Monthly Archives: April 2021

April Snow Showers Bring May Flowers

An April Snow Isn’t the Only Surprise in Store for Our Animal Residents

April 23, 2021

If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past year, it’s to expect the unexpected! Our big cats were treated to a Spring snow shower this week. The temperatures were warm enough to keep water dishes unfrozen and doors from being stuck shut, making this a no-fuss treat for all! This wacky weather was especially welcome after the last weather event that blew down two trees in Tigger and Floyd’s habitat and damaged our billboards.

While tigers are typically the most excited for winter-like weather, the lions and bears chose to check it out this time. They must have thought we were gifting them extra enrichment! The day was full of stalking, pouncing, digging, rolling, and sniffing at the chilly flakes.

Some puzzled glances were thrown our way by water-loving tigers, who know this is typically the time of year we start filling up pools. They seemed to think we made a serious error on the enrichment schedule! We’re hoping they’ll forgive us once they realize the special, surprise project we’re working on:

In-ground pools for all!

We will soon begin putting permanent pools in each habitat. This exciting project is something we’ve been working towards for years, with a few habitats already containing one. Now, in celebration of our 29th anniversary helping exotic animals in need, we are making it our goal!

By joining us for our Paws-In-Pools 29th Anniversary Online Auction April 30 – May 2, you can help us with this project while getting your paws on some unique items. All funds raised during this auction can support special summer projects, like our pools, as well as the care of our current animal residents and upcoming rescues.

Bidding opens at 8 AM Friday, April 30, and ends May 2 at 8 PM. You can get a sneak peek at our inventory here, where new items are being added almost daily. A simple way to paw-ticipate in the meantime is by going to our Facebook event, clicking “interested,” and inviting someone you know who may be interested.

There have been lots of paws in snowfall this year, but we’re excited to see some paws in pools!

Storm Warning

Fallen Trees & Safety

April 15, 2021


Two trees fell in Tigger and Floyd’s habitat Friday after a sudden storm blew through. Amid stinging rain and gusting winds, a radio call went out regarding the incident. Thankfully, there was no harm done to our animal residents nor was there a risk of an escape. 

Animal Care Team Member and Commissary Manager, Meg, was the first on the scene of the incident. She found Floyd, a normally nervous tiger, blissfully unaware of the event as he relaxed in his night house area. Tigger, a Golden Tabby Tiger who is always ready to play, was excited about the two trees he was “gifted,” assuming they were giant enrichment items given to him for being such a good boy. Per protocol, Meg immediately radioed other team members regarding the situation, including a quick assessment of the well-being of the tigers and the damage. 

Tigger and Floyd were easily shifted into their night house area so team members could address the damage. Our secondary perimeter fence took the brunt of the trees’ weight. Some fencing was bent, but our team worked over the weekend to repair it, putting up new wire and attending to the damaged perimeter. 

Because of our many accreditations, we are held to the highest of standards regarding not just animal care, but also safety and fencing. This situation could have had a very different outcome were we not. In addition to our normal guidelines, we have a specific protocol in place when there is a risk of storms. We continuously keep a close eye on the weather radar and have extra material on hand in case of damages requiring immediate attention. We always feed our animal residents in their night house area; this encourages them to shift inside when needed. Their night houses are made of strong concrete, which keeps them safe from damaging winds and lightning. It’s also where we lock them when there is damage to their habitats that need immediate attention. Because Tigger and Floyd associate their night house with food and treats, it was easy to quickly get them inside so we could fix their habitat. 

We have participated in many rescues in the almost-29-years Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has been in existence. The “enclosures” we have found in people’s backyards, road-side zoos, and pseudo-sanctuaries were concerning enough that we often feared for our safety. There are big cats in the U.S. right now, living in dilapidated, unsturdy structures, which is both a cruelness to the animal, but also a safety threat to the public. This is why we’re asking you to support H.R. 263: The Big Cat Public Safety Act. The current bill is the first step in demanding a higher-quality-of-life for big cats in captivity, as well as safer standards to protect first responders, law enforcement officials, and the general public. By visiting our website, you can not only learn important information about the legislation in order to have productive conversations about big cat and public safety, but you can also send an email directly to your representatives asking for their support. 


We’re Not in Kansas (er, Texas?) Anymore!

Support Animals Like Ce’Ce’ & JJ During NWA Gives Day!

April 1, 2021

Two of our newest residents, Ce’ Ce’ & JJ, a sibling pair of African Servals, are adjusting nicely to  their new forever home at TCWR. Relinquished by their previous owner due to COVID  related changes back in February, they are just now beginning to feel comfortable with their new lives at the Refuge. Both are  in fairly good health, aside from the expected  degenerative bone disease commonly seen when kits or cubs are prematurely separated from  nursing mothers. Declawing also frequently results in degenerative bone issues, which this pair  was subjected to as well.   

A visual exam of both animals determined their senses of sight, hearing, and smell to be intact,  with eyes clear and bright and ears and sinuses free of infections and obstructions. Incisors,  canines, and first bottom premolars also appeared healthy and unremarkable. Dr. Kellyn  Sweeley, staff Veterinarian, noted that their coats appeared to be in good condition as well, with  no observable lacerations, abrasions or masses present, at least from the cursory exam she was  able to perform upon their arrival. More extensive, in-depth medical examinations including x rays to assess skeletal conditions, will be performed after the animals have been given sufficient  time to adjust to their new surroundings. Both animals are progressing slowly but steadily  toward that goal, with JJ, the female, taking the lead.  

Initially neither were observed venturing out of their night-house except under full cover of  darkness. In recent days however, JJ has graced team members with her appearance more and more,  albeit in brief increments. In time, we expect to see her less adventurous litter mate follow her  lead. JJ’s higher level of curiosity regarding her environment may be due – at least in part, to a prior escape from her previous owner, which allowed her to experience a full 3 days of complete  freedom from her small enclosure.  

Current transitional dietary plans for the two provide for a slow introduction of assorted raw  meats in order to avoid any digestive disturbances. Later introductions will include vitamin and  mineral supplements and the possibility of bones, but only after an in-depth determination has  been made regarding the overall health of the animals’ digestive tracks. Additional supplements  required may also include calcium and glucosamine/chondroitin & fish oil, should their bone  health warrant it.  

One way you can provide for the needs of these two beautiful animals, as well as other precious  members of our facility, is to participate during the upcoming NWA  Gives Day, April 8th,  2021! Not only would you be providing loving support for your favorite special friend or friends, 

but you would allow us to demonstrate our appreciation for YOU… for making a difference in the  lives of our animals! Prizes and appreciation awards will range from park passes and gift shop  merchandise, to original paw print art give aways, and a free night’s stay in our exclusive on-site  lodging! Festivities will take place in person at our facility, as well as on-line, from 8:00 a.m. to  8:00 p.m., with live on-air broadcasts, and more! So don’t miss out! Mark your calendar now, for  this fun-filled day of celebration and festivities. See ya’ then!