobby his vaccinations so we will have to take him to visit our vet soon.

Bobby is blind, although he appears to see something, possibly shadows. When we took over his care, he was 22lbs and his tests came back normal for an animal his age. He was quarantined in the Ohio facility so we were able to move him directly into a habitat after he recovered from the 14hr drive to Turpentine Creek.

Bobby will be sharing Bowden’s habitat, alternating days that each animal uses the grassy space, once he has settled in. Bobby is currently spending time getting to know his night house and new den. The den is heated so the older bobcat will not need to worry about cold Arkansas nights.

Bobby is a wonderful addition to the Turpentine Creek family. We know that with time he will grow confident and comfortable in our presence and soon he will be exploring and enjoying his new habitat.