Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Rescues Dozens Of Big Cats From Colorado

EUREKA SPRINGS (KFSM) -- Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is at capacity once again after they were called out to a rescue in Colorado.

The owner of a sanctuary there surrendered dozens of big cats and bears when he wasn't able to take care of them anymore, 110 animals in all.

Twenty-seven of the big cats are now at Turpentine Creek and they hope to bring more to the refuge in the future.

"When you commit to a rescue you are committing to those animals for their lifetime,” Animal Curator Emily McCormack said.

McCormack said that this is likely the largest rescue in U.S. history.

"You can`t just say that you are going to take in 27 cats and know that you won`t be supported and be able to support those animals for the next 10 to 12 years,” she said.

Mccormack said she believes the man who owned the sanctuary in Colorado chose their refuge after seeing them commit to other rescues in the past.

"Sanctuaries' missions are rescuing animals and giving them a lifetime home. And so it`s absolutely unbelievable to help an animal get a forever home and give them a piece of grass and an area they can run around in and be a lion or tiger on,” she said.

Some of the rescued cats that are now at the refuge were previously part of magic shows in Las Vegas.

The more than 100 animals were living on just 11.7 acres in Colorado compared to the 459 acre refuge in Eureka Springs.

Turpentine Creek's founder Tanya Smith has been in Colorado for a month and she's been working with Tigers in America to make sure the rest of the more than 80 animals are going to a good home.

“We've looked at options of possibly opening up this facility here to just have an area presence because there are always animals that need rescued in this area also. So we've looked at that but I've only got about thirty days to come up with a business plan,” Smith said.

Turpentine Creek's goal is to find all the animals a place to live by Christmas, so far 50 of the more than 100 animals have been re-homed.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge has been in Eureka Springs since 1992.

They take in big cats from breeders, other sanctuaries and people who keep the animals as pets. The refuge is a nonprofit and appreciated donations all the time but especially during this major undertaking.