EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The eight big cats rescued from Wildlife In Need, Inc. (WIN) in Indiana have been safely relocated to Arkansas, according to a release from Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday.
The rescue team returned to Arkansas on Saturday at 2 a.m. with four lions and four tigers. Later that morning, the new Turpentine Creek residents were released into their habitats.
According to the refuge, for many of the animals, it was their first time to feel grass beneath their paws.
All of the big cats are suffering a “certain amount of health concerns.”
Chief, a 15-year-old male lion, and his mate, Mauri, are reportedly in the greatest need of medical care. According to Turpentine Creek, the pair is battling a parasitic infection.
Chief has reportedly been eating well since his arrival at Turpenine Creek, and, if his strength continues to improve, the refuge says it will sedate him on Sunday for a full wellness exam.
Other animals rescued include: Savanna (six-year-old lioness), Ungowwa (eight-year-old lioness), Hurricane (14-year-old male tiger), Avalanche, (14-year-old male tiger), Glacier (10-year-old male white tiger), and Miles (a female tiger, age unspecified).
According to Turpentine Creek, the big cats were provided free feline COVID-19 screenings by IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
The animals have been started on healthy diets with supplements and medication to suit their individual needs, the refuge says.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued Wildlife In Need and its owners for violation of the Exotic Species Act of 1973.