New Serval Habitat Opening

Celebrating Our Servals New Home

June 12, 2019

Bowden exploring his new habitatTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge released our serval residents into a new habitat Wednesday morning. Its creation was made possible by the Roop family.

A crowd gathered at the Refuge a little before 10 AM just as there was a break in rain showers to commensurate the grand opening of the new enclosure, which is 200 feet long, 40 feet at it’s widest, and 27 feet at its most narrow.

Animal Curator, Emily McCormack, greeted attendees with a speech recognizing the Roop family’s generosity.

“Thank you guys so much for donating,” McCormack said. “…Making a habitat forever helps animals- not just these ones today, but some in the future.”

Gesturing to the Roop family, she continued, “For them, it’s a legacy for their family- for their kids and grandkids, who are here. It takes people like that to keep the mission going here at the Refuge.”

The family was also recognized with a special sign placed on the perimeter fence of the enclosure and had the honor of opening the doors to release the servals.

Giselle leaping for joy as she explores her habitatA group of three servals, consisting of males Bowden and Whistler, and female Giselle, were released during the ceremony. As the rain began to trickle from the sky once more, Bowden was the only one brave enough to peek through the doors and slowly creep out to explore his new space. Next door neighbor, Chloe, a lioness, demonstrated an interest in the potential new friend but was quickly dismissed with a “hiss” from Bowden.

“For smaller cats, a lot of times things are a little bit scary,” McCormack warned earlier during her speech, telling the crowd she hoped the servals would emerge when they opened the doors.

Once the crowd dispersed, Whistler and Giselle finally made an appearance and spent time investigating their updated surroundings.

Whistler taking a break from watching his new neighborsServals, Sammy and Enzo, who were rescued as kittens last July, will be introduced to the other three once they all have time to get comfortable with their surroundings. They along with Tigger, a Savannah Cat rescued with Sammy and Enzo, will get their chance in the habitat in the upcoming days.

Construction on the habitat began early in the winter; maintenance and animal care teams, as well as volunteers, worked through spring furnishing the space with a heated/cooled building, natural rock formations, wood features, firehouse hammocks and a pool. The team faced several obstacles, including unpredictable weather and material delays.

Now that the project is finally completed, guests can view it as part of the regular guided tour offered.

A live stream of the serval habitat release can be viewed on Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TurpentineCreekWildlifeRefuge/.