Many of you might have heard the sad story of Blackfire, Peyton, and Rocklyn, especially if you have joined us on a tour. These 3 white tigers have gone through quite a journey since birth. We love telling the happy stories that happen here, but there is always the need to be these animals’ voice. Buckle up because we are about to learn about the triplets for those who might not know.
In the later part of August in 2016, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was made aware of a large opportunity to rescue and rehome around 115 animals from a 12-acre animal exhibitor park in Colorado. This park had been in operation since 1993. The owner was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer be responsible for the many animals he had. At that point, that’s when Turpentine and TIA (Tigers in America) partnered up and began negotiations.
On September 21, 2016, Turpentine purchased the land, took over the facility, and started their next 5-month journey. Originally the previous owner assumed that Turpentine was going to open their doors in Colorado after the remodeling of the facility. When we actually got on site, we learned that things were much worse than what we thought. On that day, Turpentine’s care load more than doubled. It was seen that many of the animals were in need of veterinary care. These animals were being breed repeatedly and the cubs were being used in a cub petting or pay-to-play program in order for the facility to operate. These programs do have serious consequences for the animals and Turpentine does not, under any circumstance condone those practices.
It took a lot of effort but on February 10, 2017, the final four big cats were delivered safe and sound to their new home in California. We were helped by 14 other sanctuaries. This ended up being the largest collaboration between exotic animal sanctuaries in the United States. We rehomed 115 animals in total, this scale of collaboration between sanctuaries has never been done before that day.
In 25 road trips, 74 tigers, 5 lions, 2 ligers, 1 ti-liger, 6 leopards, 5 cougars, 2 bobcats, 1 serval, 2 coatimundis, 2 caracals, 9 bears, 2 lemurs, and 1 wolf hybrid all found a new home. There were also 3 alligators that were previously rented that were returned to their rightful owner. Turpentine ended up bring 34 animals back to Eureka Springs in total. Turpentine closed that facility down after all the animals had their new homes.
But, over 40 of the animals that were rescued had health issues. Including 3 young white tiger cubs that ended up having severe Metabolic Bone Disease: Blackfire, Peyton, and Rocklyn (to read more on that feel free to visit another article that discuss further upon the matter).
These 3 cubs were born only 4 months before we got there. At that age, they have already gone through a lot. Cubs are taken from their parents’ seconds after they are born to be used in programs like cub petting and pay-to-play. These cubs get passed around to anybody and everybody wanting to hold them for 8-9 hours a day 7 days a week. This is like a full time job for these little cubs! They get passed around for the first 3 months of their life. Once they are over 3 months then they are then deemed legally dangerous by the government.
If you ask anyone at Turpentine, they will tell you that a tiger is dangerous way before those 3 months. Tigers are born without teeth but it only takes them a few days till their first set of needle-sharp teeth are visible. They are already born with claws, so you can imagine those razor sharp teeth and claws being used and how bad it could hurt.
Upon the arrival of TCWR at Colorado, these 3 could no longer walk well. When they would try to stand, they would drag their back legs. We immediately went into serious action. Upon x-rays, it was confirmed that there were serious deformities in their shoulders and legs. It was a scary time for all of us. For the first week we were working with them, we didn’t know if they were going to make it out of it. Most of the time, when you get serious cases, the cubs end up suffering and passing away from it all. We definitely did not want that to happen!
Finally, after that first week we saw a lot of progress, and we were so excited. We gave them as much calcium we could, within reason, as well as a different types of medicines in order to help. It took some time with extra care, specialized diets, and constant monitoring, but now as you walk down the bear tunnel, you can see them either running, playing, sleeping (naturally), or being big ole’ goofballs like a tiger should! Of course these guys are no longer that little, but it is great to see that progress. They will always have some issues due to this horrific disease and some of them will have to be on pain meds for the rest of their life as well as a special diet, but now they have a chance to live full, long, happier lives at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge!
What Can You Do?
If you want to help more cats like the triplets, there are a few things you can do.
ONLY support true sanctuaries!
SPEAK up against cub petting!
REPORT cub petting or breeding facilities! As it is illegal now to do these things!
Together we can make a difference, Help Us Help Them!