After perusing the gift shop as we waited for the volunteer coordinator to arrive, it was time for D to get to work. As a non profit, volunteers and interns are the lifeblood of Turpentine Creek and they welcomed us with open arms. After a quick introduction to the areas of the refuge and a little about its history, D was sent to meet up with the workers while M and I dropped in for one of the public tours.
The main compound is used as a transition area for animals first arriving in the refuge. It also houses some of the smaller animals and the ones still awaiting habitats.
The tour started just behind the main compound where an intern met us to walk through the habitats. Each habitat cost $25,000 to construct, all of which is done through donations. The habitats themselves are even constructed by volunteers crews. It’s the goal of the refuge to get all the animals in natural habitats but, of course, it depends on funding and time to build. With over 450 acres to their name, they have plenty of space to work with if the funds just come in. The habitats range from 1/4 acre to 1/2 acre for each enclosure.
The intern told us all sorts of stories about each animal and some info about their bigger rescue operations. All the stories were tragic tales and it was heartbreaking to watch some of them hobbling around after hearing how they had been mistreated. Seeing them here, their wonderful habitats and furry coasts knowing how so many of them were close to death when they first arrived – absolutely heart warming to realize the work being done here.
After the tour, we went back to the compound to wait for D to finish up his work. We looked around the education room where a map was pinned with where the animals had been rescued from.
It also had a video to watch about the refuge and some other things like questions and answer boards, fur from different animals, and some destroyed toys the tigers had chewed on. It was also home to the adoption board, a hallway lined with the 115 animals housed at the refuge and the people who have joined to help provide for them.
Next, it was finally time to meet back up with D and hear about his work detail.