2018 Conference at TCWR
September 27, 2018
This past Tuesday and Wednesday, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge hosted the annual Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance Conference in beautiful downtown Eureka Springs. Over two days attendees participated in 25 panels about animal care, habitat building, education, safety, and more. Representatives from sanctuaries all over the United States and supporting organizations such as Tigers in America, IFAW, Outreach for Animals, and the Human Society, came together to collaborate, share ideas, and discuss the growing need of true sanctuaries.
The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance allows true sanctuaries, like Turpentine Creek, to meet up and exchange ideas, discuss new methods of animal care, learn about different veterinary issues, find ways to work together, advocate with one voice, learn about what is happening in the field, and coordinate with each other on potential rescues. Although it is a relatively new group, having been formed in 2017, the sanctuaries have worked together in the past through organizations such as IFAW and TIA.
This year saw over 60 attendees, double the number from last year. Speakers came from all walks of life; our very own Curator, Emily McCormack, gave a presentation about habitat building and our Education team, Beckie Moore and Hannah Wherry, discussed the importance of educational programming at sanctuaries.
Overall this year’s conference was a success. After the conference was over, Turpentine Creek invited all the guests to come to tour the Refuge. They got the chance to see the animals, observe enrichment, behavioral training, learn about our custom feeding dishes, and meet our team including our interns. It was a great experience for the TCWR team and Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance visitors alike.
We would like to thank the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance for choosing Turpentine Creek to host this year’s event. It took a lot of hard work to plan and execute the event, but overall, it was an amazing educational experience. We appreciate all the businesses who assisted us in Eureka Springs. The Mayor of Eureka Springs, Butch Berry, gave the introductory speech, welcoming the attendees to the event and the city. Having the support of our community is vital to our success as a refuge and we appreciate everything they do to help us continue our mission to rescue and care for big cats in need. Without their help, we could have never crafted such a wonderful event. We look forward to attending the 2019 conference. It will take all of us and our supporters to put an end to the abuse of big cats across the US.