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Luna the lion - lies and deceit at Tiger Creek

TIGER KING UPDATE - Newly obtained documents show Joe Exotic (Maldonado) of Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, Kevin Doc Bhagavan Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari Wild Encounters Tour and Jason Clay of East Texas Zoo and Gator Park and Franklin Drive Thru Safari sent wildcats to Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary - Tyler, Texas in 2018 and 2019.

Tiger Creek is an unaccredited pseudo-sanctuary described by visitors as a tiger zoo that keeps the animals in small enclosures.

Particularly of note are the animals Clay sent to Tiger Creek which include a 12-week-old puma and a 6-week-old white African lion named Luna that was taken from her mother and bottle fed by Clay’s facility and Tiger Creek. According to the GWLPT: Global White Lion Protection Trust there are hundreds of white lions in captivity, but less than 13 remain in the wild.

In a 2018 interview with Texas Monthly, Tiger Creek's director said Luna arrived at the facility after being rescued by a private individual from “a very dark situation.”

Just two months before sending Luna to Tiger Creek, Clay was indicted for exploiting a disabled individual by taking his winning lottery ticket, cashing it in for $180,000 and keeping the money for himself. Did the sale of Luna help fund Clay’s defense in the case?

In 2019 Clay was sentenced to 10 years felony deferred probation for the lottery ticket incident and for severely beating a man in a bar fight. In 2020, he is accused of obtaining animals from Wisconsin’s now-closed Special Memories Zoo, and for keeping the animals at his roadside zoo and drive-thru attraction in neglectful conditions, resulting in the death of dozens of animals including the October death of Azizi the giraffe, transferred to Clay’s ETZ facility from New York’s Animal Adventure Park.

Also listed in the transfer documents are a black leopard sent to Tiger Creek from Exotic (Maldonado) and at least five tigers transferred to Tiger Creek from Antle. Exotic is currently serving time in federal prison and Doc Antle has been indicted on wildlife trafficking charges.

Clay remains free, and his roadside zoo and drive-thru safari remain in operation despite the numerous reports of animal welfare violations occurring at East Texas Zoo and Gator Park ( and Franklin Drive Thru Safari (

A Facebook page with more than 3.7K followers sheds light on misappropriated funds and neglectful conditions at Tiger Creek Sanctuary, where the animals currently reside. Visit to learn more.


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