Tiger King

Tiger King says: “If I ever went broke I think I would euthanise everything, rather than put them in another facility with the same financial stress.”


One of the many quotes of “Joe Exotic”, the main character in Tiger King, the Netflix series that shocked the world. At this moment another documentary shines a light on what’s happening with the captive big cats in the USA. This documentary, made by Louis Theroux, is broadcasted by the BBC.

If one thing must be learned from Tiger King it is the following. The management of sanctuaries is a serieus business. It should be done by serious people with responsibility, knowledge, perseverance and respect for animals.

Netflix is not responsible for what happened with all the animals involved in its hit series Tiger King. People should be grateful that this documentary showed what is wrong with a lot of so-called sanctuaries in the USA. But the reality is that a lot of people are copy-cats: they just want to do the same. They want to own, dominate and exploit the big cats for their own well-being. And this is a major risk, especially with the current laws in the USA.

New federal laws needed

This is why the USA has to step up with specific laws. Federal laws that prevent private ownership of wild animals. Laws that clearly regulate how sanctuaries should be managed. And laws that empower law enforcement officers to enforce improvements with sanctuaries if they don’t do well.

But there is another aspect in this case. The USA should already think about giving sanctuary to the animals that are neglected. If private ownership is banned, many big cats must get decent places to stay. With enough place to roam (much more than the current laws), with excellent medical care and with enough, nutritious food.

Last but certainly not least: breeding of wild animals must never be allowed, unless it is an official breeding program, supported by the leading authorities on wildlife conservation. With this I don’t mean zoos.

#TigerNews: Read the full article on The Express, published on  March 31, 2021.