Monthly Archives: July 2020

Collaboration, Education, and Innovation

Taking Steps Towards A Better Future For Big Cats

July 29, 2020

Turpentine Creek is working hard to create a better life for big cats in captivity all around the US. Through advocacy, education, and innovative veterinary procedures we are working towards our ultimate goal, putting an end to big cat abuse in the US.

This past week, Turpentine Creek’s very own Vice President, Scott Smith, joined a panel of captive animal experts to talk about the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Hosted by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Blackfish Director, the panelists discussed how the Big Cat Public Safety Act could help put an end to big cat abuse in the US. Scott was there to talk about how true sanctuaries, like Turpentine Creek, handle big rescues and how the passing of the Big Cat Public Safety Act could manage the potential influx of big cats needing homes. You can watch this presentation on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s website at https://aldf.org/article/protecting-big-cats/

Our new education website is live and ready to help create the next generation of animal advocates! This week, our education website blog talks about the 10th annual International Tiger Day! Learn all about these beautiful big cats and why it is so important that we work to save them in the wild and protect them in captivity. You can learn more at www.tcwredu.org/2020/07/29/international-tiger-day-blog/

Don’t forget to join us during our paid live event this Sunday August 2nd at about 10am CST to watch as our staff Veterinarian Dr. Kellyn Sweely and animal care team gives BB King his first Chemo treatment. This treatment is groundbreaking for the sanctuary community. BB King is the first documented tiger with lingual haemangiosarcoma and the first tiger to be treated with chemo at a sanctuary. We hope that not only will we be able to save BB King’s life with this treatment but learn the best way to treat cancer in big cats with chemo so that we can save more lives in the future. For only $4.99 you can join us and witness this first treatment live online. Sign up to watch live at https://www.facebook.com/events/279639903106305/

It is only with your help that we can continue to not only rescue big cats in need but also find ways to improve their lives. Please join our mission and donate today! A monthly recurring donation of $10 can save a life! Also, don’t forget that many employers will match donations, check to see if your employer offers matching donations on our donations page!

Educating Future Generations

TCWR Launches Education Website

July 22, 2020

Turpentine Creek’s education department has been hard at work since the beginning of 2020! Not only have they been offering zoom classes, virtual day camps, and giving tours at the Refuge but they have also been working to assemble a beautiful new educational resource website!

On Wednesday we launched our new education website available to the public! This website combines all the old educational information on TCWR.org and extra educational resources for teachers or other educational organizers! The new website can still be accessed from our main website at www.tcwr.org by clicking the Education Resources tab on the menu but you can also get directly to that site by going to www.tcwredu.org.

This new resource helps make it easier for people to find relevant information, educate themselves, and learn more about the plight of big cats and bear in captivity. Our team of wildlife Interpreters, certified through the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) will be maintaining the website, posting educational blogs and articles on a regular basis, uploading educational videos, and creating lesson plans for teachers to use.

We are excited to offer this resource to our supporters and educators. With this new educational tool we are one step closer to changing the future of all big cats. With your help we can prevent future generations of big cats from being used for entertainment. We can educate generations of animal advocates and create change! Thank you for your support, donate today and help us work towards a better future for big cats.

Fight Cancer Like A Tiger

BB King’s Battle

July 15, 2020

Twelve-year-old tiger, BB King, is about to start the fight for his life! Recently, BB King was taken to the vet hospital to have a growth on his tongue removed. When our Veterinarian Dr. Kellyn had it tested we found out that it was a very rare form of cancer called Lingual haemangiosarcoma. This cancer is typically only found in dogs and domestic cats and usually on vital organs, not on the tongue.

Dr. Kellyn consulted with Kansas State University exotics faculty members Sara Gardhouse and Dr. Sam Hocker to work out a treatment plan. After extensive X-rays and ultrasounds we are confident that we caught this cancer early and it has not spread to any vital organs. With this information, BB King’s overall health, and his younger age, it was decided that he was an ideal candidate for a chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin. With this treatment, BB King will get a 30ml dose of chemo via IV once every 3 weeks for 4-6 treatments. After treatment, he should go into remission and be able to live a long, healthy life with us at Turpentine Creek.

Throughout the procedure, we will be closely monitoring BB King for any signs of discomfort or other medical issues and constantly be evaluating his status. We have temporarily moved BB King and his brother Mack down to Rescue Ridge for ease of access during treatment. BB King is very willing to participate in transportation; he easily loaded into and out of the transport cage

This 405 lb tiger seems very comfortable at the veterinary hospital and although a little cautious about our sliding squeeze door happily chuffs and greets team members throughout his hospital stay; he is a better patient than most humans who have to spend time at a hospital!

Since opening our onsite veterinary hospital in 2016 we have treated a variety of illnesses in our animals, from bad declaws, to dental issues. Having an onsite hospital has been very convenient to our mission, but BB King’s treatment is ground breaking. Without our onsite hospital and staff veterinarian, it wouldn’t be possible. Your support of our animal care and veterinary program is giving BB King a chance! Please donate to help us continue to care for all the animals and make sure they are healthy. Your support changes lives!

We will be keeping our supporters up-to-date on BB King’s treatment through Facebook, blogs, and emails. We are also going to be offering special Paid Facebook Events for our supporters so that they can be part of BB King’s treatment and care, all funds raised during the paid live events will go towards our animal care.

Building Better Habitats

Small Cat Habitat Project Update

July 8, 2020

Turpentine Creek has been working to expand and improve one of our older habitats. What was once three smaller bobcat habitats up in our Discovery Area has been combined and expanded into one very large habitat for all types of smaller cats to enjoy! 

We had been planning to make these improvements for a while, but our Covid closure gave us a great opportunity to start. The process has been slowed a bit due to weather and other building challenges, but we are quickly approaching the end of this project! 

We’ve been utilizing local natural resources to improve this habitat! Maintenance found some beautiful rocks from around our property to build natural benches and shade structures; we also found some dead logs to add so that our small cats can sharpen their claws and follow their natural instincts to mark their territory. We’ve also built plenty of other vertical platforms and natural shade structures to enhance our small cat’s lives!

This habitat isn’t just a simple combination of the old three smaller bobcat habitats, which were about 400 square feet each; we’ve also removed some cement and expanded it! It is now four and a half times that size covering 1,800 square feet of grass for the small cats to enjoy every day!

This habitat will stand for years to come, giving refuge and a safe home for many small cats that Turpentine Creek will rescue in the future: bobcats, lynx, caracals, geoffroy cats, etc. you never know what rescue is around the corner or what types of cats will need a home. We do our best to make habitats versatile so that they can be a home to any cat in need. 

Please help us continue to provide a safe refuge for survivors of the big cat and wildcat trade by setting up a recurring monthly donation today! Your monthly donation will help us to provide care, a reliable source of income, and allow us to rescue more animals! Sign up today to help us build a better foundation and future for animals in need. 

Big Cat Introductions

Luna And Remington Reunited At Last

July 1, 2020

In January, Turpentine Creek rescued Luna and Remington, two white tigers who were part of a long court battle. These two tigers, along with many others, had been used in a pay-to-play “swim with tigers” scheme in Florida. While a court battle raged, Remington, Luna, and 2 other tigers were smuggled to another facility where they lived until the 2 other tigers escaped and were killed. This finally prompted the court to give Remington and Luna to a new home, with us. 

We were told upon rescue that Luna and Remington had once lived together, because of this we decided the two could potentially be reunited, but only after Remington was neutered since we are a non-breeding facility. After rescue we carefully observed the pair, who were sharing a habitat on a daily rotation schedule. We watched them interact through a fence, which went very well, and were quickly reassured that they had the potential for introduction.

Remington enjoying a cat bath

Remington enjoying a cat bath.

Usually, we only introduce animals who have lived together in the past and were rescued together. It is very rare that two full grown tigers from separate rescues can be introduced. In the wild, these animals are very territorial. They are solitary animals and only interact when breeding or during territorial fights. In captivity, they can live in small groups since they are not competing for resources (food, water, breeding rights), but usually this is only with animals they are familiar with. Even animals that are already living in groups don’t always stay together, many times we’ve had to separate groups like Poncho and Montana or Chuff, Abigail, and Athena. Although they spent years living together they became more territorial as they grew older. 

Luna in her pool

Luna staying cool in her pool.

After Remington was neutered and completely healed, we decided to start the introduction process. At first, we allowed the pair to meet in their night house area, a smaller space where we could closely observe them and quickly separate them if necessary. During introductions we always have a few team members watching with hoses, ‘no’ bottles (vinegar/water mix), and other items that we can use to quickly distract the animals if they begin to fight. These items won’t cause harm to the animals, just startle them and redirect their attention. 

The night house introduction went well, and we soon allowed them to go into the habitat together, still observing them with team members at the ready. Remington is very interested in Luna; he approaches her often with happy chuffs. Luna is a bit more cautious, sometimes getting startled and hissing at Remington. They will sometimes slap at each other but it is nothing more than a warning for the other to back off, claws are not out and after a slap the other backs off quickly.

After only a few days we have already seen Remington and Luna taking naps together on the bench and sunning themselves close together. We will continue to observe the pair to watch for issues and feed them separate but we are very hopeful that soon we can just let the pair enjoy their habitat together in peace. 

It is thanks to your support and donations that we can rescue animals like Luna and Remington, survivors of the cub-petting industry. Your monthly recurring donation allows us to plan for the future and when rescue calls come in know that we can answer yes to saving those animals’ lives. Please set up your monthly recurring donation today, even $5 a month can save the life of a survivor of the big cat trade!