Monthly Archives: July 2021

The First In-Ground Pool is Complete

Tigers BB King & Mack Love Their New Permanent Pool

July 8, 2021

We’ve been working to put a real, in-ground pool in every habitat a water-loving creature may find themselves in at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Last weekend, we filled the first of many in the habitat currently occupied by tiger brothers BB King & Mack. We’re already working on constructing the second pool, and can’t wait to share the process with you! 

Our animal residents have, up to this point, been given stock tank pools each year. These “pools” are self-explanatory: large stock tanks often used by farmers to water cows and horses. Building our new pools costs $5,000 per structure, so for a while, the stock tanks have been a more affordable option as we worked to upgrade habitats in other ways. We now find ourselves at a point where replacing the stock tanks whenever a big cat finally damages it beyond repair is taking away from donations that could be used for other forms of enrichment and habitat up-keep. 

Permanent pools have been a goal for years. Just as “crashing the compound” to put every single animal in a big grass habitat and creating a veterinary hospital onsite was once nothing more than a crazy vision, our supporters are making this dream a reality. Our animal residents never asked to be in captivity and were forced there by someone else’s choices. We owe it to them to make choices that give them the best lives possible, and you are doing just that! 

The inaugural pool was placed in BB King & Mack’s habitat partly due to how long they’ve been with us, as well as BB King’s battle with cancer last year. After his long fight, he deserved a sweet enrichment surprise! This pair is laid back (okay, maybe “lazy” is a better word), so we partly expected the grand opening of their pool to be a bit lackluster on their end. However, both tigers excitedly darted towards their new water feature! Mack had to circle it a bit before dipping his toe in; in this video, you can see the light bulb going off in his head as he realizes what this gift means! 

The pool is big enough for both of them, but they haven’t realized it yet. If one of the brothers is soaking and the other approaches, the newcomer will be quickly shooed away by the current pool occupier. This is mostly okay since the boys seem to cope with disappointments by sleeping 36 hours a day. Imagine if nap-time and pool-time were the only things on your to-do list! 

Nine pools have been fully sponsored. If you would like to become a pool sponsor to make a tiger or bear’s dream come true, please email sandy@tcwr.org

If you’re unable to fully sponsor a pool, please consider making a donation to our pool fund. Please make sure to write the word “pool” in the notes option on the donation form so we know what you wish your contribution to be used for. No amount is “too small;” people generously giving what they can is why our animal residents have been allowed to thrive with us for almost 30 years. 

 

Big Cats React to New Rescues from Tiger King Park

How do the Current Turpentine Creek Residents Feel about New Neighbors?

July 1, 2021

As you know, we rescued 13 animals from Tiger King Park. As the court case involving these animals continues, we remain limited on the details we’re allowed to provide. Our current animal residents, however, have spent time since the rescue getting to know their new neighbors quite well. Interactions and reactions between new residents and current ones are always interesting; here are a few of our favorites! 

Bagheera, a black jaguar from Tiger King Park, currently lives next to Spyke, a black leopard. Spyke has been with us for years and doesn’t seem to care one way or another about his new neighbor. Prince and Tony, bobcats who were rescued two years ago, feel differently. They have lived across from Spyke long enough to be used to his daily routine. When Bagheera moved in, the bobcat brothers were a bit confused. They could be seen paying more attention to Spyke and Bagheera, whether they were out together or alone. The bobcats would “stalk” the leopard and jaguar, flicking their tails with eyes following them around their habitats. We think Prince and Tony believe there are now two “Spykes,” and are confused about seeing-double. These little fellas had never seen any type of larger black feline before their rescue, and likely believed Spyke was the only one in the world! They’re starting to figure things out, but it’s funny to observe them monitoring their neighbors. 

White tiger Snowball came to us during the 2016 Colorado Rescue. Snowball is known for his playfulness and tendency to destroy toys, stalk everything in sight, and be downright nosey. Kyro, a li-liger, is from the Tiger King Park Rescue, and moved in next to Snowball. The white tiger can come on a little strong; his big personality and staring problem can be too much for some animals to handle. Kyro doesn’t seem to mind. The pair watch each other and have long conversations through the fence (Snowball is likely giving him lectures regarding toy-destroying-best-practices). When Kyro is doing his own thing, Snowball seems a bit annoyed and bores holes into the li-liger with his eyes until the attention comes back to him. 

Poncho and Montanna, tigers also from our Colorado Rescue, enjoy long walks with new neighbor, Simba the lion. Sometimes fence-following can be rude, but this relationship seems amicable. Poncho and Montanna are chatty cats, emitting groans to team members and each other. They do the same with Simba, but he doesn’t seem to speak tiger. While Simba doesn’t respond verbally, he also doesn’t seem to reject the brother’s advances towards friendship. 

In a funny way, these interactions are a form of enrichment. Both new cats on the block and cats who have been around benefit from the sights and smells that come with different neighbors. We keep a close eye on everyone to ensure no one is too nervous or too territorial; as you likely know, some neighbors just aren’t a good fit. 

You can see these interactions in real-life by booking a tour. Remember, summertime means sleeping, shade-seeking cats, so coming on cooler days or opting for the 9 AM or 4 PM tour is often your best bet. To support the care of our new animal residents and those who may need help in the future, please consider becoming a recurring donor.