Eureka Springs, Arkansas is located in the expansive, lush, and peaceful Ozark Mountains, and southward of the colorful town is one of the United States’ reputable wildlife refuges, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed facility’s mission is “to provide lifetime refuge for abandoned, abused, and neglected ‘Big Cats’ with emphasis on Tigers, Lions, Leopards, and Cougars.” Chapter 9 of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Code Book states the regulations regarding the possession and introduction of native and non-native wildlife. Violations by the animal kingdom’s most powerful primates contribute to the unfortunate, but obligatory, existence of sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek, and allies who provide enforcement of wildlife protection laws.
When my wife and I visit my uncle and aunt in “The Natural State,” we schedule time to admire and support TCWR’s big cats and their peers, including bears, fowl, deer, and a monkey. Positive consensuses can be found on notable sites such as TripAdvisor and Facebook, expressing thoughts we share of the industrious, respectful staff and interns, and the exemplary care of the animals. Our first tour was in 2007, and in the summer of 2008, we booked our honeymoon vacation at one of the refuge’s rustic treehouses. The serenity of the landscape, with the auditory experience of tigers “chuffing” throughout the evening was soothing. An overdue return visit in the winter of 2014 had us stay again in a treehouse room. The following morning, we had a memorable tour shared with an inebriated man and his embarrassed girlfriend. Our guide was impressive, confident, and amicable. She answered questions intelligently, defending the dignity of the animals and environment. Viewing the wildlife elicits admiration and empathy and, for those responsible for their earlier abusive lives, anger. Each of our last three visits yielded multiple photos, with the best selections shared below. For more professional pictures, here are official ones from TCWR.
TCWR has several options for support, not limited to sponsorships, memberships, and overnight lodging.