Where is Doc Antle now? He continues running his wildlife preserve

Doc Antle is the original Tiger King. Antle grew up on a ranch, where he developed a passion for exotic animals. He left the farm for a study trip to Asia and returned with a new name: Mahamayavi Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle. Doc set up his wildlife preserve, Myrtle Beach Safari, and The Rare Species Fund around 1983.

Antle’s wildlife preserve became the inspiration for Joe Exotic’s G.W. Zoo. It’s perhaps no surprise that Doc featured in the Netflix hit Tiger King. Doc was the star of Netflix’s latest Tiger King spin-offTiger King: The Doc Antle Story

Doc Antle continues running his wildlife preserve and has rubbished Tiger King

Doc Antle continues running his ‘wildlife preserve’ in Myrtle Beach. The preserve isn’t as successful as it was in the 90s and early 2000s when it attracted movie stars and musicians, but it’s doing quite well. 

Antle has benefited from the publicity brought by Tiger King, but he’s also suffered due to increased attention by authorities. Doc told News13 that his facility meets set standards:

“We have a perfect record, we have an incredible facility. It’s so different from what they had. Of course, we get along with our federal inspectors, we are totally connected with our state regulator. We produced a product that’s exactly perfect according to the standard.”

Doc encourages people to visit the facility and make an independent judgment. “An opportunity to get up-close to these incredible animals uncaged in this meaningful interactive way puts a smile on people’s faces and all of us get to enjoy that,” Doc added. 

Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story is quite critical of Doc. The series contains interviews with Doc’s workmates and acquaintances from the 80s. It alleges that Antle had sexual relationships with multiple minors, including a marriage to a 15-year-old. 

The series claims that Antle forged the 15-year-old’s father’s signature so he could legally marry her. Antle denied that he conned his way into a marriage with the 15-year-old, affirming that the father consented to the short-lived union. Antle adds that all allegations against him are false:

“They made up stuff to create a program that someone would watch, they never said it was a documentary, no one says it’s the truth, they just put it out there as a wild tabloid tale. Everything that was the truth in Tiger King was kind of taken away and given back in Tiger King 2 as a lie, well that’s all they got is a crazy set of stories that are half-truths that never really happened.”

Antle’s trial for various animal-related crimes starts in July 2022

Following an investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s Animal Law Unit, a grand jury indicted Doc Antle on charges of wildlife trafficking, conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act, and animal cruelty. 

The grand jury also indicted two of Antle’s daughters on similar charges. The indictment alleges that Doc transported lions in a ‘cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering.’ Doc denied the allegations in a statement, saying:

“I categorically deny any act or conduct that could ever be considered as ‘animal cruelty.’ I have spent my entire professional life promoting the welfare and conservation of big cats and other species. I have deep regard and feeling for the animals in my care and would never hurt or abuse them in any way. I look forward to being able to answer these charges and to be able to clear my good name.”

Despite claiming that he runs a legitimate operation, Doc Antle has faced multiple allegations of misappropriation of funds. His nonprofit, Rare Species Fund, has donated to some conservation efforts, but the Fund’s annual reports suggest that he uses the nonprofit to finance his preserve. 

Antle faced a November 2020 complaint from PETA alleging that he’d mishandled a tiger suffering from the coronavirus. Per News13, the complaint read:

“Another captive tiger just tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but the recently indicted Doc Antle hasn’t let federal recommendations against cub-petting stop his search for the limelight. Tigers and elephants used for photo ops are caged, chained, and beaten into submission.”

The Humane Society of the United States claims that authorities should shut down Antle’s facility as it engages in animal cruelty. “Antle’s tiger mill has been the source of immense cruelty to hundreds of tigers and must be shut down,” the organization’s CEO, Kitty Block, said, per The New York Times

If found guilty, Doc will become another Tiger King star found to be operating illegally: Joe Exotic faces two decades in prison for killing tigers and conspiracy to murder; Tim Stark was convicted of animal cruelty; authorities canceled Jeff Lowe’s license to exhibit animals to the public.