March 25, 1960
Salinas, California, United States
|Other names||Kevin Antle|
|Known for||Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness|
Bhagavan Antle (born March 25, 1960), also known as Doc Antle and Kevin Antle. Antle is an American exotic animal trainer, author and conservationist, primarily known for his work with elephants, big cats and great apes, as well as a wildlife park operator. He is the founder and director of The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.), a 50-acre (20 ha) wildlife preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is also the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, a tour that runs through the preserve, and is the executive director of a 501(c)(3) conservation organization known as the Rare Species Fund. Antle has faced criticism from animal rights activists that oppose the keeping of animals in captivity. He is a big cat and great ape conservationist.
In 2001, Antle was on stage with Britney Spears during her performance of the "I'm a Slave 4 U" single at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, which featured a caged tiger (wrangled by Antle) and a large albino python draped over Spears' shoulders. Antle has other ties to the film industry, having worked as an animal expert on films such as Dr. Dolittle and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He has appeared on late-night talk shows and also provided animals for movies including The War, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Mighty Joe Young, and The Jungle Book 2.
In 2008, Anjana the chimp was with Antle and her trainers. They were hand-raising two white tiger cubs at TIGERS, and Anjana started mimicking care. Anjana became a part of the daily interactions with the cubs. Barry Bland, a freelance photographer who shoots for the Daily Mail in London, photographed the interaction between Anjana and the cubs, and the images went viral. That same year Suryia and Roscoe, an orangutan and an orphaned blue tick hound, became the best-known animal friendship at TIGERS appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago. The “animal friendships” theme would be visited and revisited with Antle’s publication of three children’s books.
In late December 2019, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Horry County Police Department visited Doc Antle's Myrtle Beach Safari. Antle said the agencies came to collect DNA samples from three young lions that descended from Wilson's Wild Animal Park in Virginia which was closed down due to animal welfare issues.
Doc Antle founded the Rare Species Fund (RSF) as a grassroots organization that provides financial support and practical training to in-situ wildlife conservation initiatives, putting money and equipment directly into the hands of small on the ground conservation efforts such as the rebuilding of Dr. Rudi Putra's Soraya Ranger Station and Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL) Research Facility in the Leucer Ecosystem of Sumatra, Indonesia, as well as suppling the Conservation Through Public Health program in Uganda protecting some of the last mountain gorillas.
The Rare Species Fund was a partner in establishing the U.S. Postal Service’s “Save Vanishing Species” stamp in 2011. It features the face of an Amur tiger cub. Net proceeds contribute to projects administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These projects work to conserve tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles and African and Asian elephants.
The Rare Species Fund is a partner with International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF). The ICCF brings together leaders at the highest level of government, business, and the NGO community to set the conservation and environmental agenda in an effort to tailor governmental policy and shape future legislation. In 2016 RSF was recognized by ICCF in their Partner Spotlight, highlighting the work RSF is doing with Gorilla Conservation Through Public Health in Uganda to save mountain gorillas.
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