Subsequently, Ferris realized that the exotic market boom of the late 1980s through 1990s was leading to a significant number of big cats being abandoned, abused, neglected, and displaced.
After his military service in 1993, Mr. Ferris and his family of five moved onto the property and lived in a small red cabin, off the grid and with no running water. They started clearing land by hand, building small cages, and preparing a place for unwanted tigers, as they recruited any volunteer that they could find to help build and care for the cats.
At first, Tiger Creek could only afford small enclosures. It was understood that this wouldn’t be permanent, but for the time being, it would work. There were struggles and some challenges were overwhelming, but they knew there was no turning back.
With nothing but a passion for animals and a concern about the plight of the tiger, Brian Ferris and his family started the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge (Tiger Creek) in 1997. By 1998, Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge opened its doors on the 25 acres that Mr. Ferris had purchased in 1989 while home on Christmas leave from the US Navy.
As the public started to show interest in Tiger Creek, the Ferris' wanted to allow visitors entry but had limited funds crucial to creating the remarkable experience intended for guests. They were nervous that they would not have the support needed to continue their success in changing the lives of these big cats. But over time, they garnered support from people across the globe. People love what the Ferris' do for these big cats, and that’s why Tiger Creek is still here today. With small steps, the family soon moved out of the little red cabin and turned it into an intermediate feed room. That little red cabin has now been scheduled to be a part the tour for the visitors as a reminder of Tiger Creek’s humble beginning.
Tiger Creek no longer has the cramped little red cabin filled with freezers; instead, a walk-in cooler and freezer provides a space to prepare and store food for the big cats.
In 2014, more land was acquired and now provides frontage road property on FM 14 and FM 16. This land has been a key element in Tiger Creek’s expansion.
To help numerous species of animals in 2017, Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge was rebranded as Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary. To expand these services, the company underwent a name change as well. Tiger Creek now serves under the National Foundation for Rescued Animals.
Our passion for tiger conservation is never-ending. We will always continue to network with conservationists, biologists, and zoos to help protect and save this endangered species. Since the early days of our first genetic testing of tigers, we continue to push for more genetic testing and work with organizations such as Texas A&M, the National Institute for Health, and various research stations around the globe. We provide them with blood samples to further develop the conservation genetic database through testing and research. We look forward to the expansion of services for all animals. Together, we are all “Saving Animals One by One.”