Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge needs help to save 34 big cats in danger.
The rescue is trying to arrange for permanent homes for the lions and tigers, after the sheriff and owner, who is 72-years-old and in failing health asked for help.
The current habitat these animals are living in is deteriorating quickly but the cost to relocate the animals is about $7,000 each.
Turpentine Creek is asking for donations, big or small, to save these cats.
To donate, click here.
Below is the press release sent out by TCWR.
On Monday, October 29, 2012, a dialog began between TCWR and the sheriff of a county where 34 big cats are housed at a private facility. Turpentine Creek was asked to help with the situation, so TCWR president and two staff members made arrangements to visit the animals to assess the severity of the problem. The county sheriff also was on hand for this visit, which was last week, Thursday, November 1, 2012.
The person owning the cats is 72 years old and in failing health. The youngest tiger is 14-15 years old: the owner was hoping to be able to care for all 34 of the cats until they succumb to a natural death. Most of the cats are healthy and should live to be 18-25 years old. The owner??s health is not going to hold up to see the plan through. Turpentine Creek has been asked to help by both the owner and the local sheriff.
The visit on November 1st was eye opening and the depth and magnitude of the situation became very evident. The problem had been compounded by cancelled expectations of help from another facility. Dens had been allowed to collapse without repair. Grounds maintenance and road upkeep had stopped some time ago and, as a result, no truck/trailer can access the animals. Equipment and tools are almost all in nonworking order and much needed repairs go undone. There is no running water to the animals so all/most of it must be hauled up and down the mountain on horrible paths accessible only by foot, four wheeler, or tractor. The cage construction is unsafe. It is amazing that no big cats were running loose. Safety by the gun of a sheriff is calming on one hand, yet it is unnerving to need such a presence on the other.
The 34 big cats that call this rugged, rocky, mountaintop home are, for the most part, doing well. A visual inspection of the animals revealed that a female tiger needed immediate veterinary care. The other 33 appeared fat and healthy. Although the living conditions of the animals have diminished, their health has not, yet.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge staff members have had to act fast to come up with a plan of action. The owner??s health is not good so we do not know how much time is available. The land the animals live on is not secure. If the owner were to die, the animals would be in serious trouble. Turpentine Creek's management team has assessed the problem and knows that it is too big to conquer quickly on our own. Tanya Smith, TCWR president, has been in contact with many reputable facilities and has received a definite "we have no cage space" from all but one. This one facility is actively assessing their ability to help. TCWR does have room for 8 big cats at this time, so plans were made to move the tiger in need of veterinary care first and pick up one other at the same time, filling the two-cat capacity of TCWR??s rescue trailer.
On November 5, 2012, TCWR's president, vice president, curator, and two biologists, made the trip to pick up the two tigers for relocation to the refuge with a stop at our veterinarian's clinic on the way back to the refuge. Upon TCWR??s arrival at the facility needing assistance, the county sheriff and two of his deputies met us along with the owner and two of her helpers. It was decided to first load India, a female Bengal tiger, followed by Chopper, the tigress that needs immediate care. Emily McCormack and Scott Smith (TCWR curator and vice president, respectively) watched from outside the perimeter fence while the owner and one helper loaded India into a roll cage. A half hour later India was successfully transported up the rocky hill to the TCWR rescue trailer. Chopper's trip did not go so well. After trying to load her into the roll cage for a long period of time, it was decided she would never load into the roll cage because she was "freaked out" by its presence. Time was running out to get her to the vet by 3:00 p.m. so the decision was made to anesthetize her and physically carry her to the trailer. Chopper made it to the vet on time and her surgery went well. Samples of the tumor she had were sent off for diagnostics but the vet was pretty sure it was cancerous. She woke up grumpy at the refuge the next morning but is doing well now.
There are 32 more big cats needing a life-long home. TCWR staff is doing all it can to arrange to help these needy animals. If you can afford to make a large donation, now is the time. If you cannot go large, any amount will help. Thanks so much for your assistance.
It is not realistic to build each of these magnificent creatures a huge habitat right now. The expense is too high. To relocate one big cat to safety and insuring its future will cost approximately $7,000.00. This amount will pay for the expenses of building a lockdown, with roof, and perimeter fence, plus setting it up for a habitat to be added easily later. Please help us, help those in need. I know this is a lot of money, but saving an endangered species is priceless. Thank you.
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