This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Texas Tigers

We just got home from a long weekend spent with friends at the K E Bushman's Camp, a very nice RV park owned and operated by the Kiepersol winery in Bullard, just a few miles south of Tyler, TX.

It wasn't all visiting, eating, and drinking wine for four days.   We also went out to the winery (and tasted of course), over to Edom, TX for lunch and looking in the "cutesy" little shops, and to Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge, which is a few miles north of Tyler.  The refuge is home to over 50 rescued big cats (mostly tigers, hence the name).  Most of the cats come from private zoos or individuals no longer able to properly care for them.

It all began in 1995 when Brian Werner established the Tiger Missing Link Foundation and purchased 25 acres of land "To provide rescue and rehabilitation of big cats that have been abused, neglected or displaced."

Brian's mission is to conserve the genetic diversity and to limit inbreeding of tigers in captivity outside of American Zoo Association zoos.  One of the tigers that Brian acquired and first DNA-tested turned out to be an Indochinese tiger, a species of tiger that not many zoos even have.  This led to the theory that we cannot simply discard tigers that are being kept in captivity; whether in sanctuaries, small zoos or in private hands, and label them as generic or “junk” tigers. 

The total population of tigers in the wild has gone from 100,000 worldwide a century ago to fewer than 3,000 today.  The total number of tiger species has been reduced from eight to five.  In the last sixty years, three sub-species of tigers have become extinct.  The Caspian Tiger, the Javan Tiger, and the Bali Tiger have all been eradicated. The South China Tiger is already virtually extinct in the wild and were it not for the few being taken care of in captivity, this subspecies would probably be lost as well.  This is why Tiger Creek is working to conserve genetic diversity among tigers and to limit inbreeding. 

Most of the big cats are housed in large natural habitat enclosures.  No longer only tigers, they now have cougars, leopards, lions, bobcats, and pumas.  They even have one of Michael Jackson's tigers there.

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