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Posted: Nov 27, 2020 9:22 AMUpdated: Nov 27, 2020 9:55 AM

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Needs Your Help on Giving Tuesday

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Tom Davis
A Ferocious Fun Day of Fundraising!  Cheryl King with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge appeared on COMMUNITY CONNECTION Friday to invite you to join them on December 1, 2020, ALL DAY for Giving Tuesday!
TCWR needs your help meet their  goal of $50,000 in a single day to help continue their mission, expand their education, broaden their advocacy, and care for the animals. If you are able, donate $5, $10, $100, every little bit helps!
If you would like to donate by check please send to 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 with Giving Tuesday in the memo line.
TCWR is striving to see the end of the big cat and bear trade within our lifetime. Allowing these magnificent animals to enjoy life without fear, abuse, abandonment, or neglect; letting them be the wild animals they were truly meant to be. Through education, advocacy, and quality care for our current rescues, we are making strides in changing the mindset of a nation.
The rescued animals need help year round, and on this day of giving, you can provide special support
This year, 2020, has not gone as expected. A global pandemic has not only changed how they do business, but also our entire fundraising process. But this year didn’t just see changes around the Refuge to accommodate COVID-19 adjustments, it also saw the rescue of TWELVE new animal residents! It costs approximately $10,000 to care for a single big cat each year. That is an additional $120,000 in animal care expenses just for our new rescues! 
During this time, the visitation rates drastically drop, and they rely heavily on the generosity of our supporters.
Giving Tuesday Giveaways!
TCWR will be giving away prizes throughout the day as we meet fundraising goals! All you have to do is interact with our posts on Facebook to WIN!
  • Family Fun Pack: 4 tickets, calendar, newsletter, other goodies
  • Private Virtual Tour: 1 person will win an exclusive private virtual tour!
  • Paw Print Paintings: We’ll have paw paintings available at several milestones!
  • Lodging Stay: One person will win a weekday stay at one of our lodges
  • Big Cat Bucks Gift Cards: 3 people will win $10 Gift Cards
Follow Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge on Facebook to enter giveaways and help spread the word!
About Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge:
Turpentine Creek Foundation Inc. DBA Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Our TaxID is 71-0721742.
Mission Statement
To provide lifetime refuge for abused and neglected “Big Cats” with emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars.
Vision Statement:
Through public education we work to end the Exotic Animal Trade, making sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek no longer necessary; together, we can preserve and protect these magnificent predators in the wild for our children’s future.
Cornerstone Statements:
Education: TCWR is evolving how we educate today’s youth, in classroom visits and onsite programming, through Interpretive Learning: We teach how wildlife, ecosystems, and humans are interdependent, and why sustainable behavior matters; the devastation the Exotic Animal Trade inflicts on both captive and endangered wild species; how people can effect positive change with small actions and advocacy to preserve these animals in the wild, and in doing so, help save our planet for future generations.
Preservation: Turpentine Creek is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed facility for exotic and native wildlife, accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), a founding member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BSCA), and the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK). We rescue survivors of the Exotic Animal Trade with a focus on big cats and bear, providing them a safe lifelong home with exceptional diets and proper care, while working to preserve endangered species in the wild through public education and advocacy.
Compassion: We believe big cats are predators, not pets or entertainment for the masses.  They and other exotic and native wildlife deserve to live out their lives with dignity, allowed to be the wild animals they instinctually are.  We will continue to be their voice, both for those forced to live in captivity and those struggling for survival in the wild.
Why TCWR was Formed
It was 1978 in Hughes Springs, Texas when Don, Hilda, and Tanya Jackson rescued their first big cat. Don, who was known around town for his experience with animals was called earnestly by a friend dealing with a very big problem –a problem named, Bum.
Bum, a rapidly growing 8-month-old lion cub, was living chained to the man’s sweetgum tree. According to Don’s friend, Bum had been abandoned in the parking lot of a hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas by someone who owed him money for a car. With the person gone, the car gone, and the money owed nowhere to be seen, he opted to bring the lion cub home instead. Unfortunately, he soon realized that he could not care for the animal, and was thoroughly relieved when the Jackson family offered to take the young lion in.
At the time Tanya Jackson Smith, the current president and founder of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, was only 11 years old. She describes the experience as being a crazy one, and full of excitement.
In 1982, the Jackson family would then rescue another lion named Sheila. Taking care of the two lions in their backyard was no simple task. Male lions can weigh up to 420 pounds and eat an estimated 10-25 lbs of meat a day. With growing lions, a backyard could only offer so much space for them to run and participate in enrichment activities safely. Fortunately, for the Jacksons, their luck would begin to change with a surprise visitor that would not only lead to the solution to their space issue but would also lead to a world of responsibility falling onto their shoulders.
In December of 1991, 9 years after taking in lion Sheila and 13 years after Bum, a notorious breeder and black market dealer showed up on the Jackson’s doorstep. Catherine Gordon Twiss, who had once been described as red-haired, spitfire of a woman, was on the run from law enforcement with 42 big cats crammed into three cattle trailers. Knowing she would not get far with such a heavy load, Twiss was desperate to find a place for the cats.
Overnight the Jacksons became responsible for rescuing and moving the 42 big cats, including Bum and Sheila, to a 460-acre ranch located just south of the picturesque mountain village, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The ranch was owned at that time by a friend of the Jacksons’ who had offered it to be used as a temporary refuge. Over the next year, the ranch would begin to evolve into what is now Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. Twiss would end up moving all of her 70 cats and the 30 horses that she had picked up from around the country and brought them to the Refuge.
Having spent countless hours building up the enclosures for all of the animals, addressing health concerns, and finding enough meat and other food to feed 70 plus animals, word began to get out about the Jackson family’s endeavor –then the calls began.
People, like Bum’s former owner, were calling because they had bought or inherited big cats and could not care for them. It became evident that big cat ownership was a serious issue being faced across the United States. In response to these calls for help, Don, Hilda, and Tanya Jackson stepped up to the challenge and did what most would only dream of – sold everything, bought the ranch, moved over 300 miles, and humbly went to work for the animals.
After years of hard work, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge reached verified status in 2015, and accredited status in 2017, by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). The accredited status indicates to the world that TCWR is a sanctuary that upholds the highest standards of animal care and safety.
Today, there are over a dozen reputable big cat sanctuaries around the country, and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge easily stands out as a frontrunner. With a highly competitive intern program (est. 1996), the Refuge was able to more than double its rescue efforts and also establish a strong education base. Currently, the United States has thousands of residents keeping dangerous big cats in their backyards, basements, garages, and warehouses with little to no regulations keeping the animal, the owner, and the public safe. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge will not only fight to get these regulations in place but also help to continue to clean up the damage caused by the Exotic Pet Trade in this country and abroad.

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