As a result of PETA’s successful Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Wildlife in Need and its operators—Tim Stark of Tiger King and his ex-wife, Melissa Lane—22 tigers, lions, and tiger/lion hybrids made it out of the now-defunct roadside zoo today. All were transported to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado and the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas.
U.S. Marshals provided security for the operation, which went smoothly despite threats made by Stark in ranting videos he posted to Facebook. In addition to suggesting that his supporters obstruct animal transport vehicles, he identified a PETA attorney by name, brandished a rifle, and indicated that he was “taught to shoot and kill” people like those at PETA. In response, the court ordered Stark to stay at least 2 miles from the property on the day of the transfer.
“Stark’s tiger-terrorizing days are over,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet, who also appeared in Tiger King. “There were 22 survivors in Indiana of the big cats PETA has worked for years to save, and we’re happy that they will now be able to roam natural terrain, swim safely, and never be exploited again.”
State authorities, along with representatives from the Indianapolis Zoo, removed the other animals from Wildlife in Need earlier this week. Because Stark transferred four young lions to Jeff Lowe—also of Tiger King and the operator of the (also now-defunct) Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma—the latter was also a defendant in the lawsuit. Any surviving lions transferred to Oklahoma are also subject to the federal court’s orders, and PETA and an accredited sanctuary will soon remove them from Lowe’s property.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
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