As a true sanctuary and a forever home for all our animal residents, TCWR is dedicated to giving them as much independence as possible.
Many people ask why we don’t release our animals into the wild. We want them to have freedom, right? The truth of the matter is that most, if not all, of our animals would not be able to survive in the wild for a variety of reasons. For example, our white tigers and golden tabby tigers would not camouflage well and would be easy to spot by prey, predators, and even hunters and poachers. Our hybrids shouldn’t exist. Many of our animals, big and small, have been declawed and defanged. Removing these tools means they would not be able to kill their own prey and would starve. Animals that suffer from Metabolic Bone Disease, heart conditions, neurological conditions, and general old age would not receive the proper medical care.
Even animals taken out of the wild, like our bobcats, cougars, and bears, would not be able to return to the wild. For many predators, their mother is crucial for teaching them survival skills. When they are removed from their mother before they would leave on their own, they never gain that knowledge. This happens in the cub petting industry. A mother is not even given a chance to raise her own cubs; they are taken away from her soon after they’re born.
Releasing our animals would, in most cases, be a death sentence for them.
So we do the best we can at TCWR. Our animals are never forced to do anything, go anywhere, or be on display for anyone. We never guarantee seeing cats on our tours. If a cat doesn’t want to move, we leave them where they are. We will not force our animals to participate in enrichment, social media, or even our behavioral management training program. We can’t force our animals to take their prescribed medications if they aren’t interested. There are occasions when we do have to make a decision that is in the best interest of our animals, but we make these decisions after serious consideration.
For one example, we are required by Arkansas state law to lock our cats into their night-house overnight. We do this by locking them in and then feeding them. It creates a positive association between coming into the night-house when they are supposed to and receiving their food. However, this doesn’t always work. Especially as it gets hot, our lions are less inclined to lock up; they are not interested in food. When our female cats are in heat, they generally stop eating or are overall less interested in food, so they may not lock up. When these things happen, we leave our cats as they are, we do not coerce them into coming into their night-house.
TCWR also looks to promote freedom and independence for big cats and predators across the United States. The Big Cat Public Safety Act would prevent buying, breeding, trading, and selling exotic predators. It would also prevent cub petting, private ownership as pets, and transporting them illegally across state lines. Give future big cats and predators the gift of freedom by helping us pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act.
And if you want to come visit us and see our animals as independent as they can be, sign up for one of our tours. We recommend coming at 9 am, 10 am, or 4 pm to see our animals when they’re the most active. We always appreciate your support.