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.