Category Archives: Turpentine Creek

NWA Gives Review

Donors Rally Behind TCWR

April 9, 2018

NWA Gives was organized by a group of regional individuals who wanted to see the spirit of generosity and community that was created by Arkansas Gives (April 2015-2017) continue on. You certainly continued it on by donating a grand total of $19,105 to TCWR!

Our first goal was set at $7,500 to purchase a new fridge to keep our animal residents’ food fresh and tasty. We had less time than normal to prepare for this fundraiser, so we were surprised when we jumped from being around $1,000 away from our goal at 2:45 PM, to being nearly $4,000 over it less than an hour later.

Our second goal was prompted because shortly before NWA Gives, three of our work trucks quit simultaneously. Our animal care team covers quite a bit of ground every single day, so we have been sorely feeling the effects of missing these vehicles. We had a supporter step forward and offered a matching donation of $12,500, so we could replace them, leaving us with a $17,500 gap. We started pushing for our work truck funding around 3:30 PM and five hours later, you had donated $10,540 towards that specific need, putting our total during that time at $18,040.

At the time of this blog post, our organization raised the third most out of all of the other nonprofit participants! We want to send the friendliest of “chuffs,” most grrrateful “roars,” and the biggest of bear hugs to our supporters. Whether you donated monetarily or took time to share our posts and encourage your loved ones to support our animal Refuge, we could not have done it without you.

We put the “fun” in “fundraising” amid the constant updates and encouragements to donate by hosting two giveaways. Our Twitter contest began the day before and asked followers to tweet a photo of their favorite TCWR resident. Jessica Halsey won this drawing after responding with an image of her #1 tiger, Rayn. Brian Kurtz scored some cat-tastic TCWR merch of his own after entering our Facebook giveaway.

TCWR only needs an additional $5,895 to pay for our work trucks. Please consider contributing towards this cause so our hard-working animal care team can continue to efficiently look after our animal residents day-in and day-out http://bit.ly/fundthetrucks .

NWA Gives Day 2018

Keeping it cool at TCWR

March 27, 2018

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is gearing up for 2018’s NWA Gives day! You’re invited to our online day of giving Thursday, April 5th from 8am-8pm CST for a day dedicated to the nonprofits that call Northwest Arkansas home. You don’t have to be a resident of NWA to participate, just show some love to NWA nonprofits like Turpentine Creek!

This year, Turpentine Creek’s goal is to raise $7,500 for a new 10 x 12 ft freezer to store meat for the animals. As warmer temperatures approach, we are going to need more cold storage space to keep our animals meals. Our bears and big cats have big appetites! We feed out between 800-1,200 lbs of raw meat daily and having the extra freezer space will allow us to more efficiently store, thaw, and feed out food for our four-legged residents.

No amount is too great or too small to give, join us Thursday, April 5th for a day of giving, fun online activities, and fundraising. Please check your email, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube for fun activities throughout the day, and donate to help us, help them. Donations will be accepted online and over the phone the day of the online fundraising event, checks can also be sent with “NWA Gives Day” in the memo line.

Kite Fest 2018

Art With An Altitude

March 19, 2018

It’s kite-flying time, and what better way to share in the fun with your family than by joining us for KITE FEST this Saturday, March 24 at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge – it will be a day of fun for your whole family!

Join us in the festival space adjacent to our main parking lot for these FREE ACTIVITIES:

  • Bring your own kite or kids can make their own with the experts from KaleidoKites of Eureka Springs
  • Get beautiful face art painted by Julie’s Face & Body Art!
  • Visit the Girl Scout Diamonds booth and DIY faux stained-glass style kite for a window cling keepsake!
  • Watch Wyatt Beck the Magician perform illusions and unveil his “Flea Circus” act!
  • Sign up for our raffle for a chance to win a 6’ kite from KaleidoKites of Eureka Springs!

While you are here:

  • Enjoy delicious bar-b-que at the Catered Creations stand and top it off with luscious desserts like key lime pie and cheesecake served State Fair-style on a stick from J & K Mobile food.
  • Wash it down with a beverage from our Refuge stand; all proceeds go to the animals!
  • Enjoy live music from Art Deco Band Trio from 12-3. Tuba, trombone, and banjo bring 1900’s vaudeville, blues and jazz melodies to life while musicians interact with the audience for a unique entertainment experience!
  • And don’t forget the real reason we’re here: Remember, we are a true sanctuary offering refuge to the abandoned, abused, and neglected victims of the exotic pet trade.  While we can’t give them the freedom they deserve, we can give them respect, love and the best care possible for the rest of their lives. All proceeds from our tours and gift shop merchandise go to the care, housing, and advocacy for these magnificent animals.
  • Take advantage of our FREE educational program offered with our guided tours, learn about the animals here, and how easily you can advocate for them! This Saturday we will be featuring the following educational talks during our guided tours:

Join us for our daily educational programming at the refuge

  • Keeper Talk – 10:40 am
  • Animal Senses – 11:10 am
  • Enrichment fun – 12:40 pm
  • Top of the Food Chain – 1:10 pm
  • Keeper Talk – 2:40 pm
  • If You Give a Tiger a Toy – 3:10 pm
  • Wild Child Scavenger Hunt – 4:30 pm

Click here to learn more about our daily educational programming. 

We will also have professional kite fliers on-hand to give demonstrations – – recent years have featured fighting kites and kites made of foil which can be flown in rainy conditions – and learn how to maneuver professional kites like a pro!  Learn about the art of Bonsai and treat yourself to a purchase from The Bonsai Guy or visit the HempWorx stand to learn about the health/wellness benefits of 100% legal CBD oil, purchase their products and sign up for a giveaway prize!

Don’t miss out on this fun-filled and educational day at the Refuge! 

Standard admission applies to touring the Refuge: FREE – Toddlers (3 years and younger) $10 – Children (4-12 years); Seniors (65+ years); Military (active/veteran) $15 – Teenagers (13-19 years) $20 – Adults (20-64 years)

Thank you to media partners 3W Magazine, the Official Kids Mag of Northwest Arkansas and the Eureka Springs, Arkansas City Advertising and Promotion Commission for promoting one of the best kite festivals in Arkansas, and the only one in the world held at a big cat sanctuary! Big cats and kites! It doesn’t get any better than that! #TCWRKiteFest #TCWR #EurekaSprings

Blog Written By Stewardship Intern Sandra Ames

Cats At The Castle 2018

Annual Fundraising Event

March 12, 2018

Our annual Cats at the Castle Fundraising event is only a month away! You are invited to join us on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at 6:30 pm at the beautiful Castle Rogue’s Manor just off of Highway 187 in Beaver, Arkansas, for a fun night of fundraising, beautiful artwork, music, food, drinks, and friendly conversation. Spend a fun-filled evening with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge team members and fellow big cat lovers, all while supporting the animals that call Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge home.

Enjoy an evening listening to the live band and eating great food with your fellow big cat lovers. You can also participate in the evening’s silent auction as well as a live auction, proceeds from both auctions will go back to the refuge to help care for the animals that call Turpentine Creek home. Tickets are very LIMITED so get your tickets now while they last, every year we sell out. Tickets for Cats at the Castle are $100 per person.

You can purchase tickets for $100 each through Paypal or by phone.

Click here to purchase your tickets now.

Join the conversation about Cats at the Castle on our Facebook event page.

Cats at the Castle is a private event for adults only. Drinks will be served along with food. Supporters are encouraged to participate in our silent and live auction throughout the night. A live band will provide entertainment. Some tables will be available to sit at but as this event is an opportunity to socialize there will be plenty of standing room. This is an opportunity for our supporters to talk one on one with our President Tanya Smith, animal care team members, and other team members. Attire recommendation is cocktail style, comfortable but elegant.

We hope to see you all there! Get your tickets today before they are sold out! 

Changes and Improvements

Offering A More Engaging Experience

March 6, 2018

The team at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is looking forward to the changing and improvements that are happening at the refuge. Our new education department has been planning a fun-filled year for all our visitors, our online team has been changing up how we interact online with our supporters, we’ve launched a new advocacy program to let big cat lovers change the lives of animals in need, and we’ve also begun making changes on our website. This is only the beginning of all we have planned to give our supporters a more robust experience with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

Our new education team has already begun planning a full year of family-friendly, fun-filled activities for the year. They have also been working closely with our website manager to build a new Education section on the website. The new education section not only has a place for education-centric blog posts, but also animal species information, and of course an events calendar!

Click here to learn more about our new educational programming and events.

Click here to view our new animal species information.

A new advocacy program is also off to a great start! Over 100 messages have already been sent to congressmen about supporting H.R. 1818 – The Big Cat Public Safety Act. We are still learning the new advocacy program, but hope to continue to work with it so that we can allow our supporters to get more involved with protecting big cats.

Click here to learn more about our new advocacy program and H.R. 1818.

Although we are making changes, we have only just begun! We invite everyone to continue to watch us on social media, our website, and at the refuge. Our new educational programming is launching just in time for spring break! We invite everyone to come out and visit to participate in one of our many educational activities that will be available during spring break. Check out the educational event calendar to plan your spring break visit! 

This year is already looking to be full of changes and improvements. We couldn’t do what we do without your support, thank you!

New Education Programing

Outreach and Education Events

February 26, 2018

Turpentine Creek is thrilled to announce our new educational program starting next month! Join us on March 3rd from 12:10 – 3:30 pm at the refuge for a fun-filled celebration on World Wildlife Day.

In addition to our outreach program in partnership with schools and our booth presentations, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is proud to announce the start of our onsite educational program, which will enrich visitors’ experience and show how you become advocates for these wonderful animals both in captivity and the wild!

Our new education programs will focus on different topics throughout the year, with special emphasis on the interdependence of the web-of-life. We’ll talk about the richest biodiversity places on earth and tell you how to help save them: Everything from introducing you to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo App that will help you identify which products use sustainable palm oil and which to avoid, helping preserve orangutans and other species native to palm forests, to showing you which companies have begun their own palm farms to preserve wild habitats. Did you know that an action as simple as refusing a plastic straw for your beverage or using a cloth shopping bag could have an enormously positive effect on our environment? Join us and find out why!

Topics will include awareness of the Exotic Pet Trade, its negative impact on both captive and wild species, and how you can join us in putting an end to this practice in the United States with HR1818.  Not only will we fill you in on what this important legislation will do for the big cats but we will also show you how easily you can become a voice for them by sending an email to your Representative with a two-minute visit to our website.

These exciting educational opportunities will be offered in weekly programs, guided tours, summer day camps, workshops, volunteer enrichment days and special World Wildlife Day programs to kick things off on March 3rd!  

Check out the new education section of our website for full calendar and details of each presentation to find the one that will help you reach your own goals in becoming an environmentalist! Learn more about these magnificent big cats, bears, and other exotic species, how you can make a difference in their lives, and join other advocates to preserve these species in the wild as well as sustain our environment for generations to come!

Keep an eye on the education section as we continue to add to the information there and add new education programming events! We cannot wait to see you here.

Blog Written By Stewardship Intern Sandra Ames

Big Cat Advocacy

YOU Can Make a Difference!

February 20, 2018

There are thousands of animal lovers across the country advocating for big cats today, and you can too! Join Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in our fight to put a stop to the exotic animal trade and help us help them. 

At TCWR we are always striving to improve on ways to advocate for the big cats, bears, and other exotic animals who have not been fortunate enough to be rescued by an accredited sanctuary. This month we have a new addition to our website, an advocacy page, which will make it easier than ever to become a voice for the big cats!  With an estimated 10-20,000 big cats living in backyards, roadside zoos, circuses, cub petting and breeding operations right now, there is no time to waste!  Act now to help end the exploitation and endless suffering of these innocent wild ones!

Click Here To Change Lives Now

It only takes a minute to fill out our form and click to join the thousands of animal advocates across the country lobbying our representatives to pass HR1818 before the end of 2018.

HR1818 will not only protect the rights of these innocent wild ones, but also protect your family from harm. Many big cats are being kept in unsafe cages in homes and backyards across the United States, with injury or death possible for both humans and the animal as a big cat matures.

What will HR1818 do?  It will force owners of big cats to register their animals, giving us a true count of how many exist in private ownership across the country.  The bill will also end unregulated breeding, which allows the inbreeding currently responsible for many of the genetic defects causing deformities, which can severely impact the animal’s quality of life.   In addition, it will put an end to cub petting, or pay-to-play schemes for money where cubs are taken from their mothers at birth, depriving them of proper nutrition to be roughly handled every day of their often-short lives; once their wild natures make them unsafe to handle at less than three months age they are often abandoned or euthanized.  Lastly, restricting public interaction will greatly help to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by adult big cats.

Why is it vital to pass HR1818?  Let these animals’ stories speak for them: Click Here To Learn More

By ending the unregulated breeding and eventually future private ownership, this bill will help put a stop to the exotic animal trade forever.

With just a few simple clicks you can help save lives and end the endless suffering of thousands of big cats and help protect those still in the wild! Together we can do this!

Click Here To Stop The Abuse of Big Cats Nationwide

Blog Written By Stewardship Intern Sandra Ames

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.

So Mulch To Talk About

Warm Furry Friends

February 5, 2018 

Bosco enjoying the mulch pile in his night house on a cool winter day.

When winter temperatures plummet at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge we become innovative in ways to keep our animals warm. While a few of our residents such as the bobcats, cougars and black bears are native to the Ozarks, many are not, leaving them ill-equipped to face the winter months.

A key way we work to keep them warm is to ensure that they have enough insulation in their dens; we do this using mulch. Mulch offers more benefits than simply acting as an insulator, it also provides cushioning between the floor of their night house and their paws, which helps prevent chapping. In addition, mulch has a great smell.  The cedar and other woods emit a fresh woodsy scent that many animals enjoy; some can be found luxuriously rolling in a freshly laid pile! Every other day, animal care staff replace it to ensure it is kept clean, dry, and continues to have that wonderful aroma.

Even better, one of our dreams is to have heated floors in all the dens, which would truly help to increase our non-native animals’ comfort.  Together we can make this happen – please help us do this for them by donating today!

Spring Internship

Educating The Next Generation Of Keepers

January 30, 2018

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is not only one of the best big cat rescue facilities in the country, we are also the home of one of the best big cat internships. Our internship program is known worldwide. We have had over 400 interns pass through our program over the past 25 years and those interns are now working in zoos, sanctuaries, and veterinarian facilities around the world.

Our internship program is run bi-annually. The fall internship starts in September and the spring internship starts in February. Each internship group has between 14 and 18 interns, some of which are interns who have applied to stay a second, third, fourth, or even fifth time! These interns dedicate 6 or more months of their lives to helping the animals that call Turpentine Creek home and learn a lot of skills here that they will use during their careers.

Today, our spring interns for 2018, have begun to arrive. Many arrive a few days early so they can get settled in before they begin working 6 days a week. They work hard, getting hands-on experience on how to care for dangerous carnivores. They will spend time learning directly from our Curator, Emily McCormack, and our experienced animal care team members.

They will learn a variety of skills, from big cat nutrition to behavioral training and even how to build habitats. We are very focused on safety around our animals and a large portion of their training is dedicated to this. They are fully submerged into animal care at our facility and learn a lot while they are here. They work rain or shine, snow or blazing heat, the animals in here need care every single day and our team, both permanent staff and interns, work hard to provide that for them.

During our internship program, a group of strangers becomes a family and a little piece of their hearts bonds with the refuge. They know that for the rest of their lives Turpentine Creek will be another home for them, and they will always be welcome to return here with open arms. We are very happy to welcome our new batch of interns and cannot wait to see what amazing things they accomplish with us over the next 6 months. Keep an eye out for more information about the new interns as we get to know them.