Why did the cats of Big Cat Rescue move to Arkansas?
Big Cat Rescue entered into an agreement with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, an accredited sanctuary in Arkansas, to move all but one of Big Cat Rescue’s cats to Turpentine Creek where we will continue to fund their care for the rest of their lives after the Big Cat Public Safety Act passed in December 2022. Find the details at BigCatRescue.org/moving.
Tiger toys are heading to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
September 28, 2023
9 hours into the trip and Max, Simba and Kimba have been snoozing the whole time. We are making good time and the skies have been overcast most of the day which really helps keep the trailer cooler. Soft hay beds, A/C and the hum of the highway make for perfect napping conditions.
September 28, 2023 PM– A few photos from evening meds and snacks.
September 29, 2023
Max, Simba and Kimba have all arrived safely at Turpentine Creek. They have been shifted from their transports into their roofed sections of their enclosures.
September 30, 2023
This morning we opened the doors to the habitats at the Freedom Field for the first set of relocated tigers Max, Simba and Kimba. All three boys were transported from Big Cat Rescue to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge this week.
We arrived at TCWR early Friday morning and unloaded Max, Simba and Kimba into their roofed sections where their large heated dens are located. This is also where they are fed and have water. We gave them time to acclimate to their new surroundings throughout the day and over night. The cats will have free access to their yards and their roofed section with the exception of being shut in one or the other for cleaning or maintenance.
This morning we gave them all access to their yards. Simba was the first to go out and explore. He made several rounds checking out the perimeter and then moved on to sniff a large stree stump for scratching. He was very chuffy and made sure to say “Hi” to everyone who was there for this special day.
Max took a little bit to get motivated but once he was he started clocking in his usual morning steps. He checked out the perimeter for a while then made a trip down the middle of the enclosure before settling in for a rest in a shady spot. Max also made sure everyone got their dose of chuffs. It was so amazing to see how much he has changed since his arrival at BCR. He was no longer petrified and emotionally shut down, instead he was brave with his keeper friends by his side. Max and Simba will be alternating yard access daily for the next couple weeks while the enclosure for Max is finished up. Unfortunately weather had delayed the work prior to our arrival.
Kimba was last to explore and waited until everyone had left (even us unfortunately). Once out in the yard he seemed very interested in the new space looking around curiously. In a short video clip we received he seemed so relaxed.
It was truly wonderful to see the wide open spaces the tigers will all have. It’s like vacation every day for them. In no time they will also have platforms, pools, and more foliage. Each addition will make the space new and exciting all over again.
The entire trip went so smoothly and working with the team at TCWR has been so enjoyable.
As of now we do not have dates set for the next set of cats. Victor and I will be shepherding every last one to their new homes over the next few months and I will do my best to keep everyone updated on these future trips and the outcomes.
October 1, 2023
There’s always something unexpected when on the road. We were 8 hrs from home when this happened. A complete blow out on the trailer. It was so sudden and jarring we thought we had hit something. With a very narrow shoulder Victor changed the tire out for a flat one we had already swapped while at Turpentine. It was completely flat and had wire showing through the tread but it was our only option as we were 18 miles from the nearest exit. While Victor changed the tire I flagged people away from the shoulder and Afton looked up the nearest place to get tires. $1,000 later we had 3 new tires, an air compressor to make quick work of it (which will come in handy on the road during future trips), as well as some traffic cones for any future events. The entire ordeal was very stressful, but we are glad we had an empty trailer at the time. We are back on the road and will be getting home late, but at least we are set now. This came as an unexpected expense, just thankful we are all OK.
October 19, 2023
On the road with some very precious cargo. These three beautiful ladies, Aria, Dutchess and Jasmine will soon take their first steps into the Freedom Field and be reunited with their friends Simba, Max and Kimba
October 19, 2023
Thursday evening travel update from Jamie~ Everyone is doing great and there were lots of chuffs when we did our evening check. Aria took her meds, Dutchess had a snack and all three had their water topped off. Jasmine wasn’t hungry but was in good spirits.
October 21, 2023
Victor’s baby girl Aria had a blast this morning. It was surprising because we thought of all the girls she may be the one who took the longest to trust her new surroundings but NOPE! She was all about it and spent the entire morning playing. It was so great to see her enjoying herself so much. She has come so far. Definitely a big piece of our heart lives in Arkansas now.
Jasmine took a little encouragement from Erin, Victor and me but once she was out in her yard she seemed mesmerized with the views. She was also very interested in both Max and Aria
November 29, 2023
𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐈𝐒 𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐈 𝐂𝐀𝐍 𝐆𝐔𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐄 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐃𝐎𝐍’𝐓 𝐖𝐀𝐍𝐓 𝐓𝐎 𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐒!
Jamie, Victor, Afton and Erin discussing the days events before heading to Arkansas!
𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋 𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐉𝐀𝐌𝐈𝐄~
11 29 2023~ All the cats did well overnight. We set up a heater in the trailer for them to keep nice and warm. Shortly after getting back on the road this morning we stopped for breakfast. Ariel, Kewlona and Lakota ate very well. MaryAnn pigged out lol. Max, Dryden, Val and Sioux were not interested but were all left a snack for later should they change their minds. We should be arriving at Turpentine early this evening.
November 30, 2023
We arrived safely in Arkansas! Everyone was safely unloaded and put in their new enclosures. Max was the only one who came out right away. Lakota was very interested but hadn’t ventured out before we left. On and off rain kept most of them from wanting to leave their snuggly crates filled with hay.
We left their crates so they could come out on their own time.
It was so nice to see Jasmine enjoying her new home at Turpentine. She really seems to be enthralled with her neighbor Max too. She was all chuffs for us
Simba being extra nosey during our recent trip
Max has been so active since he has moved to the Freedom Field. I have never seen him play so much in all the years he was at BCR. He is really loving the cooler weather. When Victor and I visited him he was being such a show off playing with his enrichment box and chasing after and tackling his toys. It was so good to see him this way. He is also quite enthralled with Emily. He followed her wherever she went while we were visiting the tigers.
Dutchess and Aria update
Checking in on Dutchess and Aria as they show us their new habitats
December 12, 2023
6 𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝑨𝒓𝒌𝒂𝒏𝒔𝒂𝒔
Please send paw-sitive thoughts and prayers for safe travels for Jamie, Victor and the cats as they make this trip to Arkansas.
December 12, 2023 pm
Flint and the others have settled in and are relaxed on their trip to Arkansas.
December 13, 2023
𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐎𝐍 𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋𝐄𝐑𝐒! ~from Jamie
Everyone did very well overnight and they all ate their snacks that were left if they didn’t eat them during PM meds and food.
This morning Mrs Claws, Nabisco and Diablo were the big eaters. Each eating a very nice sized meal. Mrs and Nabisco had their faces smooshed up to the doors impatiently waiting for each piece given in rapid fire. Diablo really liked the chicks, fish and chicken but said yuck to beef. Philmo took his meds and ate a couple pieces. He was left a snack for the road. Flint is angry pants and would not eat off a stick but ate all his overnight snacks. Same with Smalls. Flint and Smalls were both left snacks.
December 14, 2023
𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐉𝐀𝐌𝐈𝐄 𝐎𝐍 𝐀𝐑𝐑𝐈𝐕𝐀𝐋 𝐓𝐎 𝐀𝐑𝐊𝐀𝐍𝐒𝐀𝐒!
The second load of small cats arrived safely at Turpentine Creek last night. This morning Diablo took his meds well and he, Mrs Claws and Nabisco all ate breakfast.
After morning snacks we drove everyone down to the Freedom Field. Christmas trees were unloaded for all of our small cats and tigers. Interns and staff put trees in for all the cats arriving today and shifted all the cats who were already there into their smaller sections so trees could be put in later on today.
Prebuilt platforms were also unloaded and put in enclosures for Smalls, Philmo and Mrs Claws. (Victor and I constructed these the evening before leaving town as a trial and they worked out well so we plan on bringing more for each of the bobcats on our next trip.)
Nabisco was first to explore his new digs. He rubbed and peed on every den, log, tree, and toy in the enclosure. Flint was soon to follow and checked out the whole area before settling into one of the tree stump dens to watch Nabisco being a goofball. Max and Mary Ann recognized the pair and watched as they explored. Nabisco and Flint also saw Max and Mary Ann and cooed across the way at them. Nabisco was definitely the star of the show and spent the entire morning checking out every square inch of his new space. He was also very interested in the work crew building serval enclosures nearby.
Nabisco stole the show!
Mrs Claws also came out right away and immediately checked out her heated den. She went in and out of the den several times while we were there and explored her enclosure in between visits to the den. She seemed very curious about everything.
Philmo, Smalls and Diablo all stayed in their crates. We did not want to rush them so left them alone to come out on their own time. Philmo was standing up and looking out at his surroundings by the time we left.
Max and Mary Ann were very curious about all the new neighbors moving in. They perched on top of their heated den box watching all the activity. Max loved his Christmas tree and immediately ran over to it to start rubbing on it and marking it has his own. Later on he lounged in the sun on his swinging bench.
Sioux and Lakota were snuggled up in their tree stump den watching the new cats explore. They looked nice and warm soaking up the morning sun.
Kewlona, Dryden, Ariel and Val were all in their heated dens while we were there so we did not get to see them. We are just happy they are using the dens and that they really seem to enjoy the warmth and privacy they offer.
All the tigers were happy to see us and get their trees as well. Simba grabbed his and ran around his enclosure with it in his mouth before flopping to the ground to bunny kick it. Max straddled his and picked pine needles from it over and over making stinky face and drooled all over the place. Dutchess, Aria and Jasmine all checked out there trees for a quick minute then got back to rolling in the grass, sunning and following us around the enclosures.
Simba enjoying his Christmas Tree!
Max enjoying his Christmas Tree!
Before we left we installed the shade cloths that were recently donated to provide visual barriers for the perches attached to the side of the enclosures as well as above each heated den. The shade cloths provide a little extra privacy but do not completely block the view for the cats. They can still see through them but hopefully will feel a little more comfortable being out in the open until all their plants and grasses grow in during the coming months.
December 27, 2023
The remaining 13 cats are safely on their way to Arkansas. Winter Bobcat will be staying behind. If you missed that update you can find it at: https://bigcatrescue.org/winter/
Thank you to the onsite staff and keepers who have worked so hard to make this move easier for the cats and who have cared for them for the past 31+ years! Without you these cats and those who came before them would not have known the loving care they found when they came to Big Cat Rescue! From the moment they were rescued they only knew love, amazing care, good food, soft grass and room to roam.
Thank you to our donors and supporters for all of your paw-sitive support during this move and over the last 31 years! This wouldn’t have been paw-sible without you!
Please stay with us as we make the transition to saving cats in the wild. We aren’t going anywhere. We would love to take you on this next journey with us!
December 28, 2023
𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐉𝐀𝐌𝐈𝐄
The cats have arrived safely in Arkansas and are settled in for the night.
December 29, 2023
𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐅𝐑𝐎𝐌 𝐉𝐀𝐌𝐈𝐄
All the cats arrived safely at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge last night. They were set up with a heater overnight in the trailer to keep them nice and warm. Early this morning they enjoyed breakfast before being transported to Freedom Field.
Staff and interns unloaded all the new platforms for the bobcats and hybrids along with approximately 30 Christmas trees. Each of the BCR cats arriving today were given a tree and the remaining trees will go to some of the TCWR cats.
Beacher was very talkative and ready to come out and explore. He checked out his entire enclosure before finding a nice patch of grass to munch on. By the afternoon Diablo was out and about reconnecting with his favorite buddy across the way.
Diablo is so happy to see Beacher!
Be sure your sound is up!
Lovey was unsure of the new space and the new people so opted to remain in her crate until the coast was clear.
Shiloh came running out of the crate. He was a bit stiff at first from the long trip but wasted no time checking out his new home. By the afternoon he was completely settled and relaxed in the new space.
Summer was unloaded next. Everyone waited excitedly to see this special girl but she was not ready to explore. She remained in her crate throughout the day, however just as the sun was setting she started to get more and more curious. I have no doubt she will be exploring tonight.
Hutch, Moses and Bailey will be neighbors and share a heated building. Hutch was shifted into his indoor area and immediately started sniffing all the furnishings including a kiddy pool filled with mulch and a coolaroo bed. He approved and started rubbing on everything. He was also very curious about his outdoor habitat and peeked his head out through the door flaps several times. Moses unloaded easily. Stiff from the ride he walked slowly around the indoor area checking it all out. Bailey’s crate was put in the outdoor section. She was still upset from the trip and wanted nothing to do with anything. Moses eventually found his way outside and tried all afternoon to get her to come out. His way of “helping” was to stand in the doorway of Bailey’s crate which infuriated her even more. Hopefully over night she will settle down once all the people are gone for the day.
Nala and Illithia are now neighbors housed in the next building over. Illithia came out right away and after a quick look around she set up camp under her coolaroo bed. Nala was a little more hesitant so was left in the crate to get more comfortable while we unloaded the rest of the cats. Their outdoor habitats were getting finishing touches so they only have access to their indoor space for now.
Ginger and Zucari were next to be moved into their new spaces. Ginger came out right away and wasted no time making a trip to the litter box. She was very interested in everything but not so sure about the spectators so went back into her crate. Zucari refused to leave his hay bed in his crate and by the end of the day the crate which had been strapped to the door of his indoor area was caged in so he can take his time overnight. Their outdoor areas were still being worked on, but hopefully in a day or two they will have access.
Cyrus and Chaos were last to be unloaded. Cyrus came out right away and hopped up on his coolaroo bed. Chaos was being shy and did not want to come out right away. They too are awaiting access to the outdoor habitats. Only a few finishes need to be completed. (Note all of these finishing touches and the outdoor African cat enclosures were done in just a couple of days)
Towards the end of the day all the other bobcats were coming out of their heated dens for their evening walks. Flint scratched his giant log while Nabisco tried to spray us. Max and Mary Ann were snuggled together. Smalls was being a total ham, rolling all over the ground, zooming about and showing us all of her favorite things. Her purr was so loud you could hear it from 15 feet away. Philmo watched her antics from atop his heated den. Mrs lounged in her tree stump den watching Sioux and Lakota roaming about. Kewlona and Dryden were out and about, but slunk away when they realized we were watching. Val was in her heated den as was Ariel.
Smalls showing off for Jamie, Afton and Erin!
Sound up for loud purrs!!
So what’s next for Big Cat Rescue?
For thirty one years the mission of Big Cat Rescue has been expressed as having three prongs: to give the best life we could to the cats in our care, to stop the abuse, and to avoid extinction of big cats in the wild.
The passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act in December, 2022, which has been Big Cat Rescue’s greatest accomplishment, has essentially stopped all cub petting and exploitation of big cats and will decrease the need for sanctuaries like Big Cat Rescue. Now we can focus on that third prong of saving big cats in the wild.
The threats to many species of big cat in the wild are not off in the distant future. They are very real right now. Now that we have no cats at the sanctuary, (other than Winter) we will sell the sanctuary property and use the proceeds to fund these species-saving projects in the wild. Supporting our cats in larger enclosures at Turpentine Creek, at much lower cost per cat than we incur by continuing to operate Big Cat Rescue, has freed up resources to let us do much more to save big cats in the wild. Having ended most of the abuse of big cats via the Big Cat Public Safety Act, focusing on the third prong of our mission, i.e., maximizing the amount we can donate to in situ projects to save the cats from extinction, is the best way to fulfill our mission and impact the most cats going forward.
Our plans are to use the funds from the sale of the sanctuary grounds to fund more conservation programs in the wild for exotic cats. We work with Dr. Jim Sanderson to find legitimate conservation partners who are making the biggest impacts for small wildcats. Follow our work to save big cats in the wild at BigCatRescue.org/Insitu
Jamie and Victor plan to travel with Dr. Sanderson to meet some of the people and organizations that we currently support and to find new opportunities to fund projects that help mitigate human/wildcat conflicts. With all of Jamie’s knowledge of running a sanctuary and a rescue, rehab and release program she can help these in-situ partners improve their efficacy.
Jamie takes great pride in the current bobcat rehab program and we are still working on how we will do that once the main property is sold. The most likely options are adding rehab capability to another sanctuary or enhancing the capabilities of an existing rehabber. When we know we will let you know.
Continue to follow us on social media as we share more information about our Insitu partners and the exciting adventures of Jamie and Victor at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, LinkedIn and TikTok.