Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary facing a lawsuit for Endangered Species Act violations


Photos of a tiger named Lexi who passed away at Tiger Creek were included in the ALDF's press release.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has issued an intent to sue Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).


Tiger Creek, which also goes by the name National Foundation for Rescued Animals, is a nonprofit located in Tyler, Texas. The facility is directed by Brian Werner Ferris and his daughter Emily Owen.


The ALDF issued a press release on January 10, 2022, alleging Tiger Creek mistreats tigers, lions, ring-tailed lemurs and other ESA-protected animals by harming, harassing, and killing numerous animals including nine lions and tigers who have died there since 2018.


The allegations listed in the ALDF’s press release include the following:

  • A puma named Coco was euthanized days after he began dragging his leg around his enclosure and became immobile.

  • A tiger named Amir stopped eating and was found dead in his cage.

  • A tiger named Greg was euthanized after developing a distended abdomen and rejecting food.

  • A tiger named Nati had a cyst the size of a quarter in her abdomen that grew over multiple weeks to the size of a dinner plate before rupturing.

  • A tiger named Tibor refused to eat after transferring to Tiger Creek before ultimately passing away after spending hours in the rain and lying on his side in his own urine.

  • Tiger Creek keeps two ESA-protected ring-tailed lemurs isolated in separate enclosures with insufficient opportunities for enrichment and play.

The ALDF alleges a tiger named Tibor passed away at Tiger Creek after lying in his own urine in the rain for hours.

Tiger Creek has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture several times in the past year for failing to provide veterinary care to animals, for keeping a bobcat in an enclosure with an excessive amount of feces, hair and debris, and for failing to keep their tiger pools clean; posing a health hazard for the animals.


“Our notice to Tiger Creek comes after documented instances of inadequate care — including from the USDA — in clear violation of the ESA as animals continue to suffer needlessly without adequate housing, species-specific nutrition, timely veterinary care, or opportunities for enrichment,” ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells said in the press release. “We are prepared to file a lawsuit if violations at Tiger Creek are not appropriately addressed.”


The ALDF noted in their press release that in the past three years Tiger Creek has acquired six tigers from Doc Antle of Myrtle Beach Safari; made popular from the Netflix docu-series Tiger King. The ALDF said Tiger Creek failed to obtain permits from the Secretary of Interior for the transfer of the tigers which is a violation of the ESA “transfer” provision.


Antle was indicted in October 2020 on felony wildlife trafficking charges related to lion cubs that were transported from Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Virginia to his Myrtle Beach facility, which also goes by the name T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station.


The notice gives Tiger Creek 60 days to address violations of the ESA before the ALDF files a lawsuit.