Category Archives: Rescues

Two Bobcats Rescue

Flooding in Arkansas Displaces Bobcats

May 29, 2019

Record flooding on the Arkansas River has destroyed houses and businesses in west central Arkansas. Many humans have lost their livelihood in only a few short days because of heavy rainfall in Arkansas and Oklahoma. But humans are not the only victims of these storms. On May 28th, 2019, at around 1 pm, Turpentine Creek was contacted by a woman who had two pet bobcats given to her after they were rescued from a flooded house.

The two 8-month-old bobcats, Prince and Tony, had been rescued from a flooded home in Lavaca, Arkansas. They were confined to dog crate cages with rising flood waters already reaching their chests. The rescuers pulled the pair of bobcats out of the house in time to save their lives, but not all of the owner’s animals were rescued in time. The owner relinquished the bobcats to a woman in Charleston, Arkansas, who was known to take in small animals in need. The woman had no idea how to care for bobcats, so she reached out to local rescues to find them a home. Multiple rescues pointed her in Turpentine Creek’s direction, so she reached out to us for help.

Turpentine Creek answered the call and packed up to race down to rescue the bobcats. We had to navigate around flooded areas and what should have only been a two-hour trip took over three hours to navigate. Many roads were flooded, and most bridges had been closed down due to severe flooding. Despite this, the team took their time and safely made it to Charleston, Arkansas to pick up our newest animal residents and arrive back at the Refuge at 11 pm.

According to the rescuer, the pair of bocats had been found in the wild in October of last year and were approximately one month old. The individual who found them decided to keep them as pets and had them living in her house. When her husband became sick, they were moved to small crates in the person’s backyard and were allowed to spend some time in a dog run on occasion. Both Tony and Prince show signs of severe muscle atrophy in their hind legs due to this. They were also both reportedly being fed cat food, an improper diet for a bobcat, and also show nutritional deficiencies. Our veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweeley, will be performing a full examination and evaluation of their health over the upcoming days.

Prince and Tony will spend the next few weeks in quarantine down at our vet hospital to prevent the transfer of any diseases. Once they have been cleared of all diseases and infestations, we plan to neuter the pair and attempt to re-introduce them. They will then be placed in a habitat where they can spend their lives enjoying a safe, happy, life at with us the Refuge.

Turpentine Creek was assisted in this emergency rescue by ifaw, who has partnered with the Refuge to pay for rescue and veterinary expenses for the pair of bobcats. With the flooding happening around the country from the severe storm many animals have been displaced. Unlike normal domestic cats and dogs, there are very few places that captive exotic animals can go. With assistance from groups like ifaw, sanctuaries will be able to step up and offer assistance as needed to rescue these victims of the exotic pet trade.

Please donate today to help us care for our newest animal residents. Tony and Prince will need adopters and sponsors to help us care for them for the remainder of their lives. These two young bobcats now have a real chance at life here at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It is only with your help that we can continue to rescue survivors of the exotic pet trade. 

A picture of Prince, a 9-month-old bobcat recently rescued by Turpentine Creek.

Prince the 9-month-old Bobcat, rescued by Turpentine Creek.

Tony the 9-month-old bobcat recently rescued by Turpentine Creek.

Tony the 9-month-old bobcat recently rescued by Turpentine Creek.

Life-Saving Surgery Update

Blackfire Recovering Comfortably

November 7, 2018

Blackfire is on the road to recovery after receiving life-saving emergency surgery at Kansas State University on Tuesday, November 6. The 2-year-old white tiger is currently staying in a recovery enclosure at our on-site veterinary hospital. He will spend two weeks there healing, receiving much-needed pain medication, and being closely observed by our staff veterinarian. After two weeks he will be evaluated to see if he is healed enough to return to his habitat and sisters.

On Friday, November 2, Turpentine Creek announced that Blackfire needed surgery due to a severe hiatal hernia. Dr. Kellyn Sweely had diagnosed Blackfire’s hernia but knew that we did not have the proper equipment or team to perform such an invasive surgery in our on-site veterinary hospital. The operation required a full team of anesthesiologists, specialized equipment, and a full veterinary team. We reached out to Dr. James Carpenter at KSU to oversee the surgery. We have worked with Dr. Carpenter and KSU in the past and know that he is the best in his field.

During the procedure, the KSU team found that Blackfire had a large hole in his diaphragm and that his stomach, spleen, colon, and intestines had pushed into his chest cavity. They believe that he had a birth defect that caused the diaphragm to be weak in a large section causing the hernia as he grew and had bowel issues related to his Metabolic Bone Disease. Luckily, we caught the hernia issue in time, and his intestines were still healthy. If his intestines or stomach had lost circulation, he would have died.

The KSU veterinary team was able to attach his stomach to his abdominal wall and close the hole in his diaphragm. As long as he rests throughout his two week recovery period, he should not have any lasting issues due to the hernia and live a long happy life here at the Refuge.

The cost for the surgery, aftercare, travel, and medication was estimated at $9,000. TCWR put a call out to our supporters on Friday to raise the money for the unexpected expense, and our donors quickly came to our aid. Within a few short hours, we had raised the needed amount to make sure Blackfire could get the care he desperately needed.

Thank you to all the supporters who liked, shared, commented, and donated to help Blackfire!

It is thanks to your support that we are able to give these animals a chance at a long, happy, healthy life with us.  We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Blackfire says “chuff chuff chuff,” which we are pretty sure means “thank you for saving my life!”

Payson Arrives

Newest Furry Family Member

February 12, 2018

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has opened our hearts and refuge to a new female, white tiger named Payson. Payson was rehomed with us from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The zoo contacted us looking for a new home for the 13-year-old Payson since they have decided to shift focus towards their Amur tiger species survival program.

“We are very excited to offer Payson a home with us! The zoo did what was best for Payson and the tiger species as a whole, since white tigers are not viable genetic candidates for the conservation of the species,” said Tanya Smith, President of TCWR.

The Henry Doorly Zoo decided to reach out to us during their search to rehome Payson, knowing that we would be able to offer her the same quality health care, attention, and love that they had given her. On February 7, 2018, Payson made the 430-mile journey to our refuge. She arrived in the afternoon and with only a little hesitation, transferred from her travel crate into her double night house area. She will spend a few days secured in the night house area for observation before she is given access to the large grassy habitat she will now call home.

We are glad that we could work with the Henry Doorly Zoo for this rehoming. We have been striving to foster better working relationships with zoos across the U.S. for years. We believe that zoos and sanctuaries will need work together to make sure that big cats in captivity are getting the best possible care. In the past, we have hosted a collaborative behavioral training workshop between zoos and sanctuaries, consulted with various zoos about animal health issues, and hope to continue to strengthen communicative efforts in the future.

Rescue Report Update

Rescue Progress Report

July 29, 2016

Bobby –

Bobby-2715Bobby the Bobcat was rescued from the state of Ohio in January. Bobby is a 17-year-old blind bobcat. When he first arrived he was put in the other half of Bowden the Serval’s habitat. They swapped days in the habitat. At first, Bobby was very shy, but as he got used to the sounds and smells around him he started to venture out into his habitat more often. On July 25th, we decided to move him and introduce him to Boo Boo, our other senior bobcat. Both Boo Boo and Bobby had spent most of their lives living with other bobcats. Our hope is that by introducing the two older bobcats, Bobby will grow more confident in his surroundings and socialize a bit more. The introduction went well. Bobby and Boo Boo sniffed each other and then went about their day, no growling was heard so they seemed to have accepted each other’s company.

Joy –

joy-6353Joy Coyote was given to Turpentine Creek in June, by a wildlife rehabilitator who believed that the melanistic Coyote would not be able to return to the wild. She had been rejected by her mother due to her coloring and being a sickly runt. Through the care of the rehabilitator, she was returned to health and given to Turpentine Creek. Joy has been given a clean bill of health by our veterinarian and has received 2 of her 3 sets of vaccinations. Once she receives her final set of vaccinations we plan to move her up from Rescue Ridge into the visitor area. She is still very wary of humans. Staff sees her exploring her current night house often, and she loves to dig in the dirt, but if someone approaches her habitat she quickly runs and hides in her den. Only time will tell if she becomes comfortable enough with the staff and interns to let us approach her habitat without running away.

Giselle –

Giselle-7218Giselle the Serval was rescued in July. A woman, who is a pet food consultant with many veterinarians, noticed a baby Serval practically living at one of her client’s clinics. The Serval was front declawed and spayed by her owners. The original owners had 3 children under the age of 10 and through a series of unknown events Giselle broke one of her back legs. Finally, the woman approached the vet to see if the owners would relinquish the Serval to her. She is a supporter of Turpentine Creek and knew that if she could not care for the Serval then we could. The owners agreed to give up Giselle and within a week the woman contacted Turpentine Creek to see if we had space for Giselle. Upon arrival at Turpentine Creek, Giselle was housed at Rescue Ridge for a quarantine period. On July 25th, Giselle was moved up to the other half of Bowden the Serval’s habitat. She loves playing on the grass and climbing all over the habitat. The eventual goal is to introduce Bowden and Giselle so that they can both enjoy the habitat on a daily basis. For now, Giselle and Bowden alternate days while the two servals get to know each other’s scent. Giselle is very curious about Bowden but Bowden is still unsure about Giselle.

All three Rescues are doing well and settling into the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Family. We are glad that we can help take care of these three amazing animals. All three rescues are still in need of Adoptors. It is only through your support and help that we can continue to rescue animals in need. Click here to learn more about our adoption program.