Turpentine Creek rescues 'pet' bobcats after flooding
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge team members traveled to west central Arkansas on Tuesday to pick up two male bobcats, Prince and Tony, who were being kept as pets, after their previous owner was displaced by Arkansas River floodwaters. The organization partnered with the International Fund for Animal Welfare to conduct the rescue.
TCWR retrieved the bobcats, who are less than a year old, from a woman who explained that police officers had rescued the animals just in time from a flooded home. The woman said their cages had been submerged in water up to their bellies.
Under direction of the flood victim, police officers transferred Prince and Tony higher ground and placed them in the care of the woman who contacted TCWR at approximately 10 p.m. Monday night. Being unfamiliar with bobcat care, she began contacting other animal welfare organizations the next day in hopes of finding a trained facility to take them and was directed to Turpentine Creek.
After receiving the call and locating a route that wasn’t impacted by flooding, Turpentine Creek team members set off on the rescue mission mid-afternoon Tuesday. Because of high waters, they were redirected several times before obtaining the bobcats and returning to the refuge at approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Prince and Tony were allegedly taken from the wild in October of last year. TCWR’s immediate concerns for the pair are nutritional deficiency from being fed only cat food by their previous owner, as well as evident muscle atrophy in their back legs. According to the woman who contacted TCWR, the previous owner had housed the brothers in “two little dog crates” and would occasionally allow them to alternate time in a small dog run.
As TCWR’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweeley, conducts full wellness exams for each of them, they will be quarantined in the onsite Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital to ensure they have no diseases that will transfer to the sanctuary’s other animal residents. Currently, Prince and Tony have to be separated from each other because of aggression, but it is believed that neutering them may solve that issue and allow them to be released into a habitat together.
TCWR President Tanya Smith expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support and well-wishes the team received as they conducted the rescue.
“Thank you to everyone who kept us in your thoughts yesterday during our travels and a special thank you to ifaw for your partnership during this rescue,” Smith said. “We are happy to report that Prince and Tony, as well as the rest of us, made it home safe and sound late last night. We hope you will continue to support our newest animal residents by making a donation towards the lifetime care we will be providing them.”
Donations can be made online at https://www.turpentinecreek.org/support-us/donate-now/, over the phone by calling 479-253-5992, or by mail to 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, 72632.
Smith encouraged the public to follow Prince and Tony’s progress on Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge’s Facebook platform and Instagram page (@turpentinecreek).