Kimba, Simba, and Max Tiger Arrived at the Freedom Field
My dear Big Cat Rescuers,
It is a bittersweet time for all of us as we began the relocation of our precious friends with three beloved tigers: Kimba, Simba, and Max. They are now at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, where they will live in larger enclosures and receive the care they deserve until their golden years. This is the first step in our plan to relocate all our exotic cats to the GFAS accredited sanctuary, TCWR, over the next few months.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who are staying with us, in order to ensure that our cats continue to get the love, care, enrichment, and attention they deserve. Your dedication and love for these animals are immeasurable. Jamie & Victor will probably make 5 or 6 trips between now and the end of the year to move our precious cats. Each trip takes about 18-24 hours and they will be able to monitor the cats with cameras, C02 sensors, and temperature sensors to make sure they are as comfortable as possible.
Dr. Liz Wynn came to give the first two loads of tigers their health certificates and travel papers. Dr. Justin Boorstein came the morning of the first move, just in case we had to tranquilize a tiger to load them, but thanks to the essential operant conditioning our keepers have been doing with them, even the reticent Kimba loaded easily. It’s never easy to say goodbye, but we must remember that this move is in the best interest of our big cats. At TCWR, they’ll have more space, more keepers, better weather, and a full-time vet to ensure their well-being.
Kimba’s new space is built in such a way that no one other than his keepers will ever see him unless he chooses to be seen, as he has nothing but beautiful vistas, over wooded hills, on two sides, his den on one side and Simba Tiger’s space on the other side. Maybe the Explore Cams will see him, as those will be live soon.
This transition also allows us to sell our land, which in turn will provide the funding needed for the lifelong care of our cats and support meaningful conservation efforts to save exotic cat species from extinction. It’s an emotionally difficult decision, but it’s one that aligns with our mission to protect and preserve the most wild cats possible.
There’s another significant development to share. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, a cause we’ve championed since 1998, became law in December 2022 and fully enforceable in June 2023. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has brought its first case on Sept. 27, 2023 under this act, and it serves as a reminder of why our work is so crucial.
The recent arrest of an Alamo, Texas couple for allegedly selling protected wildlife, including a jaguar cub and a margay, highlights the urgent need for laws like the Big Cat Public Safety Act. This legislation is a vital step in preventing the illegal trade of exotic cats and protecting endangered species like jaguars. By moving our cats to TCWR, it enables us to do more to assist in enforcing the Big Cat Public Safety Act and to save wildcats, in the wild, where they belong.
Rafael Gutierrez-Galvan and Deyanira Garza now face the consequences of their actions, with potential federal prison sentences and fines. It sends a clear message that the law is taking a stand against those who exploit these magnificent cats.
Let us continue to be the voice for the voiceless, and let the world know that we are making strides in the fight for the protection and conservation of big cats. Thank you for your unwavering support, and please keep our travelers in your thoughts.
If you are curious about their new digs in Arkansas, check out this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i4ZdnAMQQM…
See LIVE walkabouts and photo and video updates at: https://www.facebook.com/TurpentineCreekWildlifeRefuge