Why TCWR was Formed - Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Part 3
May 27, 2011
In 1978, the Jackson Family was living in Northeast Texas. They acquired their first lion, Bum, when Tanya Jackson Smith, who is now the President of TCWR, was only 8 years old. By 1982, the family had another lion named Sheila, and the Jacksons had met many other people who either had, or wanted to have, a big cat as a pet at their home. However, it soon became evident from speaking with these "big cat pet owners" all over the country that more needed to be done and that a refuge would be necessary for the welfare of these animals.
The turning point came in 1992 when a breeder and black market dealer showed up on the Jackson's doorstep with 38 big cats crammed into two cattle trailers. The breeder was on the run from the law in Texas and desperately needed to find a home for the cats. A friend of the Jackson family had a ranch in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and offered a temporary space for the cats. The Jacksons stepped up to this challenge, selling their belongings, moving over 300 miles to Arkansas, and humbly going to work for the benefit of the animals.
They were eventually able to buy this property, creating a permanent home of the 500 acre ranch near Eureka Springs, and building the cages and facilities necessary for all the big cats, as well as other animals that had been brought to the refuge. From these beginnings nearly 20 years ago to today, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has been home to over 300 big cats from 11 different states.
They will be visiting Mid-Continent Public Library for the 8th year in a row starting on June 6th. Come learn about the refuge and their mission, as well as to see a couple of the current big cat residents!
The cats will be here at the Excelsior Springs Branch on June 8th at both 2 p.m. and at 3 p.m. You can call us for more information at 630-6721.
Excelsior Springs Branch
Check back here next week for Part 4 in this blog series!
Statistics courtesy of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge