Categories: Zoos

World’s largest cat. Over 900 lbs and 11.5 ft tall. What about the ethics?

Apollo current world’s largest cat. Photo: screenshot from video on Instagram.

As I understand it, Doc Antle, full name Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle, bred the liger, Apollo, who he claims is the current world’s largest cat. Before Apollo there was Hercules who I presume has died. Ligers are hybrids by crossing male lions with female tigers. They can be huge because of hybrid vigour.

Doc Antle – ethics

Doc Antle is one of the big cat celebrity private zoo owners who behaves in a dubious manner according to many including The Humane Society of the United States. He’d deny any wrong doing. One of his businesses is the Myrtle Beach Safari, within the dubiously named ‘The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species’, in South Carolina. Apparently he has a network: Tiger Safari in Tuttle, Oklahoma, and Natural Bridge Zoo in Natural Bridge, Virginia.

There are allegations by Joe Exotic (and others?) that be breeds big cat cubs to exploit them and kills them in gas chambers when they are adult in order to save costs. He denies it and he has never been charged under animal welfare criminal law. It is very expensive to maintain big cats. Cubs are marketable while adults are burdensome. The cubs are taken from their mothers immediately after birth which is another aspect of the cruelty of this business.

The business model (and Doc Antle is in business big time) of breeding cubs and exploiting them is unsustainable in my view. Where do you ‘park’ the adult cats? As mentioned they are allegedly quietly killed or caged in poor conditions.

He admits to euthanising white tigers – which I presume he also breeds and which are dramatically inbred – when they are cross-eyed. White tigers should not be bred as they often have hereditary defects due to inbreeding.

Doc Antle would say that he is involved in a conservation program. Personally, and this is my opinion, it is BS. I also find that he has cynically labelled himself a doctor by employing ‘Doc’ in his name. This appears to be intended to give validity to his antics. Does he have any medical qualifications? Or does he have a PhD? Please advise.

The Netflix documentary series was primarily about Joe Exotic’s feud with Carole Baskin but Doc Antle is automatically included because he is a high profile big cat exploiter for profit. He objects to the film. His criticisms of it are similar to those of Carole Baskin. However, Baskin is not of the same character as Exotic and Antle. I personally believe that her motives are genuinely in big cat rescue and in picking up the pieces that these exploiters leave behind.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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