Category Archives: Turpentine Creek

Keeping Cool Cats Warm

Winter At Turpentine Creek

January 8, 2018

Winter brings cooler temperatures and shorter days for the residents at Turpentine Creek. Typically, the temperature in Eureka Springs averages in the mid 30’s in December and January, but since New Year’s Eve, we have been experiencing below average temperatures in the teens and single digits. Luckily, the temperature has finally begun to return to normal levels, but for a short time, the big cats at Turpentine Creek got a taste of what some of their cousins in the north experience every year.

Some people worry that the big cats might get too cold during these wintery blasts, but be reassured we do our best to prepare and provide our residents with warm areas to get out of the cold. We fill their dens with bedding that helps to keep the temperatures in the dens 20-30F degrees warmer than the outside area. Beyond what we do to keep our feline friends warm, nature has also provided many of our animals with warm, thick winter coats.

Some subspecies of tiger, such as the Amur (Siberian), are native to the northern reaches of Russia, which averages temperatures around -40F in the winter months. Because of this, they have adapted and evolved to withstand extreme winter weather by growing a dense winter coat. Even the most fridged winter weather in Arkansas doesn’t even come close to these extremes.

Wild animals are adapted to survive the cold and will naturally seek warmer shelter to escape the cold. This is why visitors will see our bobcats, cougars, and tigers during the winter but the bears, leopards, and lions are seen less frequently. The cold weather cats spend their days soaking in the sun and playing in the snow (when we have snow) while the warm weather animals tend to spend the winter cuddled in their warm dens.

Some of our animals are less adapted to cold weather, such as our lions, and for these animals, we provide them with warm spaces to escape the cold. We are working on getting electric run throughout the property so that we can eventually install heated dens wherever it is needed. We also keep a very close eye on our animals to make sure that they are not showing signs of adverse effects from the cold weather.

Your support and donations help us provide the best quality care for all the animals that call Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge home. You can help us provide food, warm spaces, enrichment, and much more by donating now.

We also want to remind everyone that we are open during the winter season and that you can visit any day of the year, except Christmas Day.

Looking Forward

A New Year At TCWR

January 2, 2018

The landscape of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is always changing for the better. We continuously put effort into improving the refuge so that our animal residents can have the best lives possible. In 2017, we began building two very large, natural bear habitats that will span over 3.5 acres when they are completed. Over the next few months, these habitats should be completed, and we can move on to new projects. We’ve already received the funds to rebuild our oldest cougar habitat, are currently working to finish up the serval and Flip’s heated night houses, and have plans for more habitat improvements that will be happening throughout the year.

We cannot predict precisely what will happen in 2018, but we anticipate a busy year of building habitats, rescuing animals in need, and fundraising to help care for the animals. We are also expanding our education program and should be kicking off the fundraiser for our new education building on top of all the other improvement projects that are in the works. This upcoming year will be exciting for us all, and we invite our supporters along for the ride!

A lot of changes are happening at Turpentine Creek, but our number one priority is always the animals that live at the refuge, this is their home after all. 2018, is already looking to be a fun and active year filled with special events, activities, fundraisers, and most likely a few rescues. Are you ready? We sure are!

Do you want to start 2018 off right? Signing up for our Sustainers of Wildlife recurring monthly donation program is the best way to help the animals at Turpentine Creek and take a step towards a philanthropic new year.

Some examples of how your recurring donation could help the refuge:

$10 a month = $120 a year = 1 medium Enrichment Toy

$25 a month = $300 a year = 1 large Enrichment Toy

$50 a month = $600 a year = 3 weeks of meat for a full grown big cat

$100 a month = $1,200 a year = 1 month of Gas to heat the refuge

$350 a month = $4,200 a year =  1 month of Electric to run the refuge

Setting up recurring donations helps us plan projects for the year and also gives us a better idea if we can take on new rescues. Your help will allow us to save more lives in 2018, and care for the animals we have already rescued. Help us, help them and make 2018 the best year at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge yet!

Click here to make a one-time donation now or Click here to sign up for our Sustainers of Wildlife monthly recurring donations.

New Year New Beginning

2017 End Of The Year Wrap-Up

December 26, 2017

This past year was filled with many accomplishments and celebrations. We’ve spent the year building habitats, rescuing animals, giving daily care and enrichment to 100 animals, celebrating our 25 years of rescuing, hosting an intern reunion, and trying out new technology. This year we’ve saved lives, but we’ve also had to say goodbye to some of our beloved older animals. As with any rescue facility, we only have a limited amount of time with the animals we care for; death is part of the circle of life and cycle of rescuing.

Our 2017, ended on a very high note, we were notified that we have received our Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Accreditation after working on it for five years. A GFAS Accreditation tells the world, and supporters, that Turpentine Creek meets the highest standards of care for the animals that we rescue. We are proud to earn our place as a GFAS sanctuary and we will continue to strive to better ourselves and go above and beyond the requirements to make sure that Turpentine Creek can give the animals in our care the best lives possible in captivity.

As we look forward to 2018, we know that next year will be even better than this year. We’ve already begun making plans for some events happening in 2018 and all we can say is “stay tuned!” Next year is going to be a fun and eventful year. We’re planning on starting an advocacy program, kicking off our new Visitor Education Center fundraising, building habitats, having grand openings for our two big bear habitats, rescue calls, and MORE!

It is only with your help that we can do what we do. Your donations are what keep Turpentine Creek running and give us the ability to do what is necessary to not only care for the animals but make improvements so that we can give them better lives and meet the higher care standards of groups like GFAS. Please donate and help make 2018 the best year yet!

Donations made the last quarter of the year make up 20-40% of our annual donations. Donating now not only helps you (with tax deductions) but helps us make plans for what we will do in the upcoming year. You can make a donation now and set up monthly recurring donations for 2018 to make your donation even more impactful. Monthly donations help us make plans so that we know how many animals we can care for, and if we have the money/room for more animal rescues. As a 501(c)3 non-profit your donations are tax deductible. Our donations go to helping care for the animals. Donate now and help us help them. 

O’ Chuff-mas tree

Holiday Season at TCWR

December 18, 2017

This year is coming to a close, but even though it will be ending soon, we still have two weeks left in 2017. Turpentine Creek is open every day of the year, except for Christmas so that our team and interns can enjoy the holiday. Yet, even when we are closed to the public, we still provide quality care for the animals that call the refuge home.

Although we are looking forward to Christmas, the team is extra excited about what happens after the holidays are over, seasonal enrichment! Many local Christmas tree lots, the Crescent Hotel, and individual supporters, donate Christmas Trees for the animals to enjoy. It is always fun to introduce different types of enrichment to the animals, and Christmas trees are some of the most exciting enrichment we can provide. Natural enrichment, like snow, is also another benefit of the winter season. Tigers, bobcats, and cougars are big fans of the white fluffy snow that sometimes covers the ground here in Arkansas. It is very fun to build snowmen for the animals and watch them playing in the snowbanks.

We also remind visitors that although the animals LOVE playing in the snow and the cooler weather, as humans we need to dress according to the weather. If it is cold, please wear jackets, gloves, hats, scarves, snow boots, or whatever clothing is appropriate for the weather when you come to visit.

During the final weeks of the year, we also spend a little extra time helping supporters sort out their end of the year donations. Donating is a great way to help the animals and get a little back from what the government takes from your paycheck. Your donation helps us care for the animals all year and by donating now we can plan for projects and special enrichment events in advance. Donate now and help us help them. 

Please be safe this holiday season, no matter what holiday you are celebrating. We invite everyone to come out and visit this winter. Please be aware of our holiday hours if you are planning a visit or trying to contact the refuge.

Holiday Hours:

Christmas Eve: 9a – 2p (last tour leaves at 12p)

Christmas Day: Closed

New Years Day: 10a – 5p (first tour leaves at 11a)

*** We do close if the weather is too severe. We will announce all closings on our social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


A Local Community Leader

TCWR Honored With Community Award

December 8, 2017

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge works hard to be one of the best Big Cat Refuges in the United States. We are always improving our procedures, how we build habitats, and how we care for animals so that we can give our animals the best lives possible in captivity. But we couldn’t do half of what we do without support from our local community.

Turpentine Creek is dedicated to helping our local community. We host local cleanup days, send representatives to most local events, and participate in local activities and parades. Due to all of our community engagement, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was recognized during the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet on December 7, 2017. The Turpentine Creek Team is very honored to not only be nominated but also to be the recipient of The Community Foundation Award.

During the event, 18 team members accepted The Community Foundation Award on behalf of the whole team. The Community Foundation Award is presented to a Chamber business that has been recognized by the Chamber board and community leaders for their longevity in service towards the promotion, support, and prosperity of the city of Eureka Springs.

Rescues, like Turpentine Creek, need the support of their local communities to be successful. Turpentine Creek is very grateful that Eureka Springs has embraced Turpentine Creek and supports our mission. We hope that the relationship between Turpentine Creek and Eureka Springs will continue to grow over in the upcoming years. Through your support and the support of our local community, are able to offer a safe forever home for hundreds of neglected, abandoned, and abused big cats from all over the nation.

Thank you to everyone who has made it possible for us to not only care for the animals but also our community.


#GivingTuesday Results

Your Donations Make A Difference

December 4, 2017

Once a year, supporters all over the world come together on a single day to help the nonprofits that they love. #GivingTuesday is the kickoff of the end of the year giving season. Most nonprofits get 20-40% of their donations at the end of the year, so this is a very important time for us.

This year for #GivingTuesday, we set a high goal to raise $11,550 so that we could purchase equipment to assist with habitat building. The equipment, a Bobcat Trencher attachment, a Bobcat Auger attachment, a Stihl XL Chainsaw, a Stihl Concrete Saw, and 4 Stihl professional grade weedeaters, will help us to expand into the densely wooded and hilled section of our 450+ acres of property to build bigger, natural habitats for our residents.

Thanks to our amazing supporters we reached our goal shortly after noon! We are always pleasantly surprised, but not shocked, by how quickly our supporters will come together to help us fund projects or get much-needed equipment. Because we reached our goal so early we were able to move onto our stretch goal of $25,258. The additional $13,708 would be used to purchase a 6-month supply of Nebraska and Tripple A meat for our special dietary needs cats (such as Peyton, Rocklyn, and Black Fire).

By the end of #GivingTuesday, we had received $20,489 in donations through Facebook, Paypal, and in-person donations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was offering a $2 Million dollar match for Facebook donations, but we have yet to be notified of how much of the $7,537, that was donated through Facebook, qualified for the match. It can take up to 72 days for us to get a notification from Facebook about the #GivingTuesday match, so our official fundraising numbers may go up in the next few weeks.

We would like to thank everyone who donated to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge on #GivingTuesday. We also want to say thank you to all the wonderful people who participated in our #GivingTuesday activities through Facebook. We gave away 8 paw paintings and a few other amazing prizes throughout the day to participants. It was a lot of fun and it helped spread the word about Turpentine Creek.

With your help, we can do AMAZING things! Thank you all for your support!

Don’t forget to make your end of the year donations before January 1st if you want a 2018 tax deduction. Also, if you are ordering an adoption, sponsorship, calendar, coloring book, membership, or cub club package for Christmas, your orders must be received on or before December 10th if you want to get them before Christmas.

Thanksgiving at TCWR

We are Thankful For Our Amazing Supporters

November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for all that we have. Everyone at Turpentine Creek is thankful for our fantastic supporters. We couldn’t do what we do without all of you. We are also thankful for our interns and team members (past and present), their hard work and dedication have made us what we are today, one of the countries best big cat sanctuaries.

The year is not over yet; we still need your help to finish our year off strong and prepare for 2018. On November 28, 2017, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the country comes together to celebrate #GivingTuesday, the official kickoff of the giving season. This is a day for the world to come together and show their support to their favorite non-profit.

As the year wraps up we reflect on the last year. The last 12 months have been a very rewarding adventure for the team at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. This time last year our team was divided, a portion of the team was caring for animals in Colorado while the rest of us remained in Arkansas to care for the animals here.

Our team is very close, we celebrate together, we mourn together, and of course, we spend holidays together – since our big cats need care every day of the year. We are a family and spend holidays much like a typical family, eating food, trading gifts, and playing games, but last year it was more difficult since we were not all in one location. Now that the Colorado Project has wrapped up in Colorado, we will be able to get back to our normal routine of celebrating the holidays together.

Thank you for all that you have done to help make Turpentine Creek great. We have saved approximately 500 souls since we opened in 1992. Without our supporters that would have been impossible. We are working hard to change the laws and prevent big cats from being victims of the exotic pet trade, but until that happens and all the animals have passed, we will continue to open our hearts and offer refuge to big cats in need.

THANK YOU for all that you do to help the animals that call Turpentine Creek home. From the TCWR family to yours, we wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope you get the chance to spend time with your family – both blood and non-blood – this holiday season.

Safety Improvements

Shelter from the Storms

November 10, 2017

Turpentine Creek is making strides to improve our facility, not just for the animals in our care but also for the humans who live here and spend time on the property. We’ve begun updating our emergency procedures, planning emergency drills, making sustainability plans, scheduling training sessions, installing storm shelters around the property, and making room for storm shelters in our plans for our new Visitor Education Center.

Beyond the storm shelters planned for the Visitor Education Center, we’ve also contracted Eureka Springs Storm Shelters to instal shelters near our team housing and lodging unites. This week two storm shelters were installed down at the team housing area and plans for the installation of lodging storm shelters are in place. Small changes, like new procedures and storm shelters, are making Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge that much safer for our visitors, supporters, and team members.

Each of the storm shelters can hold between 9-12 people as well as some supplies. They are waterproof and meet FEMA and state shelter requirements. The interior of the shelters are 7′ wide, 10′ long and 6’2″ tall. Although our founding family (the Smiths) might have to duck while inside the shelters, most team members should comfortably fit in them.

Our big cats also have secured shelter from storms. Their night houses are made to withstand storms. To make sure our animals’ remain safe we install the metal poles in the ground than pour cement to secure them. Each night house has a secured roof to prevent debris from falling on the animals. They also have heavy cement night houses (made from never used septic tanks) so that they can get out of the rain. Any time a storm is predicted we secure the animals in their night houses for their own safety. That is one reason why each of our habitats has a night house. These small areas provide our animals with secure areas to weather out storms and also allow us to securely separate the animals from our team when we need to clean their habitats.

This upcoming year looks to be an amazing year filled with changes and improvements to our refuge. From sustainability efforts to website improvements, a lot of changes are in the works that will help improve our supporter and visitor experience.


Giving Tuesday 2017

A Day Of Giving

November 3, 2017

Join us on November 28th from 7a-7p for #GivingTuesday. A perfect day to support your favorite non-profits, like Turpentine Creek, and give back to your communities. #GivingTuesday is the kickoff event of the giving season. It is the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

So many organizations, including Facebook and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are doing their best to make #GivingTuesday the best day to give! On #GivingTuesday Facebook is waving their normal fees for all donations made through Facebook. So, 100% of your donations made on the social media site will come to us! Also, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be matching up to $2 million of funds raised for US nonprofits through Facebook’s charitable giving tools!

Even if you can’t give as much as you wish you could (we all would love to give a million dollars to our favorite charity, but most of us don’t have that much to give), there are ways you can still help. #MyGivingStory is a contest that is running from now until #GivingTuesdday where supporters can submit their giving story. 20 winners of the #MyGivingStory contest will get between $500 and $10,000 to give to their favorite charity! Click here to submit your #MyGivingStory.

This year we’ve set some big goals that we need your help with! We are in need of some equipment to help us build our bear habitats (and MANY future habitats). These tools will help us build bigger and better habitats for our animals.

We are raising money for:

  1. A Bobcat Trencher Attachment – $5,900
  2. A Bobcat Auger Attachment – $2,500
  3. A Stihl Concrete Saw – $1,000
  4. A Stihl XL Saw – $750
  5. 4 Stihl Professional Weedeaters ($350 each) – $1,400

Each piece of this equipment will make it easier for us to build and maintain larger habitats. As we tackle larger habitat builds we are finding that we need different equipment to help us build them right in a timely manner.

With your help, we can raise the funds to get this equipment and continue working on expanding our refuge. We have over 450 acres of property at and this point we are only using a little over 100. We have a lot of room to grow as it is needed.

We are also planning some online activities on #GivingTuesday. We hope to offer a few contests throughout the day on our Facebook Page to win small prizes. We also plan to give away prizes as we reach each of our individual goals as we progress towards our full goal of $11,550.

Donating isn’t the only way to help support Turpentine Creek on #GivingTuesday. You can also show your support of our #GivingTuesday campaign by adding our Facebook Frame to your Facebook profile picture, share our posts about #GivingTuesday, and talking to your friends about supporting Turpentine Creek on #GivingTuesday. So, visit our Facebook Page from now until #GivingTuesday to donate, participate in activities, and share our mission. With your help, we can reach our goals and put the fun in fundraising!

Membership Program

New Tiered Membership Levels

October 27, 2017

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is thrilled to announce our new Wild About Wildlife Membership Tier Program! This new tiered membership program allows for our supporters to choose a membership level that fits their needs and get extra benefits as they progress through the tiers.

The program consists of four levels: the Friends of India, the Bam Bam Benefactors, the Kenny Fellowship, and the president’s club – the Hilda Jackson Society. Each is its own exclusive community that allows for donors to engage with one another, take home fantastic sign-up gifts, and support the Refuge in the most effective way possible. This will allow for TCWR to respond more quickly to the needs of the survivors of the exotic pet trade, and enable us to budget for larger projects, and projects that will have the greatest impact in the years to come.

By using a tiered model, the program will not only allow for donors of all levels to become involved but also, the membership donations themselves are funneled directly into our General Fund – allowing us to use funds where they are needed the most and when they are needed the most.

Turpentine is always growing and evolving to not only provide the best lives possible for our animal residents but to also make our supporter and visitors’ experiences better. We know that our new membership program will allow us to form a better connection to our supporters. We hope that our donors, supporters, and visitors will benefit from the new program and help us continue to provide the best lives possible for the animals in our care.

Click here to learn more about the different membership levels and sign up for your new membership today. Take a moment to explore the new Membership page and see what has changed.