Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge wildlife refuge for abused, abandoned, and neglected big cats. The Eureka Springs, Arkansas, refuge houses 100 animals. It mainly specializes in tigers, but there are also lions, leopards, cougars, bobcats, black bears, ligers, servals, a monkey, a coatimundi and a grizzly bear. This refuge is a United States Department of Agriculture licensed facility. In 2012 Turpentine Creek rescued 34 big cats from a breeding facility.To accommodate this massive number of cats a secondary area was built, which is now referred to as “Rescue Ridge”. Many of the cats rescued from the facility were not used to human contact. To reduce stress to the animals this area is not open to the public.
Turpentine Creek has spent the past few years working to expand the refuge. The original area, now referred to as the “Compound” that contained smaller cages with cement flooring has been emptied. Turpentine has built spacious, grassy habitats ranging in size from 1/4 acre to 1/2 acre for the animals to live in over the past 14 years. As of Sept. 16th 2015, all of the small concrete cages that used to make up the majority of Turpentine Creek have been emptied. Sept. 17th 2015, demolition of the old “compound” area began. Turpentine Creek has an on-site Veterinary Hospital for the animals who reside at Turpentine Creek. The vet hospital is on Turpentine Creek’s property and makes giving the animals medical attention easier. Having a vet hospital on-site is less stress to the animals and reduces the risk of the animals, or any human around them, from getting injured.
The principal threats to big cats vary by geographic location, but primarily are habitat destruction and poaching. In Africa many big cats are hunted by pastoralists or government ‘problem animal control’ officers. Certain protected areas exist that shelter large and exceptionally visible populations of African leopards, lions and cheetahs, such as Botswana’s Chobe, Kenya’s Masai Mara, and Tanzania’s Serengeti. Rather, it is outside these conservation areas where hunting poses the dominant threat to large carnivores.The ability to roar comes from an elongated and specially adapted larynx and hyoid apparatus. When air passes through the larynx on the way from the lungs, the cartilage walls of the larynx vibrate, producing sound. The lion’s larynx is longest, giving it the most robust roar. All five extant members of the genus Panthera contain this elongated hyoid but due to differences in the larynx the snow leopard cannot roar. t is estimated that the ancestors of most big cats split away from the Felinae about 6.37 million years ago. The Felinae, on the other hand, comprises mostly small to medium-sized cats, including the domestic cats, but also some larger cats such as the cougar and cheetah. A 2010 study published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution has given insight into the exact evolutionary relationships of the big cats. The study reveals that the snow leopard and the tiger are sister species, while the lion, leopard, and jaguar are more closely related to each other. The tiger and snow leopard diverged from the ancestral big cats approximately 3.9 Ma. The tiger then evolved into a unique species towards the end of the Pliocene epoch, approximately 3.2 Ma. The ancestor of the lion, leopard, and jaguar split from other big cats from 4.3–3.8 Ma. Between 3.6–2.5 Ma the jaguar diverged from the ancestor of lions and leopards. Lions and leopards split from one another approximately 2 Ma. The earliest big cat fossil, Panthera blytheae, dating to 4.1−5.95 MA, was discovered in southwest Tibet.
It is well known as the Agriculture Department, is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and internationally. Many of the programs concerned with the distribution of food and nutrition to people of America and providing nourishment as well as nutrition education to those in need are run and operated under the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Activities in this program include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides healthy food to over 40 million low-income and homeless people each month. USDA is a member of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, where it is committed to working with other agencies to ensure these mainstream benefits are accessed by those experiencing homelessness. The USDA also is concerned with assisting farmers and food producers with the sale of crops and food on both the domestic and world markets. It plays a role in overseas aid programs by providing surplus foods to developing countries. This aid can go through USAID, foreign governments, international bodies such as World Food Program, or approved nonprofits. The Agricultural Act of 1949, section 416 and Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, also known as Food for Peace, provides the legal basis of such actions. The USDA is a partner of the World Cocoa Foundation. Early in its history, the economy of the United States was largely agrarian. Officials in the federal government had long sought new and improved varieties of seeds, plants and animals for import into the United States. In 1837 Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, a Yale-educated attorney interested in improving agriculture, became Commissioner of Patents, a position within the Department of State. He began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through members of the Congress and agricultural societies. In 1839, Congress established the Agricultural Division within the Patent Office and allotted $1,000 for “the collection of agricultural statistics and other agricultural purposes.”Ellsworth’s interest in aiding agriculture was evident in his annual reports that called for a public depository to preserve and distribute the new seeds and plants, a clerk to collect agricultural statistics, statewide reports about crops in different regions, and the application of chemistry to agriculture. Ellsworth was called the “Father of the Department of Agriculture. On May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture to be headed by a commissioner without Cabinet status, and the agriculturalist Isaac Newton was appointed to be the first such commissioner. Lincoln called it the “people’s department.” In 1868, the Department moved into the new Department of Agriculture Building in Washington, D.C. designed by famed DC architect Adolf Cluss. Located on Reservation No.2 on the National Mall between 12th Street and 14th SW, the Department had offices for its staff and the entire width of the Mall up to B Street NW to plant and experiment with plants. In the 1880s, varied advocacy groups were lobbying for Cabinet representation. Business interests sought a Department of Commerce and Industry, and farmers tried to raise the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet rank. In 1887, the House of Representatives and Senate passed bills giving Cabinet status to the Department of Agriculture and Labor, but the bill was defeated in conference committee after farm interests objected to the addition of labor. Finally, on February 9, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law elevating the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet level. Following long-standing concerns, black farmers joined a class action discrimination suit against the USDA filed in federal court in 1997. An attorney called it “the most organized, largest civil rights case in the history of the country.” Also in 1997, black farmers from at least five states held protests in front of the USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Protests in front of the USDA were a strategy employed in later years as the black farmers sought to keep national attention focused on the plight of the black farmers. Representatives of the National Black Farmers Association met with President Bill Clinton and other administration officials at the White House. And NBFA’s president testified before the United States House Committee on Agriculture. In Pigford v. Glickman, U.S. Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman approved the settlement and consent decree on April 14, 1999. The settlement recognized discrimination against 22,363 black farmers but the NBFA would later call the agreement incomplete because more than 70,000 were excluded. Nevertheless, the settlement was deemed to be the largest-ever civil rights class action settlement in American history. Lawyers estimated the value of the settlement to be more than $2 billion.
Some farmers would have their debts forgiven. Judge Friedman appointed a monitor to oversee the settlement. Farmers in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia were among those affected by the settlement. The NBFA’s president was invited to testify before congress on this matter numerous times following the settlement including before the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture on September 12, 2000, when he testified that many farmers had not yet received payments and others were left out of the settlement. NBFA asked Congress to pass legislation that would ensure a full resolution of the discrimination cases. Environmental Working Group and NBFA issued a report in July 2004 accusing the USDA of withholding nearly three out of every four dollars in the multibillion-dollar settlement of discrimination cases. The report says that the U.S. Department of Justice and the USDA pursued a path of “willful obstruction of justice” in blocking many of the cases. It was later revealed that one DoJ staff “general attorney” was unlicensed while she was handling black farmers’ cases. NBFA called for all those cases to be reheard. The Chicago Tribune reported in 2004 that the result of such longstanding USDA discrimination was that black farmers had been forced out of business at a rate three times faster than white farmers. In 1920, 1 in 7 U.S. farmers was African-American, and by 2004 the number is 1 in 100. USDA spokesman Ed Loyd, when acknowledging that the USDA loan process was unfair to minority farmers, had claimed it was hard to determine the effect on such farmers. In 2006 the Government Accountability Office issued a report highly critical of the USDA in its handling of the black farmers cases. NBFA continued to lobby Congress to provide relief. NBFA’s Boyd secured congressional support for legislation that would provide $100 million in funds to settle late-filer cases. In 2006 a bill was introduced into the House of Representatives and later the Senate by Senator George Felix Allen. In 2007 Boyd testified before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary about this legislation. As the organization was making headway by gathering Congressional supporters in 2007 it was revealed that some USDA Farm Services Agency employees were engaged in activities aimed at blocking Congressional legislation that would aid the black farmers. President Barack Obama, then a U.S.
Senator, lent his support to the black farmers’ issues in 2007. A bill cosponsored by Obama passed the Senate in 2007. In early June 2008 hundreds of black farmers, denied a chance to have their cases heard in the Pigford settlement, filed a new lawsuit against USDA. The Senate and House versions of the black farmers bill, reopening black farmers discrimination cases, became law in June 2008. Some news reports said that the new law could affect up to 74,000 black farmers. In October 2008, the GAO issued a report criticizing the USDA’s handling of discrimination complaints. The GAO recommended an oversight review board to examine civil rights complaints. After numerous public rallies and an intensive NBFA member lobbying effort, Congress approved and Obama signed into law in December 2010 legislation that set aside $1.15 billion to resolve the outstanding black farmers cases. NBFA’s John W. Boyd, Jr., attended the bill-signing ceremony at the White House. As of 2013, 90,000 African-American, Hispanic, female and Native American farmers had filed claims. It was reported that some had been found fraudulent, or transparently bogus. In Maple Hill, North Carolina by 2013, the number of successful claimants was four times the number of farms with 1 out of 9 African-Americans being paid, while “claimants were not required to present documentary evidence that they had been unfairly treated or had even tried to farm.” Lack of documentation is an issue complicated by the USDA practice of discarding denied applications after three years.
Turpentine Creek has six Tent/RV spots and ten suites that guests can stay at overnight. The Safari Lodges are for people 18+, the Okavango is handicap accessible. The Siberian and Bengal suites are for families and can house up to a max of 4 people of any age. The tree house can house up to a max of 4 people ages 5 and up. And a seasonal ‘glamping’ tent that can house up to a max of 5 people of all ages.