EUREKA SPRINGS -- Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Board of Director members Bill Plummer and Eric Studer recently visited "Jungle Jack" Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, for input on their initiative to relocate more than 30 big cats to the Eureka Springs refuge. Hanna and Columbus Zoo staff experts shared insights and suggestions on key issues, including community fundraising, habitat construction, and soliciting corporate sponsorships.
The Columbus Zoo team also provided an overview of new laws for private ownership of dangerous/endangered wildlife and its long-term impact on non-profit refuges and sanctuaries. TCWR recently reached the mid-point in orchestrating the relocation of 34 big cats from the Riverglen Refuge in Mountainburg, the largest wildlife rescue operation in the United States. Additional funding is being sought to build new habitats for the remaining tigers. "Saving 34 big cats is a monumental task," said Hanna. "It takes a lot of money to build large natural habitats for lifetime homes that Turpentine Creek is able to provide. The staff and interns at TCWR have done an excellent job so far -- now they need community and corporate financial support to bring this to a successful conclusion. Both large and small companies around the world have achieved very successful marketing and PR results through financial support of zoo's and non-profit wildlife sanctuaries like Turpentine Creek, so I'm confident they will meet their fundraising goal."
"I applaud their staff and supporters for all they've accomplished in such a short period of time. I hope to visit the refuge soon to see their results," added Hanna.
"Jack and the zoo staff provided excellent insight and advice on our efforts to save these endangered animals. We learned a great deal and made excellent contacts that will help our ongoing efforts to preserve wildlife for future generations," said Eric Studer, TCWR director. "I've known Jack 25 years, so I was not surprised by his personal contribution for our rescue operation. We are looking forward to seeing him in Northwest Arkansas during his appearance at the Walton Arts Center on May 3."
The refuge needs to raise an additional $100,000 to finalize habitat construction for the remaining Riverglen tigers. For rescue updates, donation information, and corporate sponsorship details, visit www.turpentinecreek.org or call 479-253-5841.