Rescued tigers adjusting well at refuge

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The eight big cats Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge recently rescued from Wildlife in Need, Inc., are doing well, according to a blog post on TCWR's website.

The blog post says the animals are enjoying their new habitats at TCWR, adding that big cats in captivity can live up to 20 years and it costs approximately $10,000 a year to care for a single big cat. To help TCWR care for the animals, visit

Wildlife in Need, Inc., owned by Tim Stark, was a pseudo-sanctuary located in Charlestown, Ind., featured in the popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. The blog post says TCWR was in a holding pattern waiting on the court case between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Stark to conclude. In August, when the court ruled in PETA's favor, TCWR began preparing for the rescue to come. The blog post says the court researched sanctuaries around the country, including background checks, accreditations and USDA reports to determine the best place for the animals to be placed. The federal judge decided TCWR was the best place for some of the animals to live out the rest of their lives, the blog post says.

According to a press release, the rescue team returned to Arkansas at 2 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, with four lions and four tigers in tow. Later that morning, TCWR's new animal residents were released into their habitats. For many, it was their first time to feel grass between their paws.

All the animals have a certain amount of health concerns, the release says, but Chief and his mate, Mauri, are in the greatest need of medical care. The 15-year-old male lion and 4-year-old lioness are battling a parasitic infection. Chief also displays significant muscle atrophy in his back legs, as well as skin ulcerations.

When the TCWR team arrived in Indiana, the release says, they were told Chief had not eaten in five days and had essentially shut down because of the hustle and bustle of animal relocations at WIN. Animal curator Emily McCormack administered fluids to the weak lion, the release says, which significantly boosted his demeanor.

The other animals rescued include Savanna (6-year-old lioness), Ungowwa (8-year-old lioness), Hurricane (14-year-old male tiger), Avalanche (14-year-old male tiger) and Glacier (10-year-old white tiger).

For more information on the rescue effort, visit

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