Monthly Archives: July 2019

The Real Lion King

Lions at TCWR

July 18, 2019

As Disney releases The Lion King on Friday, July 19th, we are shining a spotlight our lions that call Turpentine Creek a forever home. Throughout the week our 5 lions will be celebrated and have a day dedicated to them, consisting of educational programs about the species along with enrichment toy making for all of the lions in their forever home.

Across the United States and around the world lions are being kept as pets, used in roadside zoos, entertainment such as movies and circuses, and carelessly bred at cub petting facilities. Lions are the only social cat species, living in groups called prides. They have strict social structures and hierarchies consisting of a dominant male who watches over his females. Males protect their territory, while females provide all of the cub care and do most of the hunting.

By being forcefully kept in captivity, they are not able to live a natural lifestyle they deserve. Victims of the pet trade are forced to live alone, confined to small spaces, and suffer abuse and neglect due to lack of laws and regulations protecting them. The lions rescued at TCWR require extensive psychological and physical rehabilitation. They can never be released back into the wild, because they are born and bred in the United States for profit, have never been taught how to hunt, and would not survive without humans caring for them.

TCWR’s lion pair Daniel and Chloe were rescued in September 2016 from a shutdown pseudo-sanctuary in Colorado. Daniel had a severe injury to his eye and had to be amputated upon arrival, as well as a tumor on his tail removed. They were kept in small enclosures, walking on ground-up pallet boards with nails in them, had filthy living areas, and were extremely frightened of people. Now in their forever home at TCWR, they have come into their own and can be seen lounging comfortably on their bench and caroling throughout the night with our other lions Tsavo, Willy, and Savanna.

To help lions in captivity, only visit accredited zoos and sanctuaries that provide the quality of life captive animals deserve. Avoid any place that uses big cats for entertainment as well as places that let you hold baby cubs. By passing stricter laws such as the Big Cat Public Safety Act HR 1380 and the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act HR 2863, we can prevent exotic animals from suffering in the United States, and shift focus to protecting their wild counterparts.

Since the release of the original Lion King in 1994 half of the lions in the wild have disappeared. With their numbers down to 20,000, they are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. They have lost 90% of their historic range due to habitat loss and human population growth. Their main threats consist of human-lion conflict, bushmeat poaching, human encroachment, trophy hunting, and illegal poaching. With your help, we can speak out for lions in the wild and also in captivity. We hope to see you this week to celebrate our lions!

Water Is Essential

To Fulfill Our Mission

July 9, 2019

Water is one of the most essential elements to our existence. Everyone knows the old survival axiom, “Three minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food.” W.H. Auden once highlighted the necessity of accessible H20 by stating, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water…” and Leonardo da Vinci called it the “driving force of all nature.” We would say that, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of how vital water is to survival, but the fact is, even our rock-dwelling friends rely on this life-sustaining substance.

At the Refuge, where around 100 animals are housed at any given time, the topic of water remains pretty centralized in our day-to-day doings. (In case the entire first paragraph failed to give that away.) Habitats are cleaned daily, water dishes are cleaned and filled three times a day, and in the summer, pools are continuously being rinsed and refilled since many tigers take a multi-purpose approach of using them for both toilet time and playtime. The strain of distributing our water amongst our animal residents, the multitude of guests, and the team members who live on-site is part of why we have the dire need to update our well and water system.

After a hot summer morning of cleansing habitats, scrubbing food and water trays, as guests in our lodging suites shower, and as visitors use the restroom and rinse their hands before their tour, our water pressure is fairly dismal when it’s finally time to fill pools. Not only is this valuable time our animal care team could be devoted elsewhere, but it also hinders the amount of time our animal residents can enjoy their cooling enrichment. Our updated water system will allow for quicker filling in the summer and for the expedited sterilization of feeding utensils all year long.

An expanded hydration network also allows for the overall expansion of our property, which means we can construct more habitats for survivors of the Exotic Pet Trade. With anywhere from 7,000-10,000 tigers living in the U.S. and only 850 sheltered by accredited zoos and sanctuaries, there are thousands upon thousands suffering this very moment- and that’s just tigers! Lions, bears, cougars, bobcats, feline hybrids- the list of animals in desperate need of refuge continues. Our passion extends not only to our current animal residents, but also the future ones who are waiting to be touched by our mission.

Additionally, the expansion opens doors for widespread outreach. As you know, the new well and water system is the first step in the creation of our Visitor Education Center because it allows us to be flooded with more and more guests. Every dollar someone spends at our true sanctuary is a dollar that does not go to a circus, “scam-suary,” or roadside zoo. Every second someone spends observing our educational displays could be the very second that prompts them to take action against the Exotic Pet Trade. By drawing more visitors to an ethical tourism establishment, we are building a team of advocates (like you!) who will eventually wash away the Trade and the violent physical and emotional abuse animals experience at its hands.

Da Vinci was correct when he said water is the driving force of nature. What he didn’t mention is that you are the driving force of change. Our mission, your support, the creation of our new well and water system are all drops in the ocean that will end Exotic Pet Trade, and we are ready to make waves. We’ve raised over $30,000 towards our $150,000 goal. Your donation will help us continue our mission, and with a $40,000 matching donation up for grabs, your contribution to this project will go twice as far! Will you join us? Donate now at

Independence Day

Prince and Tony Rediscover Their Freedom

July 2, 2019

Independence and freedom are never in short supply at the Refuge. Here, animals rescued from a variety of undesirable situations are given a chance to regain their life or experience it as they never have before. If you take a stroll through our sanctuary you may hear the carol of lions, the splash of bears sloshing in their pools, and the “thud” of rowdy tigers taking their enrichment barrels to the ground; to us, this is the sound of freedom ringing!

It’s always exciting when an animal resident claims their first taste of liberation from the confines of whatever small space their previous owners forced them into. Bobcat brothers, Prince and Tony, were captured from the wild as kittens. They were kept as pets for the first few months of their short lives. Most of their time was spent in small crates with the occasional moment of leisure in a dog run outside the people’s home.

Last week, Prince and Tony were finally released into their outdoor habitat after spending the first few weeks of their time at the Refuge regaining their health in our veterinary hospital. The moment their paws touched the grass, it was as if they knew they were given a second chance. Though they remained aloof, as bobcats do, the pair bravely explored their new space with enthusiasm and curiosity. With each passing day, the bobcat brothers grow more and more dauntless, proudly claiming their domain as their own.

We hope you can celebrate the Fourth of July holiday by visiting Prince and Tony in their new habitat and wishing them a happy “independence day!” We are open our regular hours of 9 AM – 6 PM.

On behalf of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, we want to wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July and thank all the military men and women who have served and are currently serving our country. We are happy to offer you 50% off admission year-round!