EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. — Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is rescuing at least 8 big cats from Wildlife In Need (WIN), a pseudo-sanctuary located in Indiana.
According to TCWR, WIN profited from hands-on animal interaction activities for years only to lose their license at the beginning of 2020.
In 2017, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against Stark for, “allowing big-cat cubs to interact with the public, separating mother cats and their infants, declawing, and possessing the tigers, lions, and tiger/lion hybrids (big cats) on Stark’s premises who were unlawfully taken in violation of the ESA (Endangered Species Act).”
According to a press release on PETA’s website:
“The court found that Stark’s declawing procedures (about which he said he didn’t ‘give a sh*t what [a veterinarian’s] opinion’ was) were ‘a gross failure to meet the accepted standards of medical care,’ that premature separation ‘deprives [cubs] of vital components that help develop a healthy immune system,’ and that cub petting ‘also subjects cubs to extreme stress.’ The court also held Stark, Lane, and WIN responsible for the maternal separation of cubs they had acquired from other traffickers, because cub-petting events “created a demand for young [c]ubs.”
TCWR says it has been preparing for this rescue for several months by relocating animals to different parts of the sanctuary, ensuring roll-cages are in proper condition and having staff on stand-by to leave within moment’s notice.
The organization has been working closely with PETA to ensure the big cats have a smooth, safe transition to their new home.
Extra precautions are being taken during the trip to Indiana, given the COVID-19 pandemic.
TCWR wrote on social media:
"Due to the kindness and generosity of IDEXX Veterinary Laboratories, the newly-rescued animals will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at no cost to the Refuge. The animals will be quarantined, per usual rescue standards, upon arrival to TCWR.
TCWR would like to thank C. Martin for providing $15,000 in matching funds to support fundraising efforts for the rescue."
Click here if you would like to help the new animal residents of TCWR start their new, safe, peaceful lives can make a donation directly to support rescue efforts.