In light of the "Tiger King" becoming so popular, I thought I'd share some of my old photographs from King Richard's Fair and share some facts that the documentary had not touched on. The felines shown in these images do in fact belong to Myrtle Beach Safari Zoo, owned by Doc Antle. After seeing their show as a young high schooler I decided to do my own research, as some of the "facts" they had shared just didn't seem right to me. So I did a research paper on wildcats in captivity, here's some things you may not know.
White tigers are rarely found in the wild, they are not albino, and are often a result of inbreeding. Unfortunately white tigers do not last very long in the wild, as they cannot camouflage themselves in order to hunt sufficiently, so they often perish from starvation. The only time you will see a white tiger in the wild is when population numbers in the area are dwindling, forcing tigers to inbreed. When you see white tigers bred in captivity, they are a result of forced inbreeding and because of this have a plethora of other health problems.
White tiger from Myrtle Beach Safari at King Richard's
This shouldn't be surprising but, you cannot, turn a wild animal domesticated in the matter of their lifespan. You can "tame" a wild animal but their wild instincts will always stay with them. It took thousands of years for humans to completely domesticate the dog along with your common house cat. The small kitten seen in the photograph below is a Serval, an exotic cat that has long been mistreated in the exotic pet trade. There have been cross breeds of this cat with domesticated house cats, resulting in what is called a Savannah cat. Although very low content Savannah cats may be considered more "domesticated" it is still not the best idea to own one. They look cute and cuddly, but once that kitten is full grown you'll have a wild animal turning your home into their own personal jungle. This is not your average house cat, Savannahs can reach sizes up to 22 pounds as first and second generation hybrids. Also they're probably the most expensive cat your money can buy. So unless you'd like to spend $10k+ on a hybrid wild cat that will rip up your house, I'd suggest settling for a Bengal cat. Bengals are 100% domesticate but with the exotic looks and they're hypoallergenic!
Also one last thing, as with many exotic species that are obtained for the purpose of being pets, many people decide to release them into the wild when they have become too much. Don't do this, it causes an invasive species problem, destroying local wildlife.
I could go on and on, but I encourage everyone to do their own research, and if you'd like to check out a real sanctuary that actually works to protect these animals please check out:
In all realness I'm really glad this series has brought the issue of the exotic pet trade to light, something I have long been passionate about, and I hope this helps people open their eyes to this widely spread issue