TigerTuesday: Ethical Tourism Talk with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education DepartmentToday's Tiger Tuesday talk is all about Ethical Tourism! Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is proud to be a true sanctuary and an ethical tourism destination. Wildlife Interpreter, Hannah Wherry, with TCWR's Education Department wants to tell you the 4 main ways to distinguish between an ethical tourism facility and a scam-suary!
First, see if the facility offers cub-petting. Cub-petting and pay-to-play options are extremely harmful to animals. Cub-petting is linked to overbreeding, inhumane and unnecessary euthanization, and starvation. Those who survive this industry, such as Rocklyn, Blackfire, and Peyton, white tiger siblings who have found peace at the Refuge, are often left with life-long physical and mental trauma.
Second, see if the establishment offers live shows or other forms of entertainment involving animals. Forcing animals to act in unnatural ways for profit is always wrong!
Thirdly, if the place offers up-close selfies with its animals, it's certainly not an ethical destination! Tigers used for selfies are sedated so they can be climbed over and "cuddled" against. Repeated use of sedation will ultimately lead to death.
Finally, if the destination buys, sells, or trades animals or animal parts, stay away! Studies have found links to the Exotic Big Cat trade in the U.S. to the Tiger Market in Asia, meaning the horrible stories we read about on the news involving "tiger farms" and black market animal parts are being supported by U.S. endeavors.
Researching before you go is the best way to make ethical choices! You can find a handy "True Sanctuary" checklist at tcwr.org/sanctuary
You can also advocate for laws to protect big cats in the U.S. at tcwr.org/advocacy.
Tiger Tuesday: All About Lions with the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Education DepartmentLions are the only social big cat species and the second largest big cat species. They typically live in prides comprised of 12 females and their cubs plus a dominant male. The male usually has a very dark mane. The darkness of the mane is based on testosterone. The darker the mane, the more testosterone they have, and the more likely they are going to be picked by the females to be the leader of the pride (hubba hubba!).
Prides can live in territories of 100 square miles, each. The male's job is to protect the territory, as well as the pride. In the wild, lions use urine to mark their territory. They also use what we call "caroling." You can hear the lions carol at the Refuge if you spend the night. This singing sound-off serves dual purposes. First, it tells potential intruders that they are entering another lion's territory. Secondly, it is used by the females to communicate with other members of their pride if they've had a successful hunt. Think of it as their way of saying, "Time for dinner!" Females do most of the hunting and use a team approach to nab some noms.
There was once around 200,000 lions in the wild, but there are only about 20,000 lions left in the wild. They are facing extreme threats in the wild due to human-animal conflict, the bush meat crisis, and habitat loss. Viewing lions in Africa is a large eco-tourism draw and can actually aide in their conservation, but as with all forms of tourism involving animals, it's vital to research before you go to ensure you are promoting an ethical tourism group.
We are home to several lion residents at TCWR. We hope you will consider visiting them and getting to know each one's unique purrsonality!
Tiger Tuesday: Exploring Tiger Teeth with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education DepartmentTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education Department is excited to be back with Tiger Tuesday once again! It's Teeth Week, and Wildlife Interpreter, Abby Hickam, took time to explain the various teeth a tiger has.
As Abby explains, a tiger's teeth are vital for their survival in the wild. They are various types of teeth in a tiger's skull including:
Incisors, which are used for shredding.
Canine Teeth, which are the largest teeth in a tiger's skull. They are used to pierce the flesh of their prey and subdue it. These powerful teeth make the kill and defend dinner from rival animals, such as other tigers.
The gap between the canine and back teeth is used much like opposable thumbs to hold onto the tiger's prey.
"Cheek teeth" are used to shred meat apart when tigers eat. Unlike humans, tigers don't shred their food down into itty-bitty bite-sized pieces, they actually swallow it whole! So, these teeth are used to shred meat away from bone to devour.
Sometimes, people defang tigers in an attempt to make them "safer." Thurston, the white tiger, is an animal at the Refuge who was defanged to be used in a magic show before being rescued. Sadly, this method did not make him safer to handle and only caused him pain. We hope by educating the public and inspiring advocacy that the cruel practice of defanging can come to an end.
Tiger Tuesday: Tiger Facts With Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education DepartmentWe're excited to bring you an exciting new series every Tuesday- Tiger Tuesday, that is! Today, the Education Department at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge gave us some surprising facts about these big stiped cats.
See if you can answer the following questions after you watch the video:
1. True or False: Tigers are the largest cat species.
2. True or False: A tiger's weight ranges from 100-450 pounds, depending on subspecies.
3. Out of the 9 subspecies of tigers ____________.
A. 3 are extinct
B. 7 are functionally extinct
C. 3 are extinct and 7 are functionally extinct
D. 3 are extinct and 1 is functionally extinct
4. Because a tiger is an apex predator, what would happen if they all go extinct?
5. What roles do a tiger's stripes play?
6. True or False: A tiger stalks quietly by placing their back foot exactly where their front foot was.
7. What is the purpose of the spots on the back of a tiger's ears?
8. Tigers have ____ inch canine teeth.
Talking Palm Oil on Tiger Tuesday with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education DepartmentPalm oil. What is it? What's the big deal? Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education Department is here to answer that on this Tiger Tuesday!
Palm oil comes from palm trees and in order to secure it, animal habitats are being destroyed! Among those threatened by habitat loss from palm oil harvesting include the Sumatran Tiger, the Borneo Elephant, the orangutan, and a host of other endangered and critically endangered species. In fact, "green deserts," which are areas used to grow palm oil trees for harvest, have destroyed enough habitats to roughly equal the size of New Zeland!
The animals aren't the only ones affected. Indigenous people are being forced out of their homes to make room for the "green deserts." The environment as a whole is being affected by the greenhouse gasses produced when patches of land are burned to create "green deserts" for palm oil production.
But wait...what is palm oil even used for? The oil is odorless and tasteless, so it's often used for cooking. It can be found in processed food (chips, candy, cereal) and even shampoo and toothpaste!
The situation sounds pretty dire, but there are things you can do to help!
You can download the Palm Oil App from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which will allow you to scan items at the grocery store and inform you if they contain palm oil. You can also download "The Problem With Palm Oil" pocket book from TheProblemWithPalmOil.org, which will tell you the sneaky names for "palm oil" lurking on packages. Another option is to simply avoid processed foods and cook healthy, whole-food meals at home! You'll get healthier, and so will animals, people, and the environment because you will be cutting down on palm oil usage!
Tiger Tuesday: White Nosed Coatimundis with Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge's Education DepartmentTurpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to a crazy little critter called a "White- Nosed Coatimundi" named Flip. What is this coati creature you ask? Wildlife Interpreter Alex with our Education Department is here to tell you on this Tiger Tuesday!
See if you can answer the following questions based on the video:
1. What animal is the white-nosed coatimundi closely related to?
2. Up to how many females can be in a group of wild coatis?
3. What purposes do coati's tails and claws serve?
4. Can coatis swim?
5. What are some of the top threats coatis face in the wild?
To learn more about coatimundis, visit tcwr.org/education.
Tiger Tuesday: The American Tiger Presented by the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Education TeamWe're excited about this week's Tiger Tuesday Talk because it answers a frequently asked question we commonly get: What kind of tigers do we have at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge? Wildlife Interpreter Hannah with the TCWR Education Department is here to answer that question!
Ninety-five percent of the tigers in the United States and all of the tigers at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge are "American Tigers." These felines have muddled genetics, meaning they hold no conservation value and cannot be released into the wild. In the American Cub Petting Industry, the goal is to produce as many cubs as possible, which results in not only impure genetics from crossbreeding multiple subspecies of tigers, but also leaves these animals with a number of birth defects and often fatal genetic disorders.
The AZA, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, regulates "true zoos" and their Species Survival Plans. These places are working to repopulate tigers in the wild, focusing on the Malayan, Sumatran, and Siberian tiger subspecies. Currently, only 269 of the thousands of tigers living in the U.S. have been bred through accredited programming. As we stated above, this means that 95% of the tigers in the U.S. hold no conservational value and are irresponsibly bred, left with debilitating issues, in what is essentially a "tiger mill."
Thankfully, there are ways YOU can make a difference!
-Support H.R. 1380: The Big Cat Public Safety Act to stop commercial breeding and shift the focus to tiger conservation. tcwr.org/advocacy
-Support only legitimate breeding efforts through the AZA.
-Support true sanctuaries who do not buy, sell, trade, breeding, or allow hands-on contact.
-Research any and every animal establishment you visit beforehand! We have a handy "true sanctuary" checklist on our website that can help at tcwr.org/sanctuary/.
-The most important thing you can do, if nothing else: SHARE this information with others! So many people who truly love and care about animals are supporting their abuse, neglect, and exploitation without knowing it. Cub Petting facilities, breeding organizations, roadside zoos, and scam-suaries capitalize off the good hearts of true animal-lovers. Don't let them win! Stand up for wildlife!
Why True Sanctuaries Don't Breed: Tiger Tuesday at Turpentine Creek Wildlife RefugeHow many so-called "sanctuaries" have you heard proclaim "come pet our cubs" or "we breed white tigers for conservation!" While that sounds great, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Education Interpreter Abby is here to explain why true sanctuaries don't breed on this week's Tiger Tuesday Talk!
The first point Abby makes is a bit of a no-brainer. As nonprofit organizations with limited funding and space, breeding within a sanctuary would take away from the number of cats the organization has the ability to rescue. There are over 5,000 big cats in captivity today, with very few in true zoos and sanctuaries. Irresponsible breeding is only attributing to the number that needs rescued.
On a previous Tiger Tuesday, Wildlife Interpreter Hannah mentioned that many of our rescued animal residents are inbred and crossbred, so breeding them would be irresponsible, causing more harm and damage than good. If we were to breed this animals, we would only be creating a larger population with poor health and a number of genetic issues.
Any place breeding outside the Association of Zoos & Aquariums without a Species Survival Plan in place is not breeding for conservation at all!
Before visiting an animal facility, it's vital to research before you go. We have created a handy check-list a tcwr.org/sanctuary to help you determine the difference between a true sanctuary and a pseudo-sanctuary.
Ligers Are Pretty Much My Favorite Animal: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge Tiger Tuesday TalkWildlife Interpreter Alex is here with Tiger Tuesday at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge! This week's topic is ligers.
Ligers are big cat hybrids creating by breeding a male lion with a female tiger. Tigers and lions would never breed in the wild. Their primary populations are located too far apart. Though there is a tiny population of Asiatic lions in India, Alex reminds us that a pride of lions would never allow a tiger to come into their territory- especially to breed! Ligers are man-made, bred in roadside zoos, sanctuaries, and sideshows to make a profit.
Want to know more about these BIG, big cats? Watch the full video and don't forget to "subscribe" to our channel.