Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

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Lions,Tigers, and Bam-Bam the Bear…Oh My!

For this week’s Adventure Arkansas we are taking a walk on the wild side, by visiting the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

So how did these creatures come to call the refuge home?

“Primarily rescue from the exotic pet trade people get them when they are little and they grow up and do not make good pets we bring them here give them the best care possible great vet care, great nutrition, and an amazing place to live for the rest of their lived,” said Assistant Curator Laurie Vanderwal.

And it’s the perfect time to go!

“Spring break is coming, the weather is getting better, it’s a great time to come out before the hot summer because the cats are much more active when it’s a little cooler out, so it’s an amazing time to come visit all these animals,” said Vanderwal.

They have recently been involved in a "beary" large animal rescue for both large cats and bears, but they need some help

“And we are doing a Bearneccesities campaign so what we are trying to do is raise funds to build an acre and a half acre enclosures for these bears that will be all natural for them and really the greatest bear habitats in the country we believe,” said Vanderwal.

They also have an intern program that Vanderwal attended herself, recent college graduates Hannah Wherry is 1 of 16 interns now.

“It’s really amazing that you’re the person who is not only prepping their diets, but feeding them, cleaning their enclosure and habitats,  and things like that, it’s really amazing that they look forward to seeing you every day cause they know you are the one feeding them so yeah it’s a really awesome opportunity,” said Wherry.

And they want to continue that education people, which is what Ike Wever, Promotions and Education Coordinator does.

“What we are able to do is educate people about protecting the environment out here and also the animals that live in that environment. It’s actually the 4th most lucrative industry in the world and a lot of people don’t realize it’s a problem unfortunately until something negative happens,” said Wever.

And you can feel good about coming because...

“The revenue goes right back to the animals,” said Wever

They have some unique animals as well.

“I’ve never seen a Liger or a Tiliger before, so this is pretty interesting,” said Allison Hahn

“I mean lions, tigers, and bears, how much more adventure can you get?” said Wever.

For this week’s Adventure Arkansas I’m Megan Graddy.

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