Monthly Archives: November 2020

Pumpkins Without The Spice

We Think You’re So Nice

November 19, 2020

‘Tis the season for the yearly pumpkin slaughter at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The apex predators who have found their forever home with us sharpen their claws and practice their stalking skills all year long for this moment: the moment when a host of pumpkins will meet their makers at the hands (er, paws) of these vivacious hunters!

This year, the pumpkin migration came to a halt because of course, it’s 2020. Perhaps less people put up pumpkins in celebration of Halloween this year; perhaps it’s because we are getting much less visitors than typical, or perhaps most people don’t have the spare change or desire to brave a germ-filled store just to buy a couple of pumpkins then haul them over to Eureka Springs.

Amid a flurry of balancing finances this year to ensure our animal residents are fed, given their daily meds, and comfortable in their habitats, a pumpkin shortage is not necessarily something we took into account. The pumpkins do not serve as a food source for animals, other than what few bear residents live here, but even then, they have a variety of other produce to nosh on. No, the pumpkins are simply a new form of unsuspecting prey that makes their way into the hunting grounds of the brave beasts lurking in leaf-filled habitats. They are a variety of enrichment our big cats look forward to every year, and while they might not fill any bellies, they keep our animal residents from getting the blues. Just think- if you were an apex predator denied your opportunity to use your hunting skills, you’d get pretty down too! By providing diversified opportunities for our animal residents to engage their instincts, they stay happy, rather than anxious and depressed. Happy animals are more motivated to exercise, eat, and live life to the fullest, which is all we want for the Survivors of the Trade who find their way to us.

Pumpkins are a big deal to everyone, not just the people waiting in line at coffee shops for their spiced lattes. So, we put out a quick call on our social networks: two posts total, to be exact. After only the first post, many of you reached out and offered to donate some orange prey to be hunted down! You braved the stores, you gave from your own patches, you drove more than an hour, and you delivered what to an onlooker might see as a simple gift, but actually made all the difference in the world to our animal residents. Even days later, you were coming back to that simple Facebook post, tagging your friends and asking if they had any pumpkins to spare. You formed a regular Pumpkin Task Force and hunted down the gourd goodies so efficiently that we are thankful you aren’t a big cat!

Thanks to you, the annual pumpkin migration has finally started, much to our animal residents’ delights! We will be sure to show you plenty of content in the coming weeks that capture the results of the fruits of your labor. On behalf of every animal who has found freedom and recaptured their wildness, thank you. We hope you have a happy holiday season.

Giving Tuesday 2020

Only Three Weeks Left!

November 11, 2020 

We have set a fundraising goal of $50,000, which will be used to continue our mission to #GiveFreedom to animals trapped in the Big Cat Trade.

As you know, we were  forced to temporarily close our doors during one of the busiest times of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been forced to operate at a limited-visitor capacity for safety. This year, we also happened to #GiveFreedom to twelve animals in 2020; at a cost of about $10,000 to care for a single animal, that equates to an extra $120,000 needed to care for the new rescues.

Our focus for this year’s fundraising day is #GiveFreedom. Funds donated will support both current animal residents and future rescues. What does freedom look like to an animal rescued from the Big Cat Trade, especially one that can’t be released into the wild?

To #GiveFreedom to Survivors of the Trade means providing large spaces that put grass beneath their feet and natural features, such as trees and rocks, around them.

To #GiveFreedom to Survivors of the Trade means providing items that allow them to use their natural instincts and engage all their senses: pouncing, stalking, running, sniffing, tasting, auditory, vocal, tactile.

To #GiveFreedom to Survivors of the Trade means providing medical care to keep them free from pain and sickness, allowing them to live life to its fullest.

To #GiveFreedom to Survivors of the Trade means providing a reliable, healthy diet and clean, fresh water so they never have to wonder when their next meal will be.

Finally, to #GiveFreedom to Survivors of the Trade means rescuing those who still need saving. We never know when we will get a call for help and need to step up and step in to free an animal from the Trade. Donations allow us to move at a moment’s notice to save animals and provide any immediate care they need.

Donations on Giving Tuesday, December 1,  can be made at or through social media at

For those who wish to mail checks, please send them at least a week before to:

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR, 72632

Please write “Giving Tuesday” in the “for” section of your checks.

We will be giving away a variety of prizes as we reach mini-milestones towards our Giving Tuesday goal. The prizes will be given away once we have raised certain amounts of money for the animals!:

  • $1,000 raised:  3 people will win a digital download of the animal resident of their choice
  • $5,000 raised: 3 people will win a $10 Big Cat Bucks Gift Card
  • $10,000 raised:  2 people win a “Family Fun Pack” (4 tickets, calendar, newsletter, other goodies)
  • $15,000 raised: One person will win a Big Cat Call Out
  • $20,000 raised: One person will win a private virtual tour
  • $25,000 raised: Halfway! Two people will win a paw painting and enrichment keychain/ornament
  • $30,000 raised: One person will win a paw painting
  • $35,000 raised: One person will win a paw painting
  • $40,000 raised: One person will win a paw painting and Big Cat Call Out
  • $45,000 raised: One person will win a weekday lodging stay
  • $50,000 raised: One person wins a paw painting, private virtual tour, and admission tickets

The give-aways will occur on social media and are open to anyone and everyone, no donation required.

To stay up-to-date on the Giving Tuesday fun coming up December 1, 2020, please “Like” Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge on Facebook and click “Going” to our Giving Tuesday at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge event.

For ideas on how to get involved beyond monetary support, please go to

Animal Sanctuary Appreciation Day

Celebrating True Sanctuaries Around The USA

November 4, 2020

Turpentine Creek is taking a moment to celebrate the second annual Animal Sanctuary Appreciation Day on November 6th, but only a brief moment, because you know… the animals don’t like it when we don’t get them their treats on time.

The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA), Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), and the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA), have joined together to celebrate the over 100 true sanctuaries around the US that work hard rescuing, rehabilitating, and caring for thousands of animals every single day.

It truly takes a lot of people to make sure the animals at true sanctuaries are well cared for; from animal care team members, maintenance, tour guides, educators, office team members, fundraisers, and so much more, each person is vital to the mission of a true sanctuary. Sanctuaries always prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the animals in their care. Team members work no matter the weather, rain, shine, snow, storms, the animals will always need food, water, and care. Their dedication is part of what makes true sanctuaries great.

We want to encourage everyone to join us in honoring true sanctuaries, like Turpentine Creek, on Friday, November 6. But, this day isn’t just about showing appreciation for all the hard work of true sanctuaries, but also to help educate about what a true sanctuary is and why they are so important. Being able to identify a true sanctuary from a road-side-zoo/pseudo sanctuary is important.

Celebrating Animal Sanctuary Appreciation Day is easy! The best way to celebrate is to help spread the word and educate the public about true sanctuaries! Share a social post from one of the many GFAS,  BCSA, or NAPSA members, talk to a friend about why cub petting is bad, donate to your favorite true sanctuary, create a fundraiser, say thank you via social media, support conservation education efforts, or donate enrichment items to animals!

This year, we are also hosting our annual Santa Claws Is Coming To Town Holiday Online Auction! You can celebrate Animal Sanctuary Appreciation Day by joining in on the online auction and getting your own little piece of Turpentine Creek!

Learn more about what a true sanctuary is here.

Download a copy of our true sanctuary checklist here.