Tiger King’s Doc Antle charged with wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty

Clémence Michallon
·2-min read
Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle in ‘Tiger King’ (Courtesy of Netflix)
Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle in ‘Tiger King’ (Courtesy of Netflix)

Doc Antle, one of the subjects of the Netflix docu-series Tiger King, has been charged with animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking.

The charges were announced on Friday by the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.

Antle is accused along with another man of allegedly trafficking lion cubs between Virginia and South Carolina.

He owns Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina, while the other man, Keith A Wilson, who is also facing charges, owns a facility called Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Virginia.

Antle is now facing one felony count of wildlife trafficking, one felony count of conspiracy to wildlife traffic, four misdemeanour counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and nine misdemeanour counts of animal cruelty, according to Herring’s office.

Wilson, meanwhile, has been charged with one felony count of wildlife trafficking, one felony count of conspiracy to wildlife traffic, four misdemeanour counts of violating the Endangered Species Act, four misdemeanour counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and nine misdemeanour counts of animal cruelty.

Two of Antle’s daughters have also been charged. One, Tawny Antle, faces one misdemeanour count of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanour count of violating the Endangered Species Act. The other, Tilakum Watterson, is charged with two misdemeanour counts of cruelty to animals and two misdemeanour counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.

According to the attorney general’s office, the indictments are the result of a months-long investigation “into the relationship between Antle and Wilson”, which allegedly “found that both men trafficked lion cubs between Virginia and South Carolina”.

A search warrant was executed at Antle’s South Carolina property in December 2019, according to authorities.

The Independent has contacted Myrtle Beach Safari for comment.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness was released in March by Netflix. It focuses on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, who was sentenced in January to 22 years in prison after being convicted of two counts of murder-for-hire and other wildlife violations.