Missouri rescue group hopes Tiger King raid raises awareness


STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. – The recent raid of Tiger King Park in Oklahoma involved the help of a local tiger sanctuary in Ste. Genevieve. Dozens of big cats were seized from a park that gained national attention following the popularity of a Netflix docuseries. Investigators said the animals were not being properly cared for.

Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary touts itself as the only Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) verified big cat sanctuary in Missouri. The facility provides permanent, lifelong care for abused, neglected, or unwanted big cats.

One of the rescued male tigers from Oklahoma is now housed and under the care of the sanctuary while the US Department of Justice seeks forfeiture of the animals.   

The Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary team transported the tiger from the Oklahoma facility to Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, where the animal is currently under quarantine and being monitored and treated by the staff and veterinary team.    

“We were honored to assist with this important animal rescue operation,” said John Madigan, operations manager at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary.  

Madigan hopes the popularity of the “Tiger King” series will lead to more interest in learning the facts about the fate of big cats after attempts to domesticate them are done. 

“It’s estimated that there’s anywhere from about 5,000 to 10,000 big cats in the US,” he said. “There’s way more in the US than there are in the wild, so it is a big problem.” 

Two of the tigers the sanctuary is currently caring for were part of a roadside zoo that shut down. A third tiger was part of cub petting operation near Chicago that lost interest in the cub once it became an adult.

“We rescue cats that are being abused neglected unwanted,” Madigan said. 

He hopes legislation aimed at eliminating cub petting operations will soon become law.  

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