Notorious animal exploiter Doc Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari and T.I.G.E.R.S. - Myrtle Beach, SC, has sent dozens of endangered tigers to Tiger Safari - Tuttle, OK, Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary - Tyler, TX, Exotic Animals R Us - Lone Jack, MO, Natural Bridge Zoo - Natural Bridge, VA, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park - Wynnewood, OK, Wildlife and Environmental Conservation - Moorpark, CA, Wilson’s Wild Animal Park - Winchester, VA, Tigers for Tomorrow - Attalla, AL, and St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve - St. Augustine, FL.
Antle gets away with tiger trafficking because he fraudulently “donates” the tigers to roadside zoos and often makes the zoo sign a written contract or he sets up a verbal arrangement with the zoo. Some of these agreements involve breeding the tigers. The roadside zoo keeps some of the cubs to make money off of, and they send the rest of the cubs to Antle to utilize for cub petting. When the tigers get too big for cub petting, Antle sends them to other roadside zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries and private owners.
According to federal and state laws, this is a sale because Antle receives compensation for his “donations.” Antle makes thousands of dollars off of cubs produced by the animals he contracts out to other roadside zoos.
Animal exploiters make money off of tigers throughout their life and even in death.
Money is made off of the cubs by using them for cub petting, photo ops, entertainment appearances and animal shows or parties.
When cubs get too big and dangerous for cub petting, they are used for breeding to produce more cubs.
When the tigers stop producing cubs, they are sold to private owners, canned hunts, or other roadside zoos.
From 2014-2015, Tiger Safari sent more than 17 snow white and royal white tiger cubs to Antle; the cubs were the offspring of tigers that Antle had sent to Tiger Safari to breed. The births were not documented with the USDA and the cubs were transferred across state lines without health checks, vaccinations or veterinary certifications.
Antle also frequently works with Exotic Animals R Us, a broker/dealer/transporter that picks up the cubs from roadside zoos like Tiger Safari and raises them for a few weeks before sending them to Antle.
Tiger Safari, Natural Bridge Zoo and Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park all had cub breeding arrangements with Antle.
These roadside zoos are covering up the sale and illegal interstate transfer of endangered species by hiding the amount of cubs bred, hiding the location the cubs are sent to and failing to report income made from the cubs to the IRS.
Documents indicate Antle has also sent tigers to Wildlife and Environmental Conservation, Tigers for Tomorrow, St. Augustine Wildlife Reserve and Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary; the tigers were likely pay-to-play cubs that got too big and were discarded. Employees at Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary were told Antle could come back and pick up his tigers at any time. This is not a donation. In 2018, Tiger Creek Sanctuary attempted to introduce two of Antle’s tigers for breeding, which was unsuccessful and resulted in injuries to the tigers.
In October 2020, Antle and two of his daughters were indicted on wildlife trafficking charges. Keith Wilson from Wilson’s Wild Animal Park was also indicted. However, based on our research, there are a lot more wildlife trafficking charges that Antle should be facing.
According to the federal Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to “take” any endangered species. “Take” means to “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap,
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.”
Antle’s practice of removing cubs from their mothers to artificially raise them for cub petting interactions is a violation of the ESA because the cubs are harassed and harmed and it impairs their normal and essential behaviors.
Some of the tigers that Antle sent to these other facilities were sick, injured and covered in ringworm. They were not provided with adequate nutrition during crucial developmental stages, leading to illness, injury and death, which is a violation of the ESA.
Antle’s practice of acquiring and disposing of ESA protected animals in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of commercial activity is a violation of the ESA and the Lacey Act.
Antle’s practice of sending ESA protected animals to facilities with documented histories of animal neglect including inadequate veterinary care, food, water or shelter, which has led to animal injuries and deaths, is considered a “take” and is a violation of the ESA.
The facilities Antle contracts with to traffic endangered species are also in violation of the ESA by intentionally and negligently acting and omitting information that has created the likelihood of injury by annoying ESA protected species to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring: If you need information and witnesses for your wildlife trafficking investigation, email email@example.com. We are counting on you to do your job and shut down these roadside zoos that value profit over the lives of the animals.