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Exploring Arkansas October 2006

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Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Elephant Sanctuary, Copperhead Cave
Lions and tigers and bears! Plus elephants! Two popular animal sanctuaries in the Natural State are explored-near Eureka Springs and near Guy. Then it's off to an underground adventure in a wild cave in the Buffalo National River region.

TRANSCRIPT

TURPET TINE IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW FACILITIES IN THE COUNTRY FOR ABUSED AND NEGLECTED ANIMALS AND IT IS OUR FIRST TOP ON THIS WEEK'S SHOW. WE WILL GO TO ALE FANT SANCTUARY THAT HAS ALMOST AS MANY ELEPHANTS AS THE CIRCUS. AND WE WILL GO TO ONE OF THE MANY WILD CAVES IN THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER REGION. LET'S BEGIN AT THE ANIMAL LOVER'S PARADISE HERE AT TURPETINE CREEK.

THE REFUGE BEGAN IN 1992 WHEN WE REALIZED IT WAS A BIG CAT REFUGE AND WE STARTED TAKING IN ANIMALS THAT SUDDENLY NEED ADD HOME. MOST OF THE TIME WE GOT PEOPLE THAT TRIED TO USE THEM AS PETS AND REALIZED IT WAS A GREAT IDEA OR MAYBE THE LAWS HAVE CHANGED IN THE AREA AND SUDDENLY THEY CAN'T KEEP THE PET THEY HAD BEFORE AND THEN ALSO PEOPLE DIE OR DIVORCE OR WHATEVER LIFE MIGHT BRING YOU AND THEN THERE IS A HOMELESS BIG CAT. IT IS A LITTLE OUT OF THE ORDINARY TO THINK ABOUT IT. WHEN WE STARTED THE RE REFUGE BK IN 1992, TEN YEARS DOWN THE LINE WE WOULD HAVE ALL 149-ACRES DEVELOPED AND ONLY HAVE ABOUT 40 BIG CATS. IT HAS WORKED THE OPPOSITE WAY. WE HAVE ABOUT 40 CI 40 BIG CATS- 115 BIG CATS AND ONLY 40-ACRES DEVELOPED. IT IS JUST SO MANY ANIMALS OUT THERE THAT NEED HELP. WE DO WHAT WE CAN WHEN WE CAN.

NATURAL LANDSCAPED HABITATS ARE PLANNED FOR THE ANIMALS WHICH WILL GIVE THEM A LOT MORE ROOM TO ROAM.

THE AREAS WE ARE IN RIGHT NOW IS OUR MAIN COMPOUND AREA. OUR GOAL IS TO GET ALL THE ANIMALS OUT IN THE BIG FREE RANGE SO THEY CAN RUN AND PLAY AND DO ALL THE THINGS THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO DO TO JUST HAVE THE MENTAL ENRICHMENT WE FEEL THEY DESERVE.

TANYA'S PRESENT-DAY CAREER ACTUALLY BEGAN WHEN SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL.

YES, I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED ANIMALS. MY MOM WOULD SAY, HOW DID ALL THESE KITTENS GET HERE AND THERE WOULD BE THREE DIFFERENT LITTERS OF KITTENS ME AND MY DAD WOULD HAVE DRUG UP OUT OF THE DUMPSTER THINKING MY MOM THOUGHT THEY WANDERED UP. WE ENDED UP BRINGING THEM BACK AND TAKING CARE OF THEM AND I MEAN THAT'S KIND OF HOW WE STARTED. MY DAD RESCUED THE FIRST LINE IN 1978, OR MY FAMILY DID. THAT CAT MOVED HERE WITH US IN '92 AND LIVED TO BE OVER 20 YEARS OLD. IN PROPER CARE IN CAP AT THIS TIME, THE BIG CATS -- CAPTIVITY THE BIG CATS CAN LIVE THAT LONG.

YOU MENTIONED PEOPLE THINKING THEY CAN HAVE A WILD ANIMAL AS A PET AND IT IS NOT A PREP. I GUESS THAT IS THE MAJOR PROBLEM THAT'S OUT THERE, THAT PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND OR DON'T REALIZE OR DON'T CARE.

PEOPLE, THINK THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO BRING THIS ANIMAL INTO THEIR HOUSE AND THEY ARE LIKE SIGFREIS AND ROY BEFORE ROY GOT INJURED AND HAVE THEM LIVE IN THEIR HOMES. THAT'S NOT A POSSIBILITY. THEY START OUT CUTE AND LITTLE, BABY TIGER I CAN HOLD IN ONE HAND, YOU KNOW. IT WEIGHS 2 1/2 POUNDS. AND AT A MONTH OLD IT IS 40 POUNDS. AND AT A YEAR OLD IT IS ABOUT 120 POUNDS. IT GROWS ABOUT TEN POUNDS A MONTH UNTIL IT IS FULL GROWN. SOME OF OUR CATS ARE UP TO 700 POUNDS, THE BIG SIBERIAN MALE TIGERS. PEOPLE ARE MISINFORMED. AND YOU HAVE BREEDERS SAYING YOU CAN TAKE IT HOME AND RAISE IT IN YOUR HOUSE WITH YOUR KIDS AND IT IS ALL GOING TO BE FINE. AFTER PEOPLE GET IT HOME, THEY REALIZE THAT'S NOT A POSSIBILITY BECAUSE THE BIG CAT, WHEN THEY ARE CUBS, THEY ARE REALLY ACTIVE AND TRYING TO TEAR UP THEIR COUCHES AND OTHER PETS AND THEIR CHILDREN. IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

TURPETINE CREEK WILDLIFE REFUGE HAS QUITE AN EXTENSIVE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM WHICH FOR SOME OF THE INTERNS HAS MEANT A TOTAL CAREER CHANGE.

I STARTED OUT AS A PHARMACY MAJOR AND CAME HERE AND DECIDED THAT'S WHAT I WANTED TO DO. WORKING WITH ANIMALS PREFERABLY AT A REFUGE TRYING TO SAVE ANIMALS, SUPPORT THEM. A ZOO WOULD BE GREAT, TOO. ANY INTERACTION WITH THEM.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT THESE ANIMALS THAT BEFORE -- THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE YOU CAME HERE?

YOU JUST GAIN RESPECT FOR THEM. SEE THEIR POWER AND HOW THEY MOVE AND EAT EVERYTHING AND YOU GAIN AMAZING RESPECT FOR THESE ANIMALS. THEY ARE GORGEOUS JUST LOOKING AT THEM. INTERACTING WITH THEM IS AMAZING. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

FROM PHARMACY TO WILD ANIMALS?

YEP, THAT WAS ME.

WELL, I WENT TO COLLEGE FOR BIOLOGY. I MAJORED IN BIOLOGY AT KENT STATE COLLEGE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. I GRADUATED AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WANTED TO DO WITH MY BIOLOGY DEGREE. I SAW A FLYER FOR TURPETINE CREEK AND WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET AN INTERNSHIP. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR SIX MONTHS. I THOUGHT I WAS COMING TO ARIZONA. LITTLE DID I KNOW A.R. MEANT ARKANSAS, NOT ARIZONA. IT WAS FUN. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PLACE. SIX MONTHS LATER I REALIZEDDED I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE AND I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 5 1/2 YEARS.

ALL AGREE IT HAS BEEN AN EXHILARATING LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

IT HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE AND IT IS WAY BEYOND JUST WORKING WITH THE ANIMALS EVERY DAY, MEDICATING THEM, CLEANING THEIR CLOSURES, IT IS ALSO GETTING TO KNOW WHAT A PROBLEM IS HERE IN THIS COUNTRY WITH PEOPLE TRYING TO OWN THESE GUYS AS PETS. IT HAS BEEN AN EYE OPENER. IT IS INSPIRING TO SPREAD THE WORD THAT CATS DON'T MAKE GOOD PETS AND TAKE CARE OF THE ONES WE HAVE AND GET THEM INTO BIG CLOSURES.

I TELL THE INTERNS WHEN THEY FIRST GET HERE, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE EVERY EMOTION YOU CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE AND IT ALL MIGHT BE IN THE SAME DAY. SO YOU CAN GO FROM BEING TOTALLY ECSTATIC ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS OR SOMETHING SO DEVASTATING AT THAT BREAKS YOUR HEART. THAT'S SOME OF THE PROCESS OF JUST LEARNING TO TAKE CARE OF THE ANIMALS.

ALONG WITH ADOPTION AND SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMS, THE REFUGE ALSO RELIES HEAVILY ON DONATIONS.

WE FEED ABOUT 1,000 POUNDS OF RAW MEAT A NIGHT. AND IN THE WINTERTIME THAT JUMPS UP TO 2,200 POUNDS OF MEAT A NIGHT. WE ARE VERY THANKFUL FOR TYSON FOODS DONATING THE MAJORITY OF OUR MEAT. WITHOUT THEIR SUPPORT, I DON'T KNOW HOW WE COULD EVER DO THAT.

THERE IS ALSO SOMETHING CALLED PHOTO WILD OPPORTUNITIES WHICH TANYA'S HUSBAND SCOTT HANDLES.

WELL, AFTER THE RESERVATION PROGRESS, WE BRING THE PEOPLE DOWN AND THEY COME OUT HERE TO THE HABITATS AND WHAT WE DO IS WE GO FROM ONE AREA TO THE OTHER. ALL OF THEM ARE PRETTY LARGE. AND THE PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE ALWAYS IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT AND THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PUT ANYTHING THROUGH THE CAGES AND THINGS LIKE THAT. AND THEY WALK AROUND THE CAGES AND WE DO FROM THE OUTSIDE AND AS YOU CAN SEE, THE FOLIAGE COVERS UP THE CAGES AND MAKES IT GOOD FOR TAKING PICTURES. WE SPEND A COUPLE HOURS IN THE EARLY MORNING LIGHT TAKING PICTURES.

SCOTT TALKED TO US ABOUT THE REWARDS OF WORKING AT THE REFUGE.

WELL, CHUCK, ACTUALLY IT CERTAINLY ISN'T FINANCIAL, THAT'S FOR SURE. I WISH IT WERE. EVEN AT THE REFUGE, WE GET PAID IN SO MANY WAYS THAT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONETARY PAY. WE GET TO SPEND TIME WITH ANIMALS THAT THERE IS NO PLACE ON THE PLANET THAT I KNOW OF THAT YOU CAN GO AND BE THIS CLOSE TO THE BIG CATS AND IT IS THE RELATIONSHIPS YOU BUILD WITH THEM THAT REALLY, REALLY MAKE IT ALL WORTHWHILE. WHEN YOU WALK BY A PARTICULAR CAGE AND THAT CAT GROWLS AT YOU AND YOU KNOW YOU SAVED HIM A LIFE BY GIVING HIM A SHOT OF ANTIBIOTICS EIGHT YEARS AGO AND HE IS STILL MAD ABOUT IT. AND THE CAT NEXT DOOR MAY LOVE YOU LIKE AN APPARENT HOUSE CAT, AT THE SAME TIME YOU CAN'T REACH YOUR HANDS IN THERE AND WRAP THEM AROUND THEIR NECK LIKE YOU WOULD LIKE. SO IT IS AMAZING THE RELATIONSHIPS YOU CAN BUILD THROUGH A CAGE.

TURPENTINE CREEK WILDLIFE REFUGE IS OPEN EVERY DAY EXCEPT CHRISTMAS. PAY THEM A VISIT. IT WILL BE QUITE THE EXPERIENCE FOR YOU AS WELL.

ELEPHANTS, THEY ARE QUITE AN INTERESTING ANIMAL. IN FACT THE LARGEST LAND ANIMAL. EACH ONE CAN EAT UP TO SEVERAL HUNDRED POUNDS OF PLANT MATERIAL AND DRINK UP TO 50-GALLONS OF WATER PER DAY. WE ARE HERE AT RITTLES ELEPHANT SANSANCTUARY. QUITE AN UNIQUE FACILITY FOR THESE WONDERFUL CREATURES.

HEAD DOWN, HEAD DOWN.

ESTABLISHED IN 1990, RITTLES ELEPHANT AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY IS DEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION OF BOTH ASIAN AND AFRICAN ELEPHANTS. THE 13 ELEPHANTS HERE WERE GIVEN A HOME AS AT THE REQUEST OF ZOOS AND VARIOUS OWNERS. IT HAS WORLDWIDE ACCLAIM INVOLVING ITS RESEARCH AND ELEPHANT CARE.

ALWAYS WORKING FOR THE ELEPHANTS, TRYING TO MAKE BETTER LIVES FOR THEM AND EDUCATE PEOPLE AS TO THEIR NEEDS, NOT ONLY IN GENERAL BUT FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE TAKING CARE OF THEM, THE CAREGIVERS, EDUCATING THEM, THAT TYPE OF THING, STARTING -- HAVING A LOT OF SCHOOL GROUPS COME UP, GRAMMAR SCHOOLS, SCHOOL CHILDREN. AS EVERYONE SAYS, HAS PROBABLY BEEN QUOTED A MILLION TIMES, CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE. WE NEED TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT ELEPHANTS SO THEY CAN BE AROUND TO HELP KEEP THEM FROM DISAPPEARING.

VARIOUS PROGRAMS ARE OFFERED AT THE SANCTUARY IN WHICH THE PUBLIC CAN GET HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE WITH THE ELEPHANTS.

WE OFFER WHAT WE CALL AN ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE WEEKEND WHERE FOLKS WILL COME IN ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND STAY THE WEEKEND. THEY LEAVE JUST AFTER LUNCH ON SUNDAY. THEY GET TO STAY HERE IN OUR DORMITORY, EAT THEIR MEALS HERE, INTERACT WITH THE ELEPHANTS, HELP CLEAN THEM UP AND TAKE CARE OF THEM A LITTLE BIT, GET A LOT OF PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES. IT IS KIND OF AN EDUCATIONAL, FUN WEEKEND. WE'VE HAD PEOPLE COME -- WE HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW. AND WE'VE HAD PEOPLE ACTUALLY TELL US IT IS THE BEST WEEKEND THEY HAVE HAD IN THEIR WHOLE LIFE AND IT IS JUST KIND OF A HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE THAT PEOPLE REALLY SEEM TO ENJOY. PEOPLE LIKE ELEPHANTS. THEY LIKE TO GET UP CLOSE TO THEM. SO THEY REALLY ENJOY THAT. WE ALSO STILL HAVE OUR VISITOR'S DAY THE FIST SATURDAY OF EVERY MONTH BETWEEN 11:00 AND 3:00 AND WE WELCOME PEOPLE TO COME OUT AND LOOK AT THE PLACE. WE CHARGE ABOUT $5 A PERSON TO HELP FOR THE COST OF FEEDING THE ELEPHANT, THAT TYPE OF THING.

SCOTT EXPLAINED TO US WHY THE WORLD'S ELEPHANT POPULATION HAS BEEN DWINDLING.

THE PROBLEM THAT HAS GONE TO THE TOP OF THE LIST WITH ELEPHANTS AND HUMAN BEINGS IS WHAT THEY CALL THE ELEPHANT-HUMAN CONFLICT PROBLEM. POACHING IS STILL AN ISSUE AND IT HAS TO BE STOPPED. BUSH MEAT, KILLING ELEPHANTS FOR FOOD, THAT TYPE OF THING. WHAT HAS REALLY MOVED TO THE FOREFRONT IS THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE HUMAN POPULATION IS EXPLODING ACROSS THE WORLD. AND SO WHERE ELEPHANTS LIVE, WHERE THEY COME FROM IN EITHER AFRICA OR ASIA, THERE IS JUST A TREMENDOUS EXPLOSION OF HUMAN BEINGS AND THEY MOVE INTO THE AREAS WHERE THE ELEPHANTS HAVE TRADITIONALLY LIVED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS AND START FARMING IT AND LIVING THERE AND SO THEY ARE TAKING THE LAND AWAY FROM THE ELEPHANTS. THE ELEPHANTS STILL COME AND WHAT THEY DO IS THEY START RAIDING CROPS. AND THEY WILL KILL PEOPLE AT TIMES AND DESTROY VILLAGES BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING DENIED TO A CERTAIN EXTENT THEIR GRAZING LAND THEY HAVE HAD FOR THOUSAND OF YEARS. AND SO THEY SAY THE PEOPLE ACTUALLY ARE THE INTRUDERS. SO THAT'S A MAJOR PROBLEM NOW. ELEPHANTS GET POISONED, THEY GET SHOT. IF THEY ARE REAL SUCCESSFUL CROP RAIDERS, THEY DON'T LAST LONG IN ASIA OR AFRICA. THEY DISPOSE OF THEM ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. ALTHOUGH MOST PEOPLE OVER THERE LIKE ELEPHANTS. IF THEY PUT THE QUESTION UP, IS MY FAMILY GOING TO EAT OR IS THIS ELEPHANT GOING TO DISAPPEAR? THE ELEPHANT DISAPPEARS.

SCOTT SAYS WORK IS BEING DONE TO RECTIFY THAT SITUATION.

WE ARE WORKING VERY CLOSELY AND ALWAYS HAVE WITH A CHEMIST OUT OF OREGON. HER NAME IS DR. BETTES RASMUSIN. SHES HAS DISCOVERED MANY THINGS ABOUT ELEPHANTS, ESPECIALLY CHEMICAL COMMUNICATIONSES. WE HAVE COLLABORATED ON AN ELEPHANT REPELLANT PROGRAM FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS AND WE HAVE TESTED IT IN INDIA AND WE WILL GO TO SL SRI LANKA NEXT. IT WORKS. SHE CAME UP WITH NON-TOXIC CHEMICALS THAT REPEL ELEPHANTS WITH A MECHANICAL DEVICE THAT I DEVELOPED WITH THE HELP OF THE PEOPLE HERE AND THAT COMBINATION KEEPS ELEPHANTS OUT OF CROPS. IT WORKS. I THINK IT IS GOING TO HAVE A TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF ELEPHANTS. AND SO THAT KIND OF GOES INTO THE SUBJECT OF HOW IMPORTANT CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS ARE BECAUSE THE STUDIED STARTED WITH CAP TIN ELEPHANTS. YOU COULDN'T GO OUT AND TEST IMMEDIATELY ON WILD ELEPHANTS. CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS ARE IMPORTANT TO THE EXISTENCE AND FUTURE OF ALL WILD ELEPHANTS. THIS IS WHERE A LOT OF THE EDUCATION HAS TO TAKE PLACE WHERE A LOT OF THE RESEARCH HAS TO TAKE PLACE TO BE ABLE TO HELP THEIR WILD COUSINS AND SO IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS BE UTILIZED TO THE UTMOST.

OF COURSE, WITH THE SANCTUARY LIKE THIS, FUNDING AND DONATIONS PLAY A MAJOR ROLE.

IF ANY OF YOUR LISTENERS OUT THERE WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TOWARD A SANCTUARY, WE ARE A 501 [C] [3] OR BECOME A MEMBER OR A CORPORATE MEMBER, WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THEM. THE ELEPHANTS NEVER STOP EATING. THEIR NEEDS NEVER STOP. IT IS LIKE HAVING 16-YEAR-OLD PROBLEM CHILDREN THAT NEVER LEAVE HOME. THE NEED IS ALWAYS HERE. SO WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY HELP WE COULD GET.

FOLKS CAN ADOPT AN ELEPHANT.

ABSOLUTELY. YOU CAN ADOPT AN ELEPHANT. YOUR GET A BUMPER STICKER AND A PICTURE OF THE ELEPHANT AND YOU GET TO GO AROUND AND BRAG TO EVERYBODY LIKE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN.

SCOTT SAYS THE NEED THING ABOUT COMMUNICATING WITH ELEPHANTS IS THAT THEY UNDERSTAND JUST LIKE PEOPLE.

THEY ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND THE WORDS. ONCE THEY LEARN THEM, THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WORDS MEAN. LIKE, YOU CAN TELL HER, BOOFER, BACKUP.

SHE BACKS UP.

BACKUP. SHE KNOWS WHAT "BACK UP" MEANS. WHEN YOU SAY "STEADY" THAT MEANS STANDSTILL. SOME OF IT IS PRETTY OBVIOUS. YOU SAY TRUNK, MOVE HER TRUNK. SHE PUTS HER NOSE IN THE AIR. SPEAK. [MAKING NOISES]

GOOD GIRL. THAT'S A GOOD GIRL. BACK UP NOW. THEY ARE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT. THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT YOU CAN TEACH THEM.

ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS.

ABSOLUTELY. I DO BUT THEY DON'T.

WE MADE A SLIGHT WARDROBE CHANGE FOR THIS SEGMENT BECAUSE I THINK WE PLAN TO GET DOWN AND DIRTY OUTSIDE ONE OF THE WILD CAVES IN THE BUFFALO RIVER REGION. WITH ME IS A CAVE EXPERT ROBERT GINSBURG. FIRST OF ALL, WE NEED TO POINT OUT THE FIRST THREE BASIC POINTS THAT THE CAVERS NEED TO KNOW.

THE RULE OF THREE, IF YOU ARE GOING TO GO CAVING, IS A GOOD RULE TO ABIDE BY. YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE LESS THAN THREE SOURCES OF LIGHT. TWO OF THEM CAN GO OUT. IT IS NICE TO HAVE THREE SOURCES OF LIGHT. IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO GO WITH AT LEAST THREE PEOPLE IF SOMEBODY GETS HURT, YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO SEND FOR HELP AND SOMEONE TO STAY WITH THE VICTIM. AND THEN WHEN YOU ARE CLIMBING ON AN ANY VERTICAL KIND OF CAVE, KEEP THREE POINTS OF CONTACT, TWO HANDS AND A FOOT OR TWO FEET AND A HAND SO IF SOMEONE SLIPS, YOU WILL NOT FALL. AND LET SOMEBODY KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. IT IS HARD TO FIND SOMEBODY IN THE WOODS, IMAGINE FINDING SOMEBODY DOWN IN A HOLE. THOSE ARE SOME OF THE BASIC THINGS YOU WANT TO FOLLOW IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO ANY WILD CAVING. IT IS NOT ACTIVITY TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. THERE IS DEFINITELY DANGERS THAT LURK DOWN THERE.

THIS IS A VERTICAL ENTRANCE SO WE WILL BE DOING REPELLING DOWN.

WE WILL HARNESS UP AND DROP DOWN. IT IS NOT DEEP. IT DROPS INTO THE STREAM PASSAGE. ONCE WE ARE INTO THE STREAM PASSAGE IT IS PRETTY MUCH A HORIZONTAL CAVE. WE WILL FOLLOW THE STREAM BACK UP INTO THIS MOUNTAIN.

THE THING ABOUT EXPLORING A WILD CAVE, IT IS NOT GOING TO BE LIT UP LIKE A SHOW OR TOURIST CAVE. THE ONLY LIGHT INSIDE IS THE LIGHT YOU BRING IN AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE WOULD LIKE TO PORTRAY TO YOU IN THIS SEGMENT. ALONG WITH THE HOLLOW SOUNDS OF TALKING INSIDE A CAVE.

HARD TO SEE, I GUESS, ISN'T IT? GOING THROUGH PASSAGEWAYS LIKE THIS MAKES IT EVEN MORE INTERESTING.

THIS IS CALCITE CRYSTAL LEACHING OUT OF THE WALLS. THE WATER HAS WORKED ITS WAY DOWN. IT HAS DISSOLVED THE LIMESTONE AND REFORMED THE LIMESTONE IN THESE CALCITE CRYSTALS WHICH ARE FLOWING OVER THE ROCK AND GIVING IT THE CRYSTAL LAYER. THAT'S WHAT'S BUILDING UP THE RIMSTONE DAM. ALSO ONE OF THE REASONS IT IS SO FRAGILE. YOU DON'T WANT TO WALK ON IT BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY YOU DESTROY THE CRYSTALS IF YOU ARE WALKING ON IT. ALL OF THESE FORMATIONS ARE BEING REDID HEDEPOSITED BACK INT WAS ERODED OUT BY WATER IN THE FORM OF THESE GEORGIA BACON STRIPS -- THESE GORGEOUS BACON STRIPS. YOU CAN SEE THE LIGHT THROUGH THE BACK OF THESE. CAN YOU SEE THAT?

SOME OF WHAT YOU MAY SEE INSIDE A CAVE MAY EVEN RESEMBLE THE SURFACE OF, SAY, MARS.

IT DOES SEEM LIKE AN ALIEN WORLD AT TIMES, STRANGE SHAPES AND FORMATIONS AND SOUNDS. ON A DAY LIKE TODAY WHICH IS LATE AUGUST, IT IS A GREAT DAY TO GO UNDERGROUND BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT 50 DEGREES DOWN HERE. GET OUT OF THE SWELTERINERING HT AND CONVERSELY IN THE WINTER WHERE IT IS FREEZING COLD, IT IS STILL ABOUT 50 DEGREES. THERE IS THAT APPEAL. YOU DO HAVE TO BE AWARE OFTHE WEATHER OUTSIDE BECAUSE IF IT RAINS, YOU CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO GET INTO AN UNDERGROUND CAVE THAT MIGHT FLOOD. IT REALLY IS JUST A GREAT COMBINATION OF DIFFICULT EXERTION, ADVENTURE AND DISCOVERY. THERE IS SO MUCH TO BE DISCOVERED UNDERGROUND AND IT REALLY IN MANY WAYS IS AN INDICATION OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE SURFACE. IT IS ALMOST LIKE A BLOOD TEST. EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS ON THE SURFACE ULTIMATELY MAKES ITS WAY DOWN INTO THE GROUND. IN THAT RESPECT, I THINK IT GIVES US A WHOLE NEW UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPACT WE HAVE ON THE PLANET. BUT JUST THE ADVENTURE ASPECT OF THIS, THERE IS STILL NEW CAVES BEING EVER DISCOVERED IN ARKANSAS. CAVES THAT HAVE PROBABLY NEVER BEEN VISITED BY HUMANS BEFORE SO THERE THAT IS ASPECT OF EXPLORATION AND AGAIN ANALOGY OF GOING TO ANOTHER PLANET CERTAINLY APPLIES TO THAT. BUT TO BE ABLE TO GO SOMEWHERE WHERE PERHAPS NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE, AND EVEN IF THEY HAVE, IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE. AND FOR ME, IT IS THE SAME EXPERIENCE AS WALKING DOWN A RIVER. YOU ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S AROUND THE NEXT TURN. WELL, CAVES ARE CERTAINLY THAT WAY. A LOT OF TIMES THEY WILL DEAD END AND THAT WILL BE THE END OF IT. THE NEXT TIME YOU GO INTO THE CAVE YOU MIGHT FIND A WAY AROUND THAT DEAD END AND DISCOVER A WHOLE NEW PART OF THE CAVE THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW EXISTED. THAT IS PART OF THE LURE OF THE DISCOVERY AND JUST THE GRANDEUR OF KNOWING THAT YOU ARE LITERALLY INSIDE THE EARTH AND WHO KNOWS, THERE IS PROBABLY SOME INSTINCTIVE ASPECT OF HUMANS GOING UNDERGROUND BACK TO THE VERY DAWN OF MAN. ALL THE THINGS COME TOGETHER TO MAKE AN ACTIVITY THAT I HAVE REALLY COME TO ENJOY AND IT CERTAINLY HAS BECOME PART OF MY IDENTITY. I SPENT A LOT OF TIME UNDERGROUND.

WE ARE REALLY LOOKING AT THE UNDERSIDE OF THE FLOW STONE, THE BOTTOM OF THE FLOW STONE IS JUST HEAVILY DECORATED WITH THESE STALACTITES. YOU CAN WALK RIGHT BY THEM BECAUSE THIS IS RIGHT AT WAIST LEVEL AND NEVER REALIZE. IF YOU STOOP DOWN AND LOOK UNDERNEATH IT IS A FOREST OF STALACTITES. I WOULD SAY IT RUNS ABOUT 30 FEET DOWN THIS WATER PASSAGE AND IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU CAN EVEN SEE WHERE THE WATER DROPS ARE COMING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE STALACTITES AND IT ALSO LOOKS ICY, LIKE AN EY ICICLE AND THE CALCITE FORMING AND CONTINUING THE GROWTH OF THE STALACTITES.

THAT'S GOOD. YES! YOU GOTTA LOVE IT.

SO EXPLORE IT FOR YOURSELF ONE OF THE WILD AND EXCITING CASE IN THE OZARK MOUNTAIN REGION. A GOOD WAY TO DO THAT IS JOIN AN ORGANIZATION AND THEN TAKE A RIDE ON THE ELEPHANT AND BY ALL MEANS CHECK OUT THE LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS AT TURPENTINE WILDLIFE CREEK REFUGE AND FOR MORE INFO ON THESE AND OTHER DESTINATIONS, VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS. AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS."

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