In Netflix’s bizarre documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, Doc Antle is first noted as a notorious cat breeder. As the founder of The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) and the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina, Antle has come under scrutiny since Tiger King’s release. The animal trainer has an extensive history in the entertainment industry. This makes him the prime target for organizations like PETA and the United States Department of Agriculture. So what exactly happened with that 2019 raid?
Doc Antle doesn’t love how he’s portrayed in ‘Tiger King’
Everyone has their own version of the story. For Doc Antle, he doesn’t appreciate the way his story’s been told in the seven-part docuseries, Tiger King.
Antle posted a photo on his Instagram page with a lengthy caption. In it, he explained disappointment with the way he was portrayed.
“Tiger King, the new drama series that debuted on Netflix last week, is not a documentary, it is quasi-fictional drama, more focused on shock value and titillation than fact,” he began the post.
“While focusing on the real-life rivalry between Joe “Exotic” and Carole Baskin, the insinuation that TIGERS/ Myrtle Beach Safari is a cult that exploits, euthanizes and incinerates tiger cubs, is a reprehensible falsehood.
TIGERS/MBS has never euthanized any tiger cubs or adult tigers — nor any other animal. The insinuation is as foul as it is without foundation.”
He continued by saying tiger cub interaction is their “most popular” ambassador program. All cubs are part of the breeding program “(Species Survival Trust or SST) that is conducted in partnership with Brian W. Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Genomics in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences in the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the founder of the Exotic Genome Repository.”
Antle said this is what separates his sanctuary from others. He noted that cubs aren’t bred only to be an interactive part of a program, but as part of captive tiger breeding programs that are “designed to create a genetic backup for wild tiger populations.”
He added the cubs aren’t ever euthanized. However, they may be transferred to “an accredited zoological facility that is a partner in our breeding program (SST).”
What really happened in that 2019 raid?
The end of the docuseries mentioned a raid at Antle’s compound in Dec. 2019. An audio clip of Joseph Maldonado–Passage (aka Joe Exotic) accused Antle of the aforementioned euthanization of tiger cubs in the docuseries. But, what really happened?
Antle told The Sun News in Dec. that the raid had nothing to do with tiger cubs. It revolved around three “adult lions he received from a Virginia zoo that was under investigation for animal cruelty,” according to Myrtle Beach Online.
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman, Tommy Crosby, told The Sun News he couldn’t release the raid’s search warrant. He said they were “produced to support an investigation being conducted by authorities in Virginia.”
Antle denied all euthanization accusations and added his connection to Maldonado-Passage isn’t as portrayed in Tiger King.
Antle made a statement to ABC 15 News explaining what happened:
“We have the three lions they’re fabulous little babies that are here with us. Many of our guests this summer all hugged them and met them and those lions are permanent residents here at the preserve. The lions are part of an ongoing investigation the state is working on and they wanted us to try and help them look at the trail of where the lions had come from and any ideas or evidence we had about what the lion’s lives had been before they moved here to Myrtle Beach Safari.”ABC 15 News
No arrests warrants were served and Antle has not been found guilty of doing anything unlawful.
Antle’s safari park remains open amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and recent conversations since the release of Tiger King, Antle’s zoo remains open to the public. Any allegations against Doc Antle or his facility and practices have yet to be substantiated.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is available to stream on Netflix.