Category Archives: Turpentine Creek

Big Cat Callouts

Gifts That Make A Difference

January 15, 2020

Turpentine Creek is always looking for ways to improve the lives of our animal residents and create fun ways for our supporters to help them. Over the years, we have had multiple requests for personalized enrichment to send messages. In the past, we’ve accommodated those requests as much as possible, typically presented when people come to visit. But we’ve also had requests for remote enrichment.

To fulfill these requests we came up with Big Cat Callouts, personalized enrichment given to certain animals! These fun messages are usually painted on boxes and given to animals approved for box enrichment. The non-toxic paint entices the animals and creates a fun and memorable way to send a message!

The program was tentatively created a few years ago but was fully launched this past December. So far, feedback from our supporters has been amazing! Everyone loves seeing the animals enjoy enrichment. We offer different options for the messages to be delivered: in-person, Youtube video link, or live via Facebook.

The “cost” of the Big Cat Callouts ranges from $100 to $150 depending on how the callout is delivered, but all that money is put right back into the enrichment fund!

So, not only is your callout providing enrichment for your chosen animals, but it helps fund enrichment for ALL who call the Refuge home! You can make your birthday wishes, proposals, congratulations, and so much more extra special through our Big Cat Callout program!

Does a Big Cat Callout sound like something you want to do? Head over to our new Big Cat Callout page and put in your request!

*We will do our best to accommodate your request but please be aware dates or animals might not be available. Some of our animals are on enrichment restrictions, but we will email you to confirm the Big Cat Callout request and let you know if anything needs to be changed.

Cool Cats AT TCWR

Visiting “Off” Season

January 7, 2019

Brisk winter air might not be your ideal time to play outside, but tigers are thrilled about the dropping temperatures and winter weather. Their thick fur coats help them stay warm, making them extra active during the cooler months. It might be worth it to pull out your heavy seasonal gear and stop in for a visit; this is a fun and unique time to take a tour at Turpentine Creek!

When visiting Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge throughout the year, you will see all of our animal residents enjoying their habitats in different ways. Each season at TCWR brings a new view of the cats and a new experience at the Refuge.

This time of year, our animal residents can be found running around their habitat and attacking their enrichment toys, laying with their stomachs up in the sunshine on a cold day, or just sitting on top of their habitat benches observing all the many activities going. All of the animals that call the Refuge home react to the chilly weather a little differently. The bears sleep a little more and eat less during the cooler months, so they tend to hang out in their night houses and dens. The African Servals will often be seen hanging out just outside their building but close enough to the door to run in and grab some heat if it gets too icy out.

Not only is it a great time to come out and see the cats during the winter season, but we also continue to offer additional educational activities for our visitors. Our educational programming will take place during the weekends throughout Winter and includes various topics about the animal species that call TCWR home, discovering how we can all be the voice for wildlife everywhere, and much more. We still offer guided tours every hour on the hour daily plan a visit, book a stay, and make sure to wear your warmest coat, gloves, and hat!

Whether you visit Turpentine Creek in the Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, every day is a new and wonderful day to see the animals that call the Refuge home.

The 2020 Pledge

Join TCWR In Focusing Our Talents To Create A Better Future

January 1, 2020

2020 is officially here! Can you believe that we have pounced into a new decade already? The Roaring 20’s have come back around and Turpentine Creek is determined to use this time to end the Big Cat Trade in the United States.  We need your help to accomplish this goal! This year, we are inviting our supporters to join our 2020 Vision: Your Focus. Their Future. year-long campaign. We want you to utilize your talents, passions, voice, and focus to help us create a better future for all the big cats in the USA.

We are asking all of our supporters to join us in pledging that in 2020 we will make a difference! This is the year of action, change, and new beginnings! With your help, we will see the end of the Big Cat Trade! A small step and simple actions will quickly grow into a movement that will demand change by our government! We ask you to pledge to take ten simple actions in 2020 to spread awareness and make a change!

We ask all our supporters to visit and take the pledge in 2020! We need you to focus your talents to complete ten simple steps to help us accomplish our 2020 Vision.

In 2020 I pledge to:

  1. Share at least 1 post of Turpentine Creek’s
  2. Tell at least 1 friend about why big cats make bad pets
  3. Educate at least 1 person about what a True Sanctuary is
  4. Create at least 1 social fundraiser to help raise funds to save big cats
  5. Make at least 1 post to share why I support facilities like Turpentine Creek and what they do
  6. Volunteer at least 1 hour of my time helping to raise awareness about big cats in captivity (digitally, in person, or at a facility)
  7. Find at least 1 way to utilize my own personal talents to benefit big cats in captivity
  8. Recruit at least 1 person to help the Big Cat cause
  9. Send at least 1 email to my federal government representatives to inform them about the plight of big cats in captivity
  10. Respond to at least 1 social post telling others why I support Turpentine Creek

These ten simple steps will help spread awareness and start creating change! We are excited to see just what this year will bring! Will you take the pledge to help Turpentine Creek end the Big Cat Trade?

Take The Pledge Today!

Christmas Tree Enrichment

A Big Cat Christmas Treat

December 24, 2019

Christmas is not quite over at Turpentine Creek, it’s actually just beginning! As Christmas trees start to come down in houses, they start going up in our animal residents’ habitats. Most Christmas trees end up in landfills once they are no longer useful as holiday decorations in our homes. But these beautiful trees can still serve a purpose, at Turpentine Creek, Christmas trees become wonderful, environmental, enrichment for our big cat residents!

It is important to provide a variety of enrichment to keep the animals happy and active. Utilizing seasonal enrichment helps to keep our animals entertained throughout the year! These Christmas trees are beneficial to our cats for a wide variety of reasons! 

We typically only get Christmas tree donations once a year, so it is a rare treat for us to give our animals these fun scented treats. The trees are especially interesting to the animals because they have a new smell and texture that will encourage them to get active and play. The fresh smell of pine is inviting for the animals to sniff, bite and even scratch their claws on.

As the trees sit in the habitats, they also can be used as a new hiding spot for TCWR residents. The cats love having a place to stay hidden while they stalk but, sometimes, the tree becomes the one being stalked! Also, the bristly texture of the pine needles is just the thing to scratch the itches that the cats can’t reach!

As you wrap up this Christmas season, instead of throwing out your Christmas tree, think about donating to give the animals at Turpentine Creek a new toy! Locals can bring Live Christmas trees to Turpentine Creek with all decorations removed (especially tensile, it is bad for the cats) during normal business hours. We do not accept decorated trees or fake trees, as the animals cannot have them. 

First Snowfall of 2019

“Do Big Cats Like The Cold?”

December 17, 2019

SNOW! Monday evening, the Refuge was graced with the start of a lovely winter wonderland. A thin layer of white snow spread across the grounds, ice hung on trees and fence panels, water dishes contained a thin layer of ice, and the cats were eagerly awaiting a chance to play in the snow!

People often ask “Do your big cats like the cold weather?” The answer is yes! The majority of our animals love cooler weather. Of course, there are exceptions, lions and servals are African cats and prefer to spend the colder days cuddling in their heated dens. Tigers and native animals like bobcats and mountain lions are adapted for the cooler weather. They grow thick fur coats during the winter to insulate them. Our cats love to frolic and play in the cold weather and snowfall gives us the opportunity to create seasonal enrichment for them.

Our cats get to enjoy the snow when we get enough, team members find ways to include it in enrichment: snowmen (or cats), snow piles with enrichment hidden underneath, and snow forts. It has been a few years since we had a snowfall heavy enough to really incorporate it into our enrichment program, but we wouldn’t mind a nice heavy snowfall that we can use to enrich the lives of our animal residents.

So, why not plan to spend a lovely winter’s day enjoying the Refuge? This is one of the best times of year to come! Next time you are trying to think of how to spend your day off, bundle up in your winter gear and come to spend some time with the animals. We are open every day of the year except for Christmas. They don’t mind a little winter weather, do you?

We may suspend tours due to inclement weather, so please check road conditions before you come, if the roads are icy we will probably not be offering tours that day. 

You Made 2019 Giving Tuesday Great

Your Support Makes A Difference

December 4, 2019

You showed up Tuesday, December 3, to #GiveFocus and #GiveFuture during Giving Tuesday, donating over $38,000 to get us through the end of the year and laying a solid foundation for our 2020 Vision: Your Focus. Their Future. 

Our unofficial total is $38,203, at the time of this blog post, but we are still waiting on numbers from Facebook and other sources. We feel confident that you allowed us to hit our $40,000 goal! We hope everyone who participated in this international day of giving had as wonderful of a time as we did. 

For Animal Curator, Emily McCormack and Communications Director, Lisa Brinker, the day began early with some fantastic news coverage by KNWA Northwest Arkansas News! They began with a 5 AM segment discussing our Giving Tuesday activities and allowing our animal residents to show-off for the cameras. KNWA News spent the rest of the day promoting us on their homepage! We are grateful they chose to #GiveFocus to the issues big cats everywhere are facing and what Turpentine Creek and all of our wonderful supporters are doing to make a positive change! 

You gave us a strong start, pouring donations in through Facebook at 8 AM EST! Some of you were up as early as 3 A.M. attempting to help us earn Facebook’s dollar for dollar match. Over $4,000 was raised during that time frame, which means that there is a chance that we will have an extra $4,000 to add to our total if we earned the match (Facebook says they will notify matching recipients in early January)! The money donated through Facebook quickly pushed us past our $3,000 mini goal to replenish our veterinary supplies and purchase specialty medical tools for emergency surgeries. These donations were made in honor of Ringo tiger, who passed away from complications following an intensive surgery earlier in the month. Just as you stood up to #RallyForRingo during his illness, you came through on Giving Tuesday to help his legacy live on in the other animals we will be able to help with the surgical instruments purchased. 

Once $5,000 was raised, we gave away a Family Fun Pack, which included four standard admission tickets, a TCWR calendar and an issue of the “Big Cat Chronicles” quarterly newsletter, plus a $10 Big Cat Bucks reloadable gift card. It wasn’t long after that when we hit our $10,000 mini goal and were able to draw a random winner for a photo and magnet of a TCWR animal resident of their choice! We had raised $15,000 before 1 P.M. and gave away an exclusive Coffee with the Curator Tour. In order to enter the giveaway, we asked supporters to share one thing they learned from TCWR, either by visiting or following along on social media. Here are some of the answers: 

  • “How bad declawing is for all cats…..large and small.” -Nikki S.
  • “I’ve learned that there is a huge problem in our country of people having large cats and keeping them in horrible conditions…” -Wendy P.
  • “The sad truth about cub petting and the related breeding behind it…” – Tracy G.
  • “My 8-year-old boy Benjamin even though we are at a distance admiring the tigers [learned] when they turn around and put their rear ends up to the fence don’t stand in amusement, run. Benjamin got sprayed. Even with that happening, he continues to love the tigers and someday wants to help the rescues.” – David R. 

After that, donations slowed down for a while, but we randomly drew the name for paw painting winners when we raised $20,000 and again at $25,000! The two paintings were created by Bobby the bobcat and Tigger the Golden Tabby Tiger. Both were special for different reasons. Bobby is a blind bobcat, and this was the first paw painting he ever attempted! He created a beautiful purple piece complete with itty bitty bobcat paw prints. Tigger is a newer animal resident and has done a paw painting before, but he’s a favorite of many! His multi-colored work of art was complete with dirt smudges and claw marks. We did a live drawing during 4 PM Behavioral Training, where viewers were treated to Tanya and Kizmin munching on meat treats before the winners were announced. 

The next mini-goal was $30,000, but the $35,000 was perhaps the most coveted because we were giving away a prize we never had before. Many of you are familiar with Emily McCormack, who has been with our organization for over 20 years and currently serves as our Animal Curator. She offered to do a personal video chat with the winner and their favorite TCWR animal resident! 

For the video chat giveaway, we asked people to enter by commenting on one thing they hoped to see in the future for big cats. A few of the answers were: 

  • “ I hope that regulations will change that will prevent private ownership and that will improve living conditions for them across the country/world!” -Laura E.
  • “ I hope all animals in captivity can find grass under their feet and warm, dry dens in accredited sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek.” -Laura R.
  • “Exotic animal trade will be a thing of the past and all existing animals will be in Wildlife refuge like Turpentine Creek” -Karen V.
  • “I really hope cub petting comes to an end…” – Elizabeth K.
  • “I hope that the bill before Congress passes so exotic and wild animals are protected. I hope circuses completely stop using all animals. I hope trophy hunting becomes illegal. I hope palm forests become protected. ‘A million dreams of the world we’re gonna make.’” – Heather K.

Together, we can make these wishes come true for the sake of exotic animals everywhere. Your donations will allow us to not only serve the animals who currently call the Refuge home, but to #GiveFocus to big cats through advocacy and education and #GiveFuture to others still trapped in the Big Cat Trade. Thank you for dreaming big dreams with us and stepping up to make those dreams a reality for those who are affected most by them: the animals.

It takes our entire team to make Giving Tuesday a success from our Animal Care and Education interns and staff making enrichment to celebrate donation milestones, our Communications team creating posts and live videos to engage our supporters, to our gift shop staff informing the visitors about Giving Tuesday, it is an entire team effort and we appreciate everyone for their efforts!

As a reminder, our largest prize to show our appreciation for our Giving Tuesday support is a 2-night getaway to Eureka Springs that includes a bundle of activities, such as 2 weeknights at the Refuge. If we find out we have hit our $40,000, we will be giving it away, so make sure to follow our social media for updates! We also did several cat-tastic live videos on December 3, so feel free to scroll through our Facebook to catch up on them if you missed out. 

1…2…3…Paws in! Go team! Our 2020 vision looks bright!

Happy Thanksgiving

From Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

November 28, 2019

Today is a day of reflection and celebration here at the Refuge. Today, we look back to all the wonderful things that our supporters have helped us accomplish since opening in 1992. We wanted to say a BIG roaring THANK YOU to both our old supporters, who have helped us create such a wonderful environment for our big cats to and bear to call home, and our brand new supporters who are eager to help us create a better future for big cats across the nation. Without your help, we couldn’t have built 60 large natural habitats, rescued hundreds of animals, or built our Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital. Without your continued support, we couldn’t have expanded our education program, started an advocacy program, or touched the lives of THOUSANDS of visitors every year! We are grateful for YOUR help in changing the world for big cats.

We are also grateful to all the people who cannot donate money, but donate time, resources, or just spend a few moments to help us spread the word and educate others about the plight of big cats; your help is crucial to ending the Big Cat Trade in the US. You are making a difference every time you talk to someone about Turpentine Creek and what you’ve learned through us.

And finally, we are grateful to all our team members and interns, both past and present. They work daily to ensure that the animals that call our Refuge home have everything they need to thrive here. Every team member is vital to our mission: animal care, office, education, lodging, maintenance, gift shop, and everyone in between. It takes all of us to make sure that the Refuge is running properly, the animals are cared for, and that we have the funds to care for these animals.

As you spend today with your friends and family celebrating this day of thanks please keep in mind that it is only through your generous donations that we are able to provide such amazing lives for the animals in our care. Please keep us in mind during Giving Tuesday (THIS Tuesday on December 3rd). On that day of international giving, we are asking our supporters to rally behind us and raise $40,000 to provide the best lives possible for our animal residents.

Mark your calendars and join us all day on our social media channels as we fundraise. We will be offering milestone prize giveaways (at $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, $25,000, $30,000, $35,000 & $40,000) to celebrate your contributions to our cause. It will be a fun and eventful day where we can all gather together and celebrate the amazing accomplishments that you have helped us make.

Every little bit helps! $5, $10, $100, or more! If you are an early riser, you can even try to double your donation by donating through Facebook at 8am EST (7am CST, 6am MST, 5am PST). Facebook will be offering up a $7m matching donation while it lasts. Last year it went in SECONDS, so you have to be ready to donate through Facebook at exactly 8 am EST December 3rd to possibly qualify.

Please join us on Facebook, even if you cannot donate on Giving Tuesday. Liking, sharing, or commenting on our social media posts will help us reach a larger audience as well as give you the chance to win one of the amazing giveaways that we will be offering that day. We hope to see you there!

Click Here To Donate Early For Giving Tuesday

Emergency Surgery

Ringo Faces Life-Threatening Blockage

November 19, 2019

We are less than two weeks away from Giving Tuesday! On December 3, 2019, we are asking you to #GiveFocus and #GiveFuture to big cats by helping us reach our $40,000 goal. We will spend the day highlighting what your support can do while celebrating YOU with fun giveaways.

The first portion of our $40,000 goal has been allocated to restocking our veterinary supplies after Ringo, a 16-year-old tiger, underwent emergency surgery to remove a would-be fatal blockage from his intestines. Not only did we quickly go through our stock of supplies during the complicated 6-hour surgery, but we realized we needed a few pieces of equipment that would have made the operation much smoother. The first $3,000 donated on Giving Tuesday will #GiveFuture to Ringo and other animal residents facing emergency situations #RallyforRingo.

This past weekend, animal care team members noticed that Ringo was acting strangely. On Monday, the team and staff Veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweely, sedated Ringo to x-ray his abdomen. They saw a strange shadow in the region of his stomach, at this point they knew Ringo would need surgery immediately. Severe blockages can quickly lead to issues that can result in an animal’s death. Dr. Kellyn and the team worked quickly.

During the six-hour surgery, we used up a large portion of our medical supplies, completely exhausting many medications, sutures, fluids, disposable medical equipment, and other various supplies. We even had to get some additional medications and equipment from local veterinarians.  Luckily, Dr. Kellyn was able to remove the blockage, although this required a 20-inch incision which will take Ringo a while to recover from. It is only because of YOUR dedication and support that we were able to perform this life-saving surgery on site! Your previous support to help us build our Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital and past donations to purchase vital medical equipment over the years made this surgery possible! With your help, we will use the first $3,000 of our Giving Tuesday fundraiser to replenish our supplies and even buy a few pieces of medical equipment that we discovered during the surgery could greatly assist us if this situation were to arise again.

The rest of our goal will be used to lay the foundation for our 2020 Vision: Your Focus. Their Future. We plan for 2020 to be the hallmark year that serves as the catalyst for ending the Big Cat Trade in our lifetimes. That means we will be upping our education and advocacy game, taking our standards of care to the next level, and preparing for a future where all big cats have found sanctuary. From the small steps of controlling the futures of animals who have found safety and peace at the Refuge to the bigger dreams of touching the lives of those who have yet to be rescued, we are going to focus on the future of all big cats!

One of the best ways to help is by holding off on donating until 8 AM EST and making your donation through Facebook, if possible. Facebook will be matching dollar for dollar all donations made at 8 AM on the dot for up to $100,000 per nonprofit. We missed out on this opportunity last year because the money was GONE very quickly, within SECONDS, but this year, we hope to rally our supporters ahead of time to set their alarms and make their donations at 8 AM EST Tuesday, December 3, 2019 (not a moment before or after).  This is a pawesome opportunity for everyone! Thanks to Facebook, your $1 donation becomes $2, your $20 becomes $40, and so forth! Please give directly at this link on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, at 8 AM EST so we can qualify for the match. (Did we mention it needs to be right at 8 AM EST on Tuesday, December 3, 2019?)

Giving days, such as Giving Tuesday, involve so much asking and you wonderful supporters cheering us on as we strive to reach our goal, that we do our best to show our gratitude to you! That’s why we are giving away the following items as we reach our Giving Tuesday milestones:

Once we raise $5,000, we will give away a Family Fun Pack consisting of four general admission tickets, at TCWR calendar, sticker, and newsletter plus a reloadable Big Cat Bucks Gift Card.

At the $10,000, one lucky winner will earn a photo of their favorite animal resident plus a magnet!

When $15,000 is raised, someone will have the opportunity to be taken behind-the-scenes with an exclusive Coffee with the Curator tour!

There will be lots of celebration at the halfway point of $20,000 when we give away a paw painting plus a DVD of the animals creating it! We will also give away a second paw painting at $25,000.

At $30,000, one lucky person will get a free Big Cat Call-Out! This means we will create enrichment with a custom message and give it to an animal resident and film it. You and the receiver of this gift also get complimentary access to the Refuge to see the call-out in real-time. This makes a wonderful gift and has been used to send birthday wishes, holiday greetings, even proposals!

We’ll only be $5,000 away from our goal when we raise $35,000, so you certainly deserve a special reward! One lucky winner can have a purrsonal Facetime/video chat with Emily McCormack and  their favorite TCWR animal resident.

The biggest prize of all will be given away once we hit our goal of $40,000! We will give away a Two-Day Weekday Get-Away for two to Eureka Springs! You will get complimentary lodging at the Refuge for two weeknights, a couples massage at New Moon Spa, an escape room package for 2 at Escape Room 13, dinner for 2 at Nyx, and a $25 gift certificate for Mid Street Café.

For more information about Giving Tuesday on December 3, 2019, please visit

Serval Survivor

TCWR’s Newest Rescue – Hunter Update

November 12, 2019

Turpentine Creek’s newest resident Hunter, a five-year-old male serval, is settling into his new home here at the Refuge. This lucky exotic cat escaped and survived in the wild not once, but twice, despite being declawed. In 2016, Hunter and a female serval escaped from their owner’s home in New Mexico, only Hunter survived that adventure. Since owning servals is illegal in New Mexico his owner was told to either relocate or give Hunter up, his owner told authorities that he would move.

This year, a serval was captured yet again in New Mexico and through microchip identification they found out that Hunter had never left the state and had went on another survival adventure. His owner claims that he escaped on moving day in 2016. Despite the alleged 3 years in the wild, Hunter was in relatively good shape upon rescue.

After his capture, Hunter spent a few weeks at the Albuquerque BioPark (ABQ) before being transported to his forever home with us. For the first few weeks, he was in quarantine in our Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital, where our staff Veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweely, and animal care team members could keep a close eye on him. During this time, we also had to move some of our animals around to make room for him. Servals are native to Africa and require heated spaces since Arkansas winters can be harsh.

Rescuing Hunter gave us the opportunity to move some of our senior small animal residents, Sadie and Dillian, to Rescue Ridge, where they could ‘retire’ to a life out of the public eye. Tony and Prince were then moved to their old habitat so that they could enjoy having a fellow bobcat as a neighbor. Elvis is very curious about the two young bobcats that are now sharing a habitat wall with him.

Hunter is now enjoying having a whole habitat to himself with a large heated building he can explore. Servals do well in groups or alone and since the other serval habitat already has six cats, five of which are male, it was decided that Hunter would be happier having his own space.

So far, Hunter is enjoying his new home. He spends his days curled up under his rock shelter, climbing benches, and hissing at anyone who he thinks is too close. He hasn’t grown to trust the team… unless food is involved, then he is very willing to come close, nab his snack, and hiss his displeasure. We know that with time, patience, and care, Hunter will learn to trust at least some of the team members and fully settle into life at Turpentine Creek.

Your donations, support, advocacy, and social sharing are what allow us to continue rescuing animals in need. We want to thank you for your dedication and encourage you to help this year during our 2020 Vision: Your Focus. Their Future. Without your help, we cannot make a difference in the lives of big cats across the US.

Please take a moment to decide how you can help.

  • Can you dedicate 5 minutes a week to talking to a stranger about the plight of big cats in captivity?
  • Can you make a promise to share at least 3 posts from Turpentine Creek’s social media accounts each week to help spread the word?
  • Can you start a Facebook fundraiser on your birthday and encourage your friends and family to donate?
  • Can you reach out to your representatives and ask them to support stricter laws on private ownership?
  • Can you crochet blankets and sell them with a portion of the proceeds coming to Turpentine Creek?
  • Can you paint a picture and donate part of those proceeds to the animals?
  • Can you challenge your friends to learn more about the exotic pet trade and open discussions on why it is a bad thing?
  • Can you make a promise to use less palm oil products (or only certified sustainable palm oil)?
  • Can you give up 1 cup of coffee a week to donate that $5 to the Refuge? (That totals $260 over a year!!!)
  • Can you create a poster about the Big Cat Public Safety Act and hang it at your local grocery store?
  • Can you sign up for Amazon Smile and register TCWR as your chosen nonprofit?

There are so many ways to help and we are asking you to take the first step towards a better future for big cats in 2020. Your pledge to join our 2020 Vision will allow us to give animals, like Hunter, a forever home. Get started on our 2020 Vision early on December 3, 2019 for #GivingTuesday and help us, help them.

The Retired Life

Dillian and Sadie Bobcat Move To Rescue Ridge

November 6, 2019

Senior bobcats, Dillian and Sadie, are now enjoying their “retirement!” These beautiful bobcats will be spending their days relaxing in their new, spacious, habitat in the peace of Rescue Ridge. A warm den, lower benches, and of course, new sights, scents, and smells greeted the pair on Tuesday after they were relocated from our Discovery Area to the Rescue Ridge space.

Sadie, who turned eighteen this past May, was the first to go out and explore. Dillian, on the other hand, was a bit stubborn and had to be sedated for the move. We used the opportunity to give the fifteen-year-old bobcat a full exam. Bloodwork showed that Dillian was a little anemic and displayed early signs of kidney disease, but our veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweely, is confident that he is in overall good shape and will be able to enjoy his new home at Rescue Ridge for many years to come.

Dillian enjoying his new habitat at Rescue Ridge

Dillian enjoying his new habitat at Rescue Ridge.

Although Rescue Ridge started out as an extra space for rescues, it has since turned into a retirement area for our older animals. The flatter ground makes it easier for aging animals with achy joints to stroll though their habitats and is more removed from the hustle and bustle up top.

Dillian and Sadie were moved mostly to give them some peace and make room for new animal residents, Hunter the African Serval and bobcats Tony, and Prince. These felines are younger and in need of a change of space.

Because Hunter is an African Serval, he requires a heated building. Our new serval habitat is already full, with six small cats living there, so our only other option was the old serval habitat, which Tony and Prince were occupying.

Tony is all smiles in his new habitat.

Tony is all smiles in his new habitat.

It was decided to move Tony and Prince to Dillian and Sadie’s habitat. As we mentioned, this works out well because Sadie and Dillian’s ages make them perfect residents for life at Rescue Ridge.

With so many animals who have so many varying needs, we are consistently evaluating everything from food to habitats to ensure we are giving them the best care they require day in and day out. We know our visitors miss seeing the animals that are moved to Rescue Ridge, but we are grateful for their understanding of our obligation to make decisions with our animal residents’ wellbeing at the forefront of our minds. In order to limit foot-traffic at Rescue Ridge but still give visitors the chance to visit their favorite older animal residents, we do offer exclusive tours that take you there and behind-the-scenes to learn even more about Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and our work. Visit our website for more information about our exclusive tours and to book one today!