EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Turpentine Creek will soon welcome some new big cats to the family, but the Arkansas wildlife refuge clarified that it is not merging with Carole Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue facility of “Tiger King” fame.

“Our mission is to provide lifetime refuge for big cats and we are honored to have been chosen to take these animals into our care, ” said Tanya Smith, President of TCWR.  “We developed a relationship with Big Cat Rescue (BCR) while advocating for the Big Cat Public Safety Act.  As BCR has decided to shift their focus to conservation and support of the industry, we are honored to re-home their cats.” 

According to a media release, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was approached and asked to take in BCR’s remaining cats. There is no professional affiliation between TCWR’s ownership, operations, or management and BCR.

Turpentine Creek launched a multi-phase capital campaign in 2021. The release noted that one stage has been completed and the next two will be expedited due to the plans to take in BCR’s cats.

An announcement from Big Cat Rescue on March 27 called the situation a “merger.” BCR noted the significant cost involved with operating a big cat sanctuary, adding that it reduced its staff by 50% due to COVID-19.

More information about the wildlife refuge is available here.