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Doc Antle

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Doc Antle
Doc Antle.jpg
Antle at Myrtle Beach Safari in 2005
Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle

(1960-03-16) March 16, 1960 (age 61)
Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Other namesDoc Antle
Kevin Antle
Known forInvolvement in Tiger King

Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle[1] (born March 16, 1960), better known as Doc Antle, is an American animal trainer and private zoo operator.[2][3]

Antle began raising and caring for animals at an early age, and started a private zoo operation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1983. He has also appeared in several documentaries and television shows and has worked on films including Ace Ventura and Dr. Doolittle. He was featured in the 2020 Netflix true crime documentary series Tiger King, which follows Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic's escalating feuds over exotic animals in private zoos; in the series, Antle's facility is described as a personality cult.

Antle has faced accusations of animal cruelty throughout his career, and in 2020 was indicted on animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking charges after an investigation by the Virginia Attorney General.

Early life[edit]

Doc Antle was born Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle in Phoenix, Arizona in 1960, but went by Kevin Antle later in life.[4] He developed a love of animals on his parents’ cattle ranch in Southern California.[5]


Antle with a liger

Antle is the founder and director of the Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Myrtle Beach Safari, a tour that runs through the facility.[6] He is a self-described conservationist and is the executive director of a Rare Species Fund that purports to fund wildlife conservation.[2][3][7]

Antle was fined by the USDA for abandoning deer and peacocks at his zoo in Buckingham, Virginia in 1989. In total, Antle has more than 35 USDA violations for mistreating animals.[8]

In late December 2019, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Horry County Police Department raided Doc Antle's Myrtle Beach Safari. Antle told media at the time that this was for DNA testing lions for a multi-state investigation.[9]

In 2020, Antle was reported as being investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Justice for the illegal sale of big cats including tigers.[10] He was indicted in October 2020 by a grand jury in Frederick County, Virginia, after a months-long investigation by the Virginia Attorney General's Animal Law Unit. The charges included felony wildlife trafficking as well as misdemeanor animal cruelty and violations of the Endangered Species Act.[3][11][12] A trial date was set for June 2021.[13]

Film and documentaries[edit]

Antle has worked as an animal handler on films including Dr. Dolittle and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and has also provided animals for movies such as The War, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Mighty Joe Young, and The Jungle Book 2.[14] He has been involved[clarification needed] in the production of three documentaries—Nat Geo Wild's Super Cat,[15] Nature’s Jaguar: Year of the Cat,[16] and PBS’s Big Cats.[17]

In 2001, Antle was on stage with Britney Spears during her performance of "I'm a Slave 4 U" at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, which featured a caged tiger and a large albino python draped over Spears' shoulders.[14] In 2008, Suryia and Roscoe, an orangutan and an orphaned blue tick hound appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago.[18]

Antle was one of the private breeders featured in the 2020 Netflix television documentary Tiger King. In the series, Antle's facility is described as a personality cult, and former T.I.G.E.R.S. employee Barbara Fisher stated that she and Antle's other apprentices who were mostly young women felt compelled to sleep with him in order to advance in the program. According to Fisher, she was also pressured to get breast implants because the park desired "sexy" ladies to be featured. Joe Exotic accused Antle of killing tigers in gas chambers to make space for further breeding.[19] Antle criticized the accusations against him and his facility, calling Fisher's claims "ramblings" and saying she has "issues and somehow those have boiled up".[20] Antle also denied euthanizing tiger cubs, stating, "euthanizing cubs is illegal, immoral, and absolutely never happens here and never has".[21] He was disappointed with his portrayal in the series, describing it as "salacious" and regretting his involvement.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Antle's wife died nearly 20 years ago[when?] in a car accident. Antle has three children; a son named Kody (b. 1990), a daughter named Devi, and a daughter, Tawny (b. 1994). Two of his children work with him at the Myrtle Beach Safari; a third works as a dancer.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ What’s My Name?– Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle, retrieved November 24, 2021
  2. ^ a b Port, Ian S. (September 21, 2015). "The Man Who Made Animal Friends". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "'Tiger King' star Doc Antle charged with wildlife trafficking". National Geographic. October 9, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  4. ^ LeWine, Lia (April 3, 2020). "'Tiger King's Doc Antle: What Happened To The Netflix Star And Where Is He Now?". Women's Health. Hearst. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  5. ^ "TIGERS | The Institute of the Greatly Endangered and Rare Species | Animal Actors | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina". Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  6. ^ Baxter-Wright, Dusty (March 25, 2020). "Tiger King: Who are Bhagavan 'Doc'; Antle's wives and where are they now?". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  7. ^ "EXPOSED! T.I.G.E.R.S: A Tourist Attraction Exploiting Animals in the Name of Wildlife Conservation". One Green Planet. September 24, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "A 'Tiger King' is born: Netflix star Antle started at a rural Virginia yoga commune". C-Ville Weekly. March 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Montgomery, Annette (December 11, 2019). "Myrtle Beach Safari owner said 'Lions are a part of a multi-state investigation'". WPDE.
  10. ^ "'Tiger King': Report of new investigation into violations of Endangered Species Act". Fox News. April 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "'Tiger King' star 'Doc' Antle and Va. 'roadside zoo' owner indicted on wildlife trafficking charges". October 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Denise Lavoie (October 9, 2020). "Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle, who was featured on 'Tiger King', charged with animal cruelty". The Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Morales, Christina (October 9, 2020). "Doc Antle of 'Tiger King' Is Charged With Wildlife Trafficking". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Rubin, Rebecca (March 30, 2020). "'Tiger King's' Doc Antle and Britney Spears Shared Stage for 'I'm a Slave 4 U' VMAs Performance". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  15. ^ Size Doesn't Always Matter | Super Cat, retrieved May 22, 2020
  16. ^ Jaguar - Year of the Cat (Nature Documentary), retrieved May 22, 2020
  17. ^ "Big Cats | Nature | PBS". Nature. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  18. ^ "WATCH: Suryia And Roscoe, Best Friends Forever | People Magazine". Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  19. ^ "'Tiger King': PETA Lawyer Reveals What "Viewers Didn't Get to See" in Netflix Doc". The Hollywood Reporter. April 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Barbara Fisher Has Something to Say About Doc Antle's Response to 'The Tiger King' [EXCLUSIVE]". Distractify. Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "Tiger King's Lies: True Story vs. Netflix Joe Exotic Documentary". Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  22. ^ "Doc Antle slams Netflix's 'Tiger King' as a 'train wreck of entertainment'". NBC News. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  23. ^ Port, Ian S. (September 21, 2015). "The Man Who Made Animal Friends". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  24. ^ "TIGERS | The Institute of the Greatly Endangered and Rare Species | Animal Actors | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina". May 17, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  25. ^ "Sri Devi Antle - Bio & Resume". Retrieved November 23, 2021.

External links[edit]

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