No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home


It’s a full-time job to keep up with the big cats at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, just south of Eureka Springs. The most recent expansion opened June 12, a 200-foot long, 40-foot wide habitat that will be the shared home of five servals and a savannah cat. Thanks to donations from Rick and Cindy Roop of Gravette, construction on the habitat started last winter, and the finished product includes a heated and cooled building and a pool.

“For them, it’s a legacy for their family,” animal curator Emily McCormack said of the Roops. “It takes people like that to keep the mission going here at the refuge. [And] making a habitat forever helps animals — not just these ones today, but in the future.”

The first to move into the new space were two male servals, Bowden and Whistler, and a female, Giselle. All of them were introduced to each other at Turpentine Creek, McCormack said, and two of them have become best buddies. Two new servals, Sammy and Enzo, rescued as kittens last July, and Tigger, a savannah cat rescued with them, will be introduced to the other three once they all get comfortable in their new surroundings, she added.

“Ordinarily, we don’t mix species, but the savannah cat is half serval — native to Africa — and half domestic cat, so it works out,” McCormack said.

Next to move into public view will be two 8-month-old bobcats, Prince and Tony, who were rescued May 28 from flooding in Lavaca.

Founded in 1992, the refuge is open to visitors 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through the summer. Admission is $10-$20 at

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