Monthly Archives: March 2019

NWA Gives Countdown

One Week To Go!

March 28, 2019

Northwest Arkansas Gives Day is only one week away! Thursday, April 4, from 8 AM – 8 PM will be a day full of felines and online “FUN”draising for our animal residents.

Floyd has become our spokes-cat for this campaign, partially because he takes a dashing picture but mainly because of his story. He was part of a six-tiger rescue we conducted in early January. All were suffering from obesity and genetic health issues; one tiger, Diesel, was diagnosed with a pre-existing case of feline infectious anemia and could not be saved despite the best efforts of our team.

Floyd and his friends were survivors of the cub petting industry. Once they surpassed the legal age to be handled, they were set to be destroyed, but the facility we obtained them from took them in before their fate was sealed. When that facility was set to close, we were contacted to provide a home for the displaced tigers.

Floyd was previously diagnosed with Metabolic Bone Disease and physical deformities in his limbs. The first several weeks of his time at the Refuge, he sought solace in his den and only emerged to provide hissy admonishment to those who were caring for him. He was scared. He was in pain. He was lost.

Aside from the quick implementation of pain management for Floyd, the process of making him comfortable largely consisted of giving him space and allowing him to ease into Refuge life at his own pace. For the first time, he had no job duties or expectations- he was simply allowed to be a tiger, and it made a world of difference.

Floyd’s personality has since blossomed and allowed us to truly get to know him. He enjoys sunning himself in the grass, napping under his log, and is especially fond of cedar tree enrichment. When he lets out one of his deep, “electronic” sounding chuffs, his eyes get huge and his forehead skyrockets upward. He has even been spotted rolling on his back- the ultimate sign of trust and peace for a large carnivore whose bellies are a vulnerable spot.

TCWR’s work not only centers around providing a lifetime, high-quality sanctuary for survivors of the Exotic Pet Trade, but also educating the public so they can help us advocate for laws to promote a safer, healthier future for big cats in captivity and eventually end the Trade. Your donation on NWA Gives Day will allow us to care for our current animal residents, the majority of whom mimic Floyd’s need for specialized care (medications, diets, and routine exams), while working towards a tomorrow where others are not abused and exploited in the name of profit.

We are asking all of our supporters to donate at least $1 between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM on Thursday, April 4, to help us reach our goal of $21,000. We will be doing giveaways and fun live videos on our social media pages as we celebrate saving lives.

For more information about NWA Gives Day please visit:

ON April 4th you can donate on the NWA Gives page – to count towards the bonus dollars that are available – or you can donate through our Facebook page, Donation Page, over the phone, or in the mail.

First Day Of Spring

Un‘bear‘able Fun At TCWR

March 20, 2019

Today marks the first official day of Spring in the Ozarks, and our bear residents are slowly awakening from their winter sleep! While cold weather made them drowsy, we haven’t been seeing much of them on warm days because they still have their winter coats, which means they get hot easily. Large bears, like our grizzly, Bam Bam, and Russian Brown Bear, Huggy, have been hiding out from the “heat” while smaller black bears, Holli, Lolli, Xena, and Koda G., have been more tolerant of it.

The creation of our new bear habitats, which officially opened in late October, has given us the exciting opportunity to see how our bear residents might behave in a more natural environment. Bears born in captivity, like those mentioned above, have been in or out based on their size and coat thickness. Popper, a black bear who grew up in the wild, has been behaving a bit differently, as predicted.

Unlike the other bears who were introduced to the new habitat, Popper quickly set to work crafting a nest for the winter, where she has spent most of her time. She has emerged on nice days to sun herself or relax in the shade but later retreated to her nest. Though her behavior almost completely mirrors that of an independent wild bear, she is not too good to occasionally accept goodies from our animal care team.

As winter departs and the greenery that comes with spring returns, we are excited to observe how the bears who reside in this habitat behave, especially Popper! She has already demonstrated an ability to forage for food, and we are curious to see if her habitat mates catch on (though we will continue to provide everyone with food whether they do or not).

You can visit our new bear enclosures by taking an exclusive tour. We can’t wait for you to enjoy this beautiful weather with us!

Spring Break

Feline Fun at Turpentine Creek

March 12, 2018

Planning your pre-summer vacation can be stressful, but including TCWR in your travel plans is a choice that won’t “Spring Break” your heart! As an ethical tourism destination, you can feel good knowing that your visit to the Refuge is making a difference in the lives of Exotic Pet Trade survivors…while being just plain fun! In addition to normal tours (our trolley is also up and running again!), we have plenty of other feline-fantastic ways to spend a day or two getting to know our animal residents while taking in quality time with the humans you love:

  • March 23rd, attend our 29th Annual “Art With An Altitude” Kite Festival! This event is free, family-friendly and full of “high-flying fun.”
  • Consider spending part of your spring break volunteering to help at the refuge, it is a great way to give back and have fun!
  • Our Education Department is offering age-inclusive programs and activities! Click here to see the full schedule and descriptions.
  • Even if you miss out in March, it’s never too early to book your Summer/Fall stay in one of our lodging accommodations.
  • Stay after the 4 PM tour to see our Behavioral Management Program, which provides extra enrichment for our animal residents by engaging them in an activity that is physically and mentally enticing while also allowing us to do routine medical check-ups and address certain health issues from outside the fence without having to use sedation.

Our big cats love the springtime! New scents, warmer weather, and plenty of puddles to play in. Spring also means that our bears are starting to come out of their ‘long winter’s nap’ and get more active. This is the ‘purrfect’ season to plan a visit to Turpentine Creek.

Remember: most of our animal residents feel frisky in the Springtime, but on hot days, it’s usually best to visit first thing in the morning or later in the evening when the weather is cooler. Since they can’t ditch their fur coats, heat can make them lethargic and seek the cool comfort of their dens.

We hope your visit to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge leaves you with some wonderful memories and a little spring in your step! Spending a day at Turpentine Creek is a fun way to help the animal residents. Plan your spring break visit to TCWR today! And if you cannot make it for a visit this year, please consider donating the cost of entry to help the animals. 

University of Texas students opted to spend their spring break at TCWR volunteering. This is called ‘alternative spring break’ and a great way to give back while having fun!

NWA Gives 2019

Mark your calendars! Less than a month until NWA Gives!

March 6, 2019

There’s nothing better than a “FUN”raiser that doesn’t even require you to leave your house!

NWA Gives day is quickly approaching on April 4, 2019, and we hope you are as excited as we are! This online day of giving lasts from 8 AM – 8 PM, but we’ll be kicking it off a few days early with contests and giveaways right up until the final hour. And the best news of all, you don’t have to live in NWA to participate! NWA Gives is about supporting your favorite Northwest Arkansas non-profit!

Just like a regular fundraiser, you can donate to support your favorite animal residents, mingle with like-minded individuals, and take advantage of all the entertaining celebratory perks…except there’s no dress code! (Though if you want to don your favorite animal-print the day-of, we think it’d be paw-some!)

This year, we’ve set the ambitious goal of raising $21,000. Every dollar changes the life of an Exotic Pet Trade Survivor:

  • $7 can provide a week’s worth of daily vitamins, minerals, omegas and other nutraceuticals for a single animal
  • $25 can provide a diagnostic test to investigate a worrisome wound, skin imperfection, or possible blood toxin for a single animal
  • $50 can vaccinate an animal for an entire year
  • $75 can provided sedation and anesthesia for a single animal
  • $150 can provide a wellness physical exam for a single animal
  • $170 can provide a Toy Tire for animal enrichment

We hope you will join us April 4 on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages where we will be hosting contests and giveaways (prizes include paw-paintings, Big Cat Bucks gift cards, and more!), as well as updating you on our progress towards our goal.

For all the ways to get involved, please visit:

Donate Now To Help Us Help Them and mark your calendars to join us on April 4th!