Monthly Archives: December 2020

Finishing Off 2020 Strong

Ending The Year On The Right Paw

December 31, 2020

The longest year of many of our lives, 2020, is finally coming to an end. This year has been filled with the ‘highest highs’ and the ‘lowest lows’. We have saved the lives of 12 animals, but have also had to say goodbye to many of our long-term residents and let them pass on to the next life. We have had to make adjustments for COVID, but have seen our supporters rally behind our cause in so many ways. This year, we count our blessings, one of which is YOU!

We’ve changed, adapted, and came out stronger than ever before! We made amazing progress on the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which made it through the US House of Representatives with a 2/3 ‘yes’ vote! We’ve seen long time animal abusers put in jail, cub-petting facilities shut down, and so much more this year! Awareness of the plight of exploited big cats has become a national sensation and a ‘hot button’ topic for many people.

So much has changed in 2020, many of those changes are positive. We cannot wait to see what 2021 will hold for our big cats and Turpentine Creek! We are hopeful that next year will be filled with hope and more progress towards protecting big cats, putting an end to private ownership of big cats, and hands-on interaction with big cats.

One small blessing that we count is that this year, within the COVID relief bill, was a special stipulation to help encourage charitable giving! If you typically take standard deductions (over itemized) you can now claim up to $300 per person in charitable giving on top of the standard deductions! By supporting your favorite nonprofit in 2020 you will be given a little extra when it comes time to file taxes! If you do itemize your deductions, the bill allows you to deduct contributions of up to 100% of your 2020 Adjusted Gross Income! And corporate donations limits have been increased from 10% to 25%! We hope these small incentives can help you while you help us get through our slowest season of the year!

We also have a $1 for $1 matching donation available for end of year giving for up to $50,000! From now until January 1st, all donations made up to $50,000 will be matched! Make your donation go even further by donating now! 

If you are wanting to make a 2020 qualified tax donation you must either do an online donation by midnight tonight (12/31/2020) or have a check put in the mail before the day is over!

Your donation of even $10 will help us continue to care for the 88 big cats, bears, and other animals that call Turpentine Creek home. Winter is our slowest season, after an already slow year. We appreciate your support and hope that together we can end 2020 strong!

Christmas At TCWR

Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas

December 25, 2020

Reminder: We are closed on Christmas Day to allow our team time to enjoy the holiday together.

This year, Christmas might look a little different than we are all used to. Instead of spending the day surrounded by extended family and friends, we are all Zooming and enjoying small household celebrations. Even at Turpentine Creek, our team is celebrating differently; we still are closed for Christmas Day, but instead of a large party, we enjoyed a fun Zoom holiday get-together a few days ago. Our team will not be gathering together this year on Christmas day. It will be a day of rest, reflection, and fun video calls to family.

Our cats will be all snug in their dens, visions of peppermint-scented boxes dancing in their heads. Our team spent some time feeding the animals this morning and making sure that they had plenty of fresh water. Team members will also periodically check on them throughout the day. Caring for big cats is a 365/366 day a year job; even when we close to the public for Christmas, we take a little time to care for the animal residents.

We want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has given Turpentine Creek gifts this year, from Boomer Ball enrichment, boxes, perfume, and pumpkins, to monetary donations and grants; your support this year has helped Turpentine Creek continue its mission throughout this global pandemic.

After all the gifts have been unwrapped, food eaten, and wrapping paper cleaned up, we hope that you will consider giving one additional gift to Turpentine Creek. A small gift of $10 will help us carry our mission into 2021: a year of hope and new adventures!

Also, for those who are local, if you had a live tree this year, please consider donating it to Turpentine Creek after you have removed all the decorations. The animals LOVE destroying Christmas Trees! It must be a real tree, all decorations removed, and you cannot have used tensile on it.

Thank you for getting us through a year that has been truly like no other. While we might be aware of what’s going on in the world, thanks to you, our animal residents have no idea. All they know is they are loved, happy, and fed. For us, that’s the best present we could ask for.

Winter Wonderland At TCWR

First Snowfall Of The Year

December 16, 2020

Turpentine Creek is currently a winter wonderland for both our big cats and people! The beautiful Ozark Mountains got between 3 ½ and 6 inches of snowfall on Sunday! The snow blanketed the Refuge, giving the big cats a bunch of fluffy, white natural enrichment to enjoy for a few days. In the past, Turpentine Creek has gotten feet of snow at a time, but over the past five years we have been sorely lacking in snow. Each year we have gotten only a dusting that has melted in hours, but this first snowfall of the year covered the ground and has stuck around for days afterward.

Tigers love the cold, they tend to be the most active in the cooler months. This snow day was particularly enjoyable to them since not only did they have a nice cool day but also fluffy white snow falling from the sky and collecting on the ground. Many of our tigers romped, played, jumped, pounced, and stalked in the snow for days! Some tigers were extra feisty chasing habitat mates through snow piles. Our white tigers got a little extra camouflage for a few days and took the opportunity to stalk team members.

Although the snow slowed down our human tasks, we enjoyed taking a little extra time to watch the animals play in the snow. It was a sight to behold and a wonderful feeling to see the animals having so much fun.

Winter is typically our slowest time of the year, even though it is the most active time for tigers. Because the snow made our tour path impassable, we had to suspend tours for two days. Please consider donating the price of an adult admission of $25 to help us make up for the lack of visitor income for those two snow days.

S. 2561 – The Big Cat Public Safety Act

Your Phone Call Will Save Lives

December 9, 2020


A week ago, the Big Cat Public Safety Act passed on the U.S. House Floor with an overwhelming majority of 272 yes votes! Although this is the farthest this bill has ever gotten, we still have a long way to go and only ONE week to do so! With your help, we could still get this bill passed before the 116th session of congress ends on January 3, 2021.

The U.S. Senate’s last day in session is December 18th and the Big Cat Public Safety Act S. 2561 is sitting in the Environment and Public Works committee. If we can get the committee chair Senator Barrasso to “hotline” the bill, it could still go to a vote before the 18th! We already have 36 co-sponsors for this bill and projections show that if it can go for a vote, it is very likely to pass as a bipartisan bill!

We are asking all of our supporters to reach out to their Senators and ask them to be Co-Sponsors on the bill. If your Senator is on the Environment and Public Works committee we are asking them to not only Co-Sponsor this bill but to also request that Senator Barrasso to clear S. 2561 for Hotlining.

Although email is a great way to get information to your Senator about the Big Cat Public Safety Act, we are asking that because of the short time left in the 116th session that if you are able to make a phone call instead! This will make sure your Senator hears from you as quickly as possible.

Find Your Senators’ Phone Number Here

Email Your Senators Here

Here is an example of what you might say.

“Hello, my name is (NAME) and as a citizen of (STATE) I was wanting to talk to Senator (NAME) about the Big Cat Public Safety Act S. 2561. I would like Senator (NAME) to support this bill by co-sponsoring and voting YES on this bill when it goes up for a vote.The safety of our emergency responders and welfare of big cats is very important to me as a citizen of (STATE)”

Committee Member Phone Call

“Hello, my name is (NAME) and as a citizen of (STATE) I was wanting to talk to Senator (NAME) about the Big Cat Public Safety Act S. 2561. I would like Senator (NAME) to support this bill by co-sponsoring and talking to Chairman Barrasso about hotlining the bill so that it can be voted on before this session of Congress ends. The safety of our emergency responders and welfare of big cats is very important to me as a citizen of (STATE).”

Giving Tuesday 2020 Recap

A Wonderful Fundraising Rollercoaster

December 3, 2020

Although 2020 has been a journey of emotional ups and downs for us all, we have many causes to celebrate as the year comes to a close. On December 2, Giving Tuesday, our donors and community came together to support and uplift Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. We started the day off strong, our donors and social media supporters coming together in droves to engage with Turpentine Creek. Throughout the day, supporters donated, participated in online conversations, and shared our mission.

As the day closed, the donation information we had access to showed we were a long way away from our goal. As the clocks turned over to December 2, we had raised about $32,000 of our $50,000 goal. We went to bed, grateful for the amazing support our donors had provided us, and anticipating getting more detailed information from Facebook in the coming days.

As Giving Tuesday progresses, nonprofits can watch as people post in fundraisers and on posts that the nonprofit has made, but any donations that come in directly through the Facebook donation button and other people’s posts that they have created with donation buttons for TCWR, cannot be viewed until two days later, when we can run a donation report. This report shows all donations made for a set duration of time.

On Thursday morning, two days after Giving Tuesday had finished, we were able to gather data from Facebook for December 1. We were flabbergasted to see how far our Facebook estimate of $4,500 was off! Our Facebook supporters had rallied and donated $10,348! This, along with a few other Paypal donations that were made after midnight but still marked for Giving Tuesday, brought our first grand total to $40,841.89! Yet, this number is still not final!

We are still waiting on a few checks supporters have told us are on their way; we also know of a few matches that were made by employees of Tyson, and we will be waiting on those along with the Tyson two to one match that was offered on Giving Tuesday. It maybe a few weeks before we have a final official total on Giving Tuesday, but we are already so appreciative and excited that our supporters came together to raise over $40,000 to help the animals that call Turpentine Creek home! Your generosity throughout this crazy year has only solidified our hope for humanity and compassion!

As the year comes to a close, we ask that our supporters continue to help us finish this year off strong! Every year, we get more than 50% of our donations in the last 3 months of the year! We have less than 30 days until 2020 is over. Please keep us in your thoughts as the holiday season progresses, donate, and spread the word about TCWR’s mission!