Monthly Archives: July 2017

Bear Day Is Here

Enriching The Lives Of Our New Bear Residents

July 31, 2017

Today is National Bear Day and we have 13 special residents who are celebrating in style! Our 13 bears are getting extra special treats to celebrate a day all about them. We are also hosting a special fundraiser to help give 6 of our bears brand new, large, natural homes.

Bears are different than our other residents. Unlike our big cats, who sleep 18-20 hours a day, bears are awake and active most of the day. Bears need special habitats and extra enrichment to keep them occupied. Not only do our bears get normal enrichment like boxes, pools, and boomer balls, but we also give them fruitsicles, branches, pinatas, and scatter feed some them.

In nature bears will spend their days foraging, building day nests, digging for snacks, and some even climbing trees to take a nap. We are making sure our new habitats will allow them to perform as many natural behaviors as possible along with our extra, human made, enrichment.

But we cannot do this without you! it is going to cost us $150,000 to build the 2 new habitats. These habitats are the largest we’ve ever built and will be over 1/2 acre and 1 1/2 acres large. They are full of trees, vegetation, and we will also be building pools and benches for the bears.

Today we are hosting an online auction, live video, and other online activities to help raise money for two new large habitats, and awareness about bears in captivity.

Please visit Our Bear Habitat Page to the bear habitats now. Help us give our bears the best lives possible in captivity.

Bear Day

Bear Habitat Donation Drive

July 25, 2017

Join us on July 31, 2017, for a day to put the fun into ‘fun’draising. Help us build our newest bear residents two new habitats. These habitats will be the largest habitats ever built on property standing at over 1/2 acre and 1 1/2 acres. They will be natural habitats filled with brush, trees, berry bushes, pools, and lots of other natural enrichment to give our bears the best lives possible in captivity.

It will cost us $150,000 to build these two habitats. So far, we’ve raised $60,800 for the two habitats but we still have a long way to go. So, mark your calendars and join us on Monday, July 31st to give our bears the “Bear Necessities”.

Tiger Day

Can We Stop The Countdown?

July 24, 2017

International Tiger Day is this Saturday. Tiger Day, which is celebrated on July 29th every year, is a day set aside to help raise public awareness about the threats that are dwindling the world’s wild tiger population. These magnificent animals are on the brink of extinction and without action, they could be completely extinct in the wild by the time our children are grown.

Below is a timeline of the wild tiger population, where they were in the 1900’s to where they are today:

  • In the 1900’s, wild tiger populations were well over 100,000 but through poaching, habitat loss, trophy hunting, bone wine, “medicinal” use, and other various factors the population had been nearly decimated.
  • By the 1970’s, the population dropped to less than 4,000.
  • In 2010, populations hit an all time low at approximately 3,200 total left in the wild. Through conservation efforts in 2016, we witnessed a slight population increase up to 3,890.

Conservation efforts need to start in the wild. Captive breeding is only a small part of conservation and there are regulated captive breeding programs, such as the Species Survival Plan (SSP), that monitor breeding programs to ensure that the animals involved are of the same subspecies, are not inbred (a common issue with captively bred big cats in the exotic pet trade), and have no major genetic defects.

These efforts in captivity, however, are only secondary measures to guarantee that there will be a viable population of tigers who could be potentially introduced into the wild. But before we can even consider introducing these captive bred populations, we have to first stop the issues that have brought them to near extinction in the first place.

There are a few ways that you and your community can help end the decline of wild tiger populations:

  1. No Palm Oil – Palm oil comes from Sumatra, the destruction of the Palm forest is decreasing habitat for the Sumatran tiger along with other species like the Orangutan. The Cheyenne Zoo has created a phone app you can download to help you identify products that have Palm Oil in them. The app is called Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping.
  2. Speak Up – Let your state and Congressional Representatives know that this is an issue that you are passionate about. Poaching, hunting, and selling these beautiful animals is still a major concern. Remember, they work for you!
  3. Be a Responsible Tourist – Avoid places that breed cubs and pay-to-play schemes.
  4. Spread the Word – Don’t be quiet about your concern. Talk about the issue and help educate everyone about the plight of tigers in the wild and in captivity.

National Zookeeper Week 2017

Meet Our Team

July 18, 2017

Turpentine Creek is full of dedicated individuals who do everything from filing paperwork all the way up to animal care. The third Sunday in July is the official start of National Zookeeper Week. This week is all about celebrating the individuals who work hard to promote conservation efforts and help endangered species thrive. For National Zookeeper Week 2017 we are featuring our animal care team members and giving our supporters a chance to get to know each and every one of them. Watch the playlist below to meet all of our amazing animal care staff members.

Celebrating Our Team

National Zoo Keeper Week 2017

July 16, 2017

July 16-22 is National Zoo Keeper Week. In recognition of dedicated animal keepers, the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) members are celebrating National Zoo Keeper Week from July 16-22. As a member of the AAZK we are proud to join in a week celebrating our team’s efforts to educate the public about the plight of big cats in captivity and the need for true conservation efforts.

Although we are not a zoo, we are the caretakers of our animal residents and the educators of our human visitors. We work hard to provide everything the animals in our care need to live the best lives possible in captivity.

Our team puts in long hours in the blistering cold of winter and the blazing heat of summer because the animals need us. Animals don’t take a day off, they require fresh food and water daily. They need clean places to sleep and constant enrichment to keep their minds stimulated. We work despite the weather, muscle aches, scrapes, bruises, and blisters because we are dedicated to giving the animals in our care the best lives possible and they need us every day.

Because of this, we have planned a week full of special events for our team to show our appreciation. They deserve a week that celebrates their accomplishments, dedication, and passion. So, we’ve got something special planned for each day this week so that they know how much they mean to us.

Day 1 – Breakfast

Day 2  – Special Surprise Gift!

Day 2  – Special Surprise Gift!

Day 3 – Lunch

Day 4 – Ice Cream Social

Day 5 – Pizza Party

Day 6 – Special Surprise Gift!

Day 7 – Celebration Cake

Many of the daily event items were donated by board members or the company that provided us with the gift. We wanted to express our appreciation for the dedication and passion our team continually puts into making sure that our animals are well cared for.

We encourage our supporters to let our team know how much they appreciate what they do. You can send thank you letters to They will be presented to the team on July 21st.

Encouraging Nature

Engaging Our Animals’ Minds

July 14, 2017

We work hard to make sure our animals get the chance to be as wild as possible in captivity. That includes creating enrichment programs to encourage natural behaviors in our animals such as hunting, stalking, and ‘killing’ their enrichment toys. Watch the video to see some of these natural behaviors.

Live Video

Advancing Technology

July 7, 2017

For the past year, Turpentine Creek has been working to find a way to bring the big cats to you. No, not by loading up a lion and traveling across the country to your front doorstep, but by getting the technology to make our animals accessible from anywhere around the world. We aren’t just talking about great videos that were recorded days ago; we are talking about LIVE video of your favorite animals!

Getting live video is not an easy, or quick, process. The first step, which we took over a year ago, was to get internet access all over our property. We couldn’t just go out and sign up for a plan. We had NO cable network at the refuge, it had to be completely installed, poles were dug, electricity was run, fiber optic cables were buried, and a lot of trees were trimmed. Once that was completed we had to learn about the type of internet system we had (apparently there are different types!) and of course, make sure it worked the way we needed it to.

Beyond just getting the internet up and running, we had to find the proper equipment for live video streaming. You might have noticed the random live videos that have been accessible on Facebook over the last year. This is definitely a learning process, and a lot of trial and error has gone into getting equipment. We started out using cellphones, but the quality and abilities were not enough to do what we wanted, so we started researching technology. We are still working on this step, but we are getting VERY close to finding exactly what we need to provide our supporters with amazing live video access.

Live stream video is not available yet, but we hope in the upcoming weeks there will be more tests and soon we will be able to do prescheduled weekly live video, stream more veterinary procedures, and of course stream enrichment engagement on a more regular basis. We are starting small with only one portable streaming system, but we hope to eventually provide more access, possibly even some stationary cameras that will allow you to watch your favorite animal habitat at any time of the day.

We are dedicated to providing our supporters with the best experience possible. For once we are asking our supporters to Help Us, Help YOU. Getting live video running is not a cheap endeavor, please donate to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge so that we can get the equipment needed to purchase the stationary IP cameras, software, encoders, and other equipment needed to stream live video to you.

Click Here To Donate Now 

Watch our social media for the announcement when Live Video Streaming will be available. Coming soon!

Celebrating Your Wildlife

Wild About Wildlife Month AT TCWR

July 5, 2017

Turpentine Creek is spending the month of July celebrating Wild About Wildlife Month!

Join us for a month-long celebration filled with online contests, games, prizes, special enrichment, fun videos, and more! This event culminates with a fundraiser on July 31st to help us finish funding our two new large, natural, bear habitats!

Weekly Games and Prizes will be announced on our Facebook page

Each Contest will have 1 randomly chosen winner from all entrants. 

Week 1 Contest runs from July 1st until July 7th at 11:59 PM CST

  • Online Scavenger Hunt
  • 1. Who was the co-founder of TCWR who passed away in 2011? 2. What was the name of the SECOND lion that was rescued by the Jackson family? 3. What is our Mascot’s full name (What does TC stand for?)
  • Prize – 2 Free Tickets To TCWR

Week 2 Contest runs from July 8th until July 14th at 11:59 PM CST

  • Photo Contest
  • Send your favorite Photo (or memory) of your own ‘wildlife’ experience.
  • Prize – 1 Coozie covered coffee travel mug OR 1 TCWR Sippy Cup

Week 3 Contest runs from July 15th until July 21st at 11:59 CST


Week 4 Contest runs from July 22nd until July 28th at 11:59 CST


We will have a special 1-day contest on Saturday, July 29th for International Tiger Day


We will have a 1-day fundraising event on Monday, July 31st for International Bear Day

The Fourth of July

Celebrating Our Independence One Bite at a Time

July 4, 2017

Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? The smell of hotdogs roasting, homemade ice cream, grilling BBQ, watermelons (with a hint of salt), and strawberry shortcake — not to mention the excitement that often comes with the colorful and startling display of fireworks and sparklers in the evening. The Fourth of July is a delightful festival that commemorates our country’s independence.

At Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, the Fourth of July is also the birthday celebration of one of our smaller and most dear animals, Flip the Coatimundi. This Fourth of July will not only mark her 13th year but also 8 birthdays celebrated free from the exotic pet trade and we are very excited for her!

So, why not on this 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence, you bring your family and friends out to celebrate the independence of the animals as well?! With a picnic table and benches all around the Discovery Tour, you can bring your hotdogs, watermelons, and strawberry shortcakes!

And as you chomp down on those holiday treats, learn fun facts about the abundance of wildlife at the Refuge! For example, as you take a bite out of your juicy watermelon, know that while the average bite force of a human is 162 pounds per square inch, a tiger’s is an astonishing 1,050 psi! And later, as you watch the colorful fireworks crackling and bursting at 150 decibels, know that a lion’s roar is only 36 decibels short at 114!

There is so much fun to be had in the summer holiday season and by having it at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge you will also be supporting the fight for the independence of all the animals who have yet to be liberated from the exotic pet trade.

Wild About Wildlife Month

Celebrating Our Wildlife

July 1, 2017

We are celebrating Wildlife all month long!

Help us enrich the lives of the animals that call Turpentine Creek Home. For the month of July we are asking our supporters to donate Enrichment for our animals. Enrichment makes the lives of our animals better and helps to keep them entertained.

Donate an enrichment item now

Enrichment Toys

Or Donate money towards the Enrichment Fund now