Turpentine Creek to host habitat grand opening Jan. 21

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) will hold a grand opening for a new big cat habitat at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21.

This habitat, along with another that is still under construction, stands where the original enclosures were once located behind the gift shop.

"This habitat is a major steppingstone towards a bright future for all the animals that call TCWR home," the refuge said in a news release. "It will be one of the larger habitats at the refuge, sitting on over 10,000 square feet of land."

In September 2015, the last animals moved out of the old enclosures and into grassy habitats.

"This was a milestone and a major accomplishment for TCWR," the news release said. "Only days after the last animals were moved into habitats, they began demolishing the old enclosures with the ultimate goal of building two large habitats in their place. In late 2016, TCWR began building the first habitat on the settled plot of land. It is only through the generosity of TCWR's supporters, donations and team's hard work that this habitat could be completed so quickly."

Four big cats -- Joey, an orange tigress; Aurora, a white tigress; Khaleesi, a golden tabby tigress; and Lakota, a male ti-liger -- will call the new habitat home. These four big cats were part of the "Colorado Project." In September 2016, TCWR brought 27 animals to Arkansas from Colorado from a facility that they had taken over. The four big cats were temporarily housed in a cougar habitat until the new habitat was completed.

TCWR will release the four big cats for the first time into the new habitat during the grand opening. The new habitat has a large three-tiered bench, fire hose area, rock bench, and other engaging enrichment items to keep the four young cats entertained.

The public is invited to the grand opening.

"TCWR looks forward to seeing the many guests that will join them for what is expected to be entertaining event," the news release said.

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