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Texas pseudo-sanctuary imprints on native animals, making them unreleasable

Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary, Tyler, TX — Employees Natasha Chab and Emily Owen have obtained wildlife rehabilitation permits that they are using to imprint on native species of animals, making them unreleasable.

Imprinting is a form of bonding that is used to domesticate animals. Wild animals that have been imprinted on by humans do not see humans as a threat and therefore can not be released into the wild.

Chab runs A Wild Life Animal Rehabilitation Service and Owen runs Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary. The pair obtains orphaned wildlife that they use for photo opportunities with friends and relatives. When the animals grow out of the cute, cuddly stage and they can’t be released, they are stuck in pens at the sanctuary where they live out their lives.

On March 10, 2021 Chab obtained an orphaned beaver. Chab has posted numerous photos and videos of herself petting the beaver and playing with it. She is transferring it back and forth from her home to Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary and allowing other employees to play with the beaver and take photos with it. Tomorrow, Chab has invited a friend over for a cuddle and photo session with the baby beaver.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, native wildlife is only allowed to be handled by licensed wildlife rehabbers and their volunteers, and handling should only involve incidental contact.

This baby beaver is at great risk. It is being cohabitated in Chab’s home with 2-3 adult dogs, 3 puppies, 5-6 cats, a ringtail lemur, chickens, 2 pet squirrels, a bearded dragon, corn snakes, 2 ferrets, 2 chinchillas, hedgehogs, raccoons, bats, birds of prey and native birds. Chab also brings home other people’s exotic pets, such as a kangaroo, a monkey and a tiger cub.

Permitted wildlife is not to be commingled with “domestic pets, livestock, exotic livestock, exotic fowl, or non-indigenous wildlife,” according to the TPWD website. Regulations also state that a licensed wildlife rehabber should “conduct rehabilitation in an environment which minimizes human contact and prevents human and domestic animal imprinting or bonding.”

Chab and Owen’s improper handling of native species of animals has resulted in illness, injury and death for the animals. No true sanctuary would deliberately imprint on native species of animals, forcing them to spend the rest of their lives in a cage.


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