Support Us

TCWR’s Capital Campaign

tiger laying down

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Expands to Take in Big Cat Rescue’s Animal Population

We have some exciting news! We will soon be welcoming 34 new cats to the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge family.

Several months ago, we were approached by Big Cat Rescue (BCR) to begin the process of combining their remaining cats with ours. BCR no longer conducts rescues and will be pivoting its focus on supporting Big Cat conservation worldwide.

There is no professional affiliation between TCWR’s ownership, operations, or management and BCR.

As you know, we launched a capital campaign in 2021.

Because of our generous donors and supporters, we have completed Phase I. Together we have raised over 40% of what is needed to complete both Phase II and III (Education Center and Freedom Field). We have begun construction of new habitats sooner than expected with 34 cats coming to Turpentine Creek from Big Cat Rescue. Now, more than ever, we need your help in completing our mission!

The Phases of Our Plan

Phase 1 Walkways - Complete!

Phase 1 - $190,000

  • Paved Walkway and parts of the Tour Loop
  • Discovery Area Pavillion
Phase 2a Education Center - Underway

Phase 2 - $4 Million

  • Construction of Education Center
  • Parking Lot
  • Exhibits, Mobile Commercial Kitchen
  • Landscaping
  • Road and Utility Expansion to Freedom Field

Phase 3 - $2.5 Million

  • Habitat Expansion in Freedom Field
  • Extend Discovery Area Walkway
  • Expansion and Improvements to Existing Habitats

Interested in Our Naming Rights Program?

Your naming rights donation will ensure habitat upkeep & improvements for years to come.

  • Small Cat Habitats – $50K Each
  • Small African Cat Habitats – $75k Each
  • Medium Cat Habitats – $75k Each
  • Big Cat Habitats – $100k Each
  • Cats for initial care sponsorships – $2k each
  • Freedom Field – $1.5M
  • Freedom Field Guest Area – at $100k each

Naming rights may be divided in halves or quarters with up to four donors.  Please contact Sandy Ames at or 479-372-3278 to learn more.  We also have naming rights available for our Big Cat Education Center & Museum, Museum Exhibits, and other areas of the TCWR Property.

freedom field

Click to zoom in

Meet our new friends coming to the refuge.

We are very excited to be welcoming new animals from Big Cat Rescue in Florida. As with any new animal that comes to Turpentine Creek, we will provide the best possible care upon arrival for every one of these cats.

bcr graphic


Is Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge merging with Big Cat Rescue?

No, TCWR will remain an independent 501c3 with the same leadership as before and TCWR will continue to be managed by Tanya Smith, TCWR President & Founder.  When BCR used the word “merger” they merely implied the combining of their cats with the ones already in care at TCWR.

What will Big Cat Rescues role be moving forward?

BCR is now a donor of TCWR.  They will not have any role in the operation or management of TCWR. BCR is donating funds to assist in the construction of new habitats for their cats.  They have also agreed to pay an annual stipend for each cat which will cover a portion of the cost of their care.  Turpentine Creek will assume the remaining costs as we would with any animal in our care. Those who have supported these cats are encouraged to continue their support.

Why was TCWR chosen to re-home the cats?

TCWR is the point of contact for many of the national organizations when a rescue is needed such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Justice, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).  These organizations are involved in most major rescues in the US and help coordinate international efforts, such as those in Ukraine.

Will the cat's names or care be changed?

All the cats will continue to have the same names as before.  Each will have a new habitat and will receive excellent care from the team as do all our animals.  You can learn more about how we care for animals here.

What is happening with the capital campaign for the new Education Center and Museum?

Since we launched our capital campaign in 2021, your generous support has allowed us to completely pay for and build out Phase I. Phase 2 and 3, the Education Center and Museum as well as Freedom Field, represents a combined campaign goal of $6.5M.  To date,  we have raised just over 40% of what is needed to complete both of these phases.  You can learn more about the campaign and naming opportunities along with other ways to help us reach this goal here.