My sister and I visited Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge yesterday and I was pretty impressed. It’s a not-for-profit rescue that does no breeding and only takes in animals that they’re sure they can care for properly. Most of the animals were raised as pets and grew up to be too much for the owners to handle. Unfortunately many times these animals were inbred resulting in a number of health defects and special needs. The caregivers are never in the habitats at the same time as the animals to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Most of the workers are unpaid biology and zoology interns so all of the money from admissions and gift shop purchases goes back to care for the animals. Many companies and farmers also donate food. 130 animals live on the property including primarily lions, tigers, and mountain lions as well as bears, a monkey named Goober, a liger, a coatimumdi, a coyote, and a talking parrot named Cecil.
In the pictures above are Karma the liger, Thor the lion, Rayne the mountain lion, and Bam Bam the grizzly. Rayne and Thor don’t live in the concrete compounds shown above as all the animals have large, very specific habitats on the property. $20 gets an adult through the door and then you have access to the self guided area that you can walk through and view several animals. Every hour a 45 minute walking tour leaves that will see many more animals and get additional information and backstory. Trolley tours are also available. At 4:20p you can see the animals being fed which is awesome. The property is massive and not all animals are included on the tour as some were abused and are now very aggressive toward humans. Most of the animals we saw just ignored us aside from one tiger who stalked us down the side of her habitat and then sprayed us. Probably the best thing to happen all day. If you’re in the northern Arkansas area and you like animals and appreciate responsible animal care, I would definitely recommend visiting.