Disclaimer: Being an animal advocate, I do not agree with wild animals being confined to cages or small enclosures, however this particular refuge was founded with the specific purpose of providing rescue and rehabilitation to great cats that have been abused, neglected or displaced from around Central America and the USA. Most of these animals are from circuses, private homes (where they were neglected, malnourished and kept in cruel conditions), saved from a “working-life” for profit for their owners or otherwise have been abused or abandoned and have nowhere else to go. In the place of euthanisation, these cats have been taken in by Tiger Creek and given a place to “retire” and live out the rest of their lives in peace. They are not able to be released and have never known the wild, so this is literally their last chance. For this reason, I support this Wildlife Refuge wholeheartedly and hope you will too.
Welcome to Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge
Tiger Creek’s mission and goals
Our guided tour begins.
This is El Jefe, a Groffroy’s Cat, a wild cat native to South America. Similar in size to a domestic house cat with beautiful markings, much like a Bengal. El Jefe and his sister, Roraima, were rescued as kittens from a facility in Arkansas after their litter was born with no space to be housed.
This is TinCup, a Puma rescued from New Mexico after being found and attacked by dogs. He was supposed to be euthanised as there was no rescue or rehabilitation facility for pumas in the area, but got a chance at survival and a new lease on life at Tiger Creek.
Cleo the Serval, together with Dakari, from a facility in North Carolina after an accidental breeding of their servals and no place else to go. They are part of the limited Animal Ambassador program at Tiger Creek to help educate and connect people (particularly children) with the threatened and endangered species.
Tara, a Bengal Tiger, was rescued as a cub after her owners had to move house and didn’t have room for her anymore (!). She had metabolic bone disease and extremely brittle bones so needed rehabilitation and extra calcium in her diet to help her grow properly. She has a bob tail and is a very small tiger, but is now thriving in her Tiger Creek home.
Meet Kumari and Arula, both rare Golden Tabby Bengal Tigers rescued from a research facility in South Carolina. This is a recessive gene that some bengal tigers carry and there are believed to be none left in the wild.
Amara, (who shares my birthday!) a Bengal Tiger rescued from a private owner who thought it was entertaining to allow her to “play” with the owner’s Rottweiler. Amara was scared and beaten and the local authorities removed her from this owner and placed her with Tiger Creek. It took months of rehabilitation to settle the frightened and stressed cub, and now she lives with Sierra, one of Michael Jackson’s former tigers from Netherland Ranch.
Amir (meaning “Prince” in Hebrew), a Siberian Tiger from a private owner in Kansas who came as a “surprise” when his parents bred and the owners didn’t have room for him. Siberian tigers are the largest of the tiger species, and Amir weighs in at over 450 pounds!
The saddest story of all… Pepe and Scrunches were rescued from Cancun, Mexico along with seven other African Lions. They had originally been with a breeder who used them for profit, then were given to a lady who completely neglected and malnourished them, keeping them in a concrete pen and feeding only chicken necks. They were bald from malnourishment and ring worm, and sadly several of the lions died from disease and underdevelopment. Due to malnutrition as a cub, Scrunches didn’t develop properly. She has trouble walking and is quite deformed, with the facial appearance of a bulldog rather than a lion, and an overbite which meant her top two canine teeth had to be removed to allow her to eat properly and stop them digging into her own jaw. She has regular pain medication to help her manage, although has been doing exceptionally well since arriving at Tiger Creek.
Pepe’s mane never quite developed properly and he is around 150 pounds smaller than he should be for his age.
Kenya joined the pride from a circus, although she had a terrible declawing job which has left her crippled and in pain (circuses don’t generally declaw cats). The rehabilitation has helped with the pain, however she will always limp. Declawing a cat is the equivalent to taking off a human’s finger tips just below the nail bed, and causes incredible stress and pain to the animal. Kenya suffered a great deal more due to a botched declaw job, so you can only begin to imagine the suffering this poor cat has gone through!
Together this pride bring hope to all suffering animals in the hands of ignorant and often cruel humans! They are all happy and thriving now in their “retirement-home” at Tiger Creek.
Before leaving, I gotta get some “selfies” in…!
…best vending machine ever!!!
Paying respects to the fallen.
Taking in the surrounding scenery.
Admiring the artwork.
Saying goodbye to the ferocious Lion Puff, the resident bunny.
Then off we go, into the sunset… thanks for the heartfelt stories Tiger Creek, I’ll remember them always! XO