Species: Lion (Panthera leo) DOB: October 20, 2005 Sex: Male Arrival Date: May 17, 2021
Rescue Story: Netflix’s Tiger King went viral in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, shining a spotlight on the key players and animal abusers within the Big Cat Trade. As Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) fully accredited sanctuary and founding member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA), Turpentine Creek was one of the go-to sanctuaries called upon by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) assist in the seizure of 68 big cats from the Tiger King Park in Oklahoma in May of 2021. This secretive operation was coordinated by our President, the BSCA, and the DOJ in a two part execution that included SWAT teams and armored vehicles.
First to be seized were four females suspected of being pregnant and a neurologically impaired male liger. One of the four females gave birth to three cubs just two weeks after her arrival at the Refuge. It was touch-and-go for the cubs’ first two months, while they endured intensive physical therapy from our team to correct contracted tendons in their hind legs that made walking impossible. As time ran out to safely handle them, the cubs’ condition miraculously began to improve. For over a year, Turpentine Creek continued to provide critical care for the 13 witness protection cats without the ability to fundraise for their needs. Finally, in September of 2022, the case was concluded and the 13 big cats will now permanently call Turpentine Creek their home.
More about Simba: For his age, Simba is a very silly lion that lollygags around the habitat making funny noises. We don’t know exactly what happened to him in his past, but he has strange scars around his feet that resemble rope. He loves his habitat and the keepers, however if he is laying on his bench there is nothing that can be done to bribe him off of it.