Editor's Note: Roadside Zoo News on October 6, 2022, published a story titled “Guinness World Record oldest tiger in the world, Bengali, has died at Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary.” The article included information from U.S. Department of Agriculture records and legal filings in a civil lawsuit brought by Animal Legal Defense Fund. The article has been updated to clarify that two tigers that were referred to as missing as of July 2022 were missing from the USDA animal inventory and were later identified as deceased. The article was updated to reflect that a necropsy was performed on a tiger named Jasmine and no necropsy was performed on a tiger named Bengali. Roadside Zoo News does not vouch for the validity of USDA records and legal filings, nor did the article purport to do so.
Bengali, a tiger confirmed by the Guinness World Records to be the oldest living tiger in captivity, died earlier this year, court records reveal. A tiger named Jasmine has also died.
Bengali lived at Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary in Tyler, Texas, a facility being sued by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for their alleged inhumane treatment of animals. The lawsuit alleges that Tiger Creek director Emily Owen Brooks and her father, former director Brian Werner Ferris, were negligent in the care of numerous animals, resulting in the death of at least nine endangered lions and tigers.
“Among these deaths are a tiger who laid dying for days in his own waste without any veterinary intervention, a lion with gaping wounds who was forced to endure extensive and painful medical treatment until his death, and immobile, dying cats stabbed repeatedly in their chest in a brutal form of euthanasia,” court documents say.
Utilizing public U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports, Roadside Zoo News identified that two tigers were missing from Tiger Creek's USDA animal inventory as of July 2022. Court records indicate the tigers were euthanized. Their deaths were not publicly revealed.
Last week ALDF filed for an emergency preservation order to prevent further destruction of evidence and to preserve evidence that is central to the lawsuit, noting that “two tigers held by Defendants are now missing. Given Defendants’ recent history, they are likely dead.”
Attorneys for Tiger Creek filed a response today, confirming that on January 4, 2022, Jasmine was euthanized.
On May 9, 2022, Bengali was euthanized.
Guinness World Records has not updated their website to reflect that Bengali is deceased.
Documents indicate Tiger Creek had a necropsy, a post-mortem examination used to help diagnose diseases, nutritional imbalances and other abnormalities, completed on Jasmine. No necropsy was performed on Bengali. Tiger Creek’s attorney called necropsies “forensic mutilations,” and argued that medical inspections are not a requirement for preserving the animals, which are considered evidence in the lawsuit.
ALDF attorneys argued that if the tigers are deceased and no necropsy is performed, evidence central to their condition and care, and central to the lawsuit, is now lost.
ALDF is asking the judge to order Tiger Creek to preserve the remaining animals and related records, to notify ALDF within 5 days of the planned transfer or within 24 hours of the death of any of the animals, to allow ALDF to inspect the animals prior to the transfer or following the death of any animals and to grant limited expedited discovery into the circumstances of the animals’ deaths.
Download ALDF Emergency Motion for Preservation of Evidence:
Download Tiger Creek's response to Emergency Motion: