As a working big cat preserve, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in in a constant state of evolution and growth, adding and improving everything we do to best help the animals we rescue.
One such project the past several months has been a total revamping of the habitat where lions Lucci and Wyoming live.
“This is actually the first habitat we built, back in 1998,” says TCWR Curator Emily McCormack. “We always do the best we can with the materials available, but of course over time we have improved, so we basically replaced the whole habitat, one piece at a time.”
McCormack says they were able to use one of the night houses from the existing habitat, to give the lions a place to sleep while they replaced their night house with a new one.
She says the new habitat is actually a little bigger than it was before. “It’s right at 6,000 sq. ft.,” she says. “In anticipation of changing USDA safety guidelines, we’ve been increasing the height of our fences whenever we get the chance. So the new fences are 12 ft. tall with a 3 ft. jump guard.”
Almost all work here requires some landscaping. “It’s incredible how un-level the ground is around here, even though it looks flat, once you start having to haul in dirt and pour concrete,” McCormack says. “But we did it. We’ve reframed everything and poured the concrete and except for welding a couple of wire panels in place, those boys are good to go.”
Although a few big cats still reside in the compound area, the goal is to put all of them in grassy habitats as soon as possible.
“We’re always working on raising funds to add habitats,” McCormack says. “Our donors have made that possible.”
For information on how to donate to the TCWR habitat fund, please go to https://www.turpentinecreek.org/support/habitat-funding.