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Last week, I went away to Arkansas to visit the Big Cat refuge I've been wanting to get an internship at for two years now.

With me, I took my resume to apply one last time for the internship that starts in August. I thought that turning it in in person might make a good impression.

Apparently, it did... Because I'm going next week to stay until the end of August!

It's a very strange situation, because the person in charge of that basically told me that the reason I hadn't been accepted and probably wouldn't be in the future is because I have an English degree, and their interns have Biology and Zoology degrees, and they use this internship to get into zoos, which I couldn't do.

But she let me work with them for a day, building enclosures and preparing the food, and I guess she was impressed enough by my willingness to work on my vacation that she kind of compromised with me.

They have an extra spot open because one intern ended up being deathly afraid of the Big Cats, so she said I could finish out the rest of the internship with the current group, who started in January.

So I'm leaving next Tuesday to live in Arkansas for almost five months. Wow.

Anyway, here are the pictures....

This is a view from outside the window in our room we stayed in on the refuge. Awesome, eating breakfast and seeing tigers outside the window :)


Cuties :)


One of the same lions, with TJ the tiger... I don't have any pictures of the three of them cuddled up together, but trust me, it was sweeeeet :)


BooBoo and Kizi... not sure which is which, but they're two of the several Bobcats they have there.


Sadie, another Bobcat, is leashed trained for educational programs, and always wears her purple harness.


Conway is AWESOME. He has the sweetest personality, always asking for attention... I can't wait til I can actually give it to him.


I don't know why Clyde was licking his bars... but he was...


Cool Cats :)


They're constantly building larger, natural enclosures for the cats to play and run in...


Harley is a three-legged Serval


Jade is a retired Circus performer. He's also a Liger, a Lion/Tiger mix.


Missy basking in the sun :)


Missy sharpening her claws :)


Everyone loves a peacock :)


These two tigers were alternating between cuddling and snarling, but all in good fun... I think ;)


Vada the black leopard was always hanging out up on his branch
 

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Oh my what beautiful cats! i am so jealous that you get to go and interact with such wonderful kittys :lol: ! good luck, and have fun! :lol:
 

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wow, a liger, i never knew that tigers and lions would cross breed. very cool that you get to work there, i hope there will be more pics coming!
 

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That's amazing! Congrats! Is it like a place with "big cats" nobody wants? Or is it similar to the zoo? I've never heard of such place, that's why I'm asking.
 

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Lions and Tigers

Well done, what a fantastic opportunity! You deserve it for being so determined.
Thanks for posting the pics.

seashell
 

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Congrats, Congrats!

I'm very happy for you. What a wonderful opportunity!
Please keep us posted as time permits and show us new pictures while you are there!

p.s. -- Think you can sneak Conway to Kansas? :wink:
 

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What a wonderful opportunity! Of course you'll take more than ordinary care when dealing with the big cats! We don't want to lose you! I have always wanted to hug a tiger. The cats there seem to be very well cared for. Do they have some acreage for the cats to roam? Take care and hug a tiger for me! :) Pictures and more news, please!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm going to try to answer all the questions...

Meowmix - A Liger is similar to a Mule (donkey/horse) they can be created, but they're born sterile, so they themselves cannot breed.

Senimentalgirl - It's a refuge for abused, neglected, and confinscated animals. Mostly exotic cats, but they have some other animals as well. They run solely on donations, and they don't buy, sell, or breed their animals, like most zoos will do. The cats live out their lives there - well fed, well cared for, and well loved, which is more than what most of them faced previously. Here's their website:

http://www.turpentinecreek.org

mismodliz - I think they actually have some kind of benefit in Kansas City, but I don't think that Conway goes with them. I know how you feel though, he's gorgeous. And let me assure you, he's got an amazing personality to go with that teddy bear face! Conway was rescued from a breeding facility that "specialized" in white tigers. The refuge also has one of his sons, who has the equivilant of Down's Syndrome because Conway was being bred to his sister.

Jeanie - I will be careful, and as soon as I'm allowed to, I've give enoguh tiger hugs for everyone here ;) As far as acreage goes, they have 450 acres of land in the mountains, but very little of it is actually developed as of yet. They are constantly working to build larger natural habitats so that the cats can actually run around and play in the grass and trees (like in picture #9). There are several that house small groups of cats, and there are two more about to be opened up. I actually worked on one while I was there. They build them as fast as they can, but it all depends on how much labor and funding are donated at any given time.

Thank you all, I'm very excited. I've wanted this for two years, so I definitely know how lucky I am.
 
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