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Posted: Dec 09, 2021 10:25 AMUpdated: Dec 09, 2021 10:29 AM

Jake Joins the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Family

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Garrett Giles

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge welcomes its newest rescue, an almost two-year-old male African serval.

It began on Friday, December 3, when Tanya Smith, President and Founder of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, received a call for help in her capacity as Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA) Rescue Committee Chair. A rehabilitation facility, Wildcare Oklahoma, needed to find placement for several animals including a young intact male serval.

Wildcare Oklahoma typically works to rehabilitate native wildlife for eventual return to the wild but on rare occasions takes on confiscated animals. In April of 2021, Wildcare Oklahoma received 81 animals that were being kept within city limits, many suffering from various levels of neglect. The animals were held in the care of Wildcare Oklahoma until the conclusion of the related court case. Having found the majority of animal’s placement at accredited AZA facilities or other reputable caretakers, Wildcare Oklahoma still had a need to place a young intact male serval.

Servals are native to sub-Saharan Africa and have special requirements to survive North American winters. They must have access to a heated den as they can suffer from the effects of cold, including frostbite to their ears, tails, and feet. Fortunately, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge had heated space available and was also the closest BCSA member sanctuary that takes in the smaller exotic cats.

On Saturday, Tanya and Scott Smith drove to meet the Wildcare Oklahoma team near Tulsa to transport the young serval back to the Refuge near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The newest member to join the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge family came without a name. Lifelong supporters, James (Jake) and Linda Jacobson, stepped up and committed to sponsor the new addition for life and he is named Jake in their honor.

Jake has proven to be a little shy since his arrival, preferring to stay in his heated den. True to his serval nature he hisses quite dramatically whenever he is approached. He has been under veterinarian care since April when he was taken in at Wildcare Oklahoma and is in excellent health. His date of birth is unknown but he is guesstimated to be about two-years-old. The team at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge plans to give Jake plenty of time to settle into his new habitat while building trust with his new caretakers.

Jake is the eighteenth rescue Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has made this year. The first was the spotted hyena, Rambo, in February which was followed closely by servals CeCe and JJ. In May, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge assisted the Department of Justice and provided sanctuary to ten big cats. One of those cats came to the Refuge pregnant and gave birth to 3 cubs shortly after arrival bringing the total to 13 related to that pending court case. The last was Sasha, the 11-month-old cougar rescued from an apartment in New York City.

Tanya Smith was quoted as saying, “Our team can only continue to rescue and care for the animals we provide lifetime homes to because of generous donors like you.”

Consider Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge for your year-end donations to help them help as many animals that need rescuing in the future, like Jake, the newest rescued serval that they have welcomed to their family.

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