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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is welcoming its newest rescue, a nearly two-year-old African male.

It began Friday, December 3, when Tanya Smith, president and founder of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, received a call for help as chairperson of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA). The rehabilitation facility, Wildcare Oklahoma, needed to find a place for several animals including a healthy young male.

Wildcare Oklahoma typically rehabilitates local wildlife for eventual return to the wild but on rare occasions deals with confiscated animals. In April of 2021, Wildcare Oklahoma took in 81 animals that have been kept within city limits, many of which are suffering from various levels of neglect. The animals were held in the care of Wildcare Oklahoma until the conclusion of the relevant court case. After finding the majority of animal placement at AZA approved facilities or other reputable caregivers, Wildcare Oklahoma still needs to place a healthy young male.

Servals are native to sub-Saharan Africa and have special requirements for surviving winters in North America. They must have access to a hot den because they may suffer from the effects of cold, including frostbite in their ears, tails, and feet. Fortunately, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge had a cozy space available and was also the closest BCSA member’s sanctuary that accommodates smaller exotic cats.

On Saturday, Tania and Scott Smith traveled to meet with Team WildCare Oklahoma near Tulsa to take young Serval to the shelter near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The newest member to join the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge family came with no name. Life proponents, James (Jake) and Linda Jacobson, stepped up and committed to lifelong sponsorship of the new addition and it was named Jake in their honor.

Jake has proven a bit shy since his arrival, preferring to stay in his hot den. And due to its service nature, it whistles quite heavily the closer it gets. He has been under the care of a vet since April when he was transferred to Wildcare Oklahoma and is in excellent health. His date of birth is unknown but he is believed to be around two years old. The team at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge plan to give Jake plenty of time to settle in his new home while building trust with his new caretakers.

Jake is the 18th rescue of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge this year. The first was the spotted hyena, Rambo, in February which was closely followed by CeCe and JJ. In May, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Sanctuary helped the Department of Justice and provided sanctuary for ten big cats. One of those cats came to the shelter pregnant and gave birth to 3 cubs shortly after arriving, bringing the total to 13 cats linked to that pending court case. The last of them was 11-month-old Sasha, who was rescued from a New York City apartment.

Tanya Smith was quoted as saying: “Our team can only continue to save and care for the animals we give homes for life because of generous donors like you.”

Consider Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge for your end-of-year donation to help them help as many animals in need of rescue in the future as possible, like Jake, the newest rescued animal they have welcomed into their families.

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