Winchester, Virginia – Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, a prominent animal trainer featured in the popular Netflix series “Tiger King,” has been sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to wildlife trafficking in Virginia. The state attorney general’s office made the announcement, revealing that Antle has also been banned from owning and handling exotic wild animals within the state for a period of five years. Attorney General Jason Miares stated that this sentence serves as a message that Virginia upholds the rule of law consistently, regardless of the nature of the offense.
Antle’s conviction stems from the illegal purchase of endangered lion cubs in Frederick County, Virginia, which were intended for display and profit at his Myrtle Beach Safari zoo in South Carolina. A jury found him guilty of two counts of wildlife trafficking and conspiracy to traffic wildlife in June. As a result, he has served 20 years in prison.
The Netflix documentary miniseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” shed light on the activities of Antle and other tiger ranchers. Prosecutors argued that Antle’s lucrative petting zoo at Myrtle Beach Safari encouraged him to ensure a constant supply of immature lion cubs. The illegal cub exchanges occurred in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
The decision to prosecute Antle sends a strong message regarding the state’s commitment to combating wildlife trafficking. Attorney General Miares emphasized that Virginia does not make exceptions when it comes to upholding the law, whether it entails dealing with violent repeat offenders, fraudsters, or wildlife traffickers.
Q: What was Bhagavan “Doc” Antle convicted of?
A: Bhagavan “Doc” Antle was convicted of wildlife trafficking in Virginia.
Q: What was his sentence?
A: Antle received a two-year suspended sentence.
Q: Can he own and handle exotic wild animals?
A: Antle is prohibited from owning and handling exotic wild animals in Virginia for five years.
Q: What was he accused of?
A: Antle was accused of illegally purchasing endangered lion cubs.
Q: Where were the lion cubs intended for?
A: The cubs were intended for Antle’s Myrtle Beach Safari zoo in South Carolina.
Q: How long did Antle serve in prison?
A: Antle served 20 years in prison.
Q: Which documentary series featured Antle?
A: Antle was featured in the Netflix documentary miniseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”
Q: What was the purpose of the Myrtle Beach Safari’s petting zoo?
A: The petting zoo sought to generate profit by providing visitors the opportunity to interact with lion cubs.
Q: When did the illegal cub exchanges take place?
A: The illegal cub exchanges occurred in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Q: What message did the prosecution of this case send?
A: The prosecution of this case demonstrated Virginia’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, even in cases involving wildlife traffickers.