Despite what many witnessed in the Netflix phenomenon, “Tiger King,” life on a wildlife refuge is much different than the picture that was painted. We might be 180 miles south of the notorious Wynnewood park, but we can assure you that our world here in Terrell, TX, is truly centered around the most important thing to us – our residents.
At PrideRock, our owners are not makeshift country singers and there is no conspiracy against other wild animal conservations – just love and respect for anyone trying to do right by wild animals in captivity. We don’t profit off of ticket sales, live animal encounters, or concessions because we are not open to the public. Specifically, because we believe that our animals deserve to live out the rest of their lives in peace.
When an animal comes to PrideRock, more times than not, they can arrive in bad shape – especially if they were abused by their previous living conditions. We have residents that were formerly circus cats or part of a roadside park, retired cats from exhibitors, a person’s pet living in their living room or chained to a pole in someone’s backyard, malnourished, and so on. Close your eyes and think of the exact opposite of a Tiger’s habitat and you can imagine what we have come across when rescuing these cats over the years.
Studies have shown that large cats can develop serious muscular atrophy from spending a life in a small enclosure (i.e. a person’s living room) with no room to roam, and it’s also a huge financial undertaking to be able to feed and be responsible for these animal’s veterinary care. Think upwards of $1,000 in bills each month to provide care for these animals.
So why not release these animals back into the jungle or safari? Sadly, there are more tigers living in the United States as pets than any part of the world. Rarely are we taking in animals from the wild, but from people who can’t properly take care of them. Introducing these animals back into their original habitat, when they have been in captivity most of their lives, would be a death sentence. They’ve had all of their meals and habitat provided for and wouldn’t know how to hunt or fend for themselves.
This growing problem is in large part why PrideRock exists. It’s our mission to aid in the prevention of animal cruelty by providing a home for unwanted and abused wild animals. We’re not in the business to breed but to let our residents retire the way humans tend to in Boca Raton. A large space to call their own complete with areas to lounge, tubs of water for a nice soak, enrichment activities, and exercise, plus, all the food you can eat.
Next time you think of a wildlife conservation, think of all of the good that they do and the work that goes into this labor of love, not the sequin vests and music video narrative that Joe Exotic created. Any funds that our refuge receives almost entirely go back to our animals. We’re working daily to improve their enclosures, build new ones to rescue more animals in need, and always find time in our day to engage with these four-legged sweethearts.
If you’re interested in helping with PrideRock’s mission, please visit www.priderock.org for opportunities to donate, symbolically adopt an animal, and to get involved with volunteering or internships.