There has never been a greater need than now for cooperation between zoos around the world. Not only with conservation breeding programmes and exchange of information and knowledge but in weeding out those who are working on the principles of 'ignorance is bliss' and 'let me see how much I can get away with'. Not only are animals suffering but the wrong educational messages are being promoted. The biggest problem here is that the press so often fail to check their facts and ordinary lies become compound lies.
It is not just in Asia with places like Phuket Zoo and the Million Years Stone Park but in the West as well. It is almost beyond belief that Myrtle Beach Safari Park should or could have contributed anything at all towards conservation legislation. Whether it was good, bad or indifferent is neither here nor there because there is ample proof that this should never have happened.
I have questions for Mr Kevin Antle
Your 'Rare Species Fund' website states:
"T.I.G.E.R.S. donated and personally transported seven Tigers from our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Preserve to the Samutprakarn Wildlife Preserve, south of Bangkok. This unique group contained the four remaining color variations of the tiger making it the first of its kind in Asia. These magnificent animal ambassadors are working to create public awareness of the plight of the several thousand remaining tigers in South East Asia. A healthy and thriving litter of cubs just heralded the first success of this groundbreaking programme."
'Personal transportation' indicates that you must have visited this place. This being the case you will be aware that only you are calling it a 'Preserve'. Nobody else is. The 'Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo' (read my report) is just that. It is probably the worlds biggest crocodile farm, with a zoo attached and not an especially good one. You cannot have missed the 40 or so displays housing freak crocodiles, of the pigs, dogs and tigers mixed together.
What was the point in donating 'color variations' of tigers? How does that help conservation? What subspecies of tigers were they? How many close family pairings took place to achieve the 'color variations'? How are these animals going to contribute to any conservation breeding project? They aren't and you know it...or you should know it.
It is not as if Thailand has a lack of tigers. They are all over the place. Places like the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo probably breed more tigers than any collection outside of China. No recent indication as to where the young are going. The Tiger Temple is another place...and there are others. Your 'donation' of Tigers has contributed to a problem, especially as they have bred, and not reduced it.
As to "several thousand remaining tigers in South East Asia" this is truly reassuring news of which I hope you will be informing the relevant scientic bodies.
I can truly see a role for 'Animal Ambassadors' but these are not.
They Are Not Meant To Look Like This
I would dearly like to know how 'Snow Tigers', Ligers, White Tigers, White Lions, hand rearing of Orangutans and Chimpanzees has anything to do with conservation? I would like to know what contribution swimming with or bubble bathing Orangutans does? Just what is the point of the Worlds Biggest Cat? Taking Orangutans underwater with baby Tapirs is for what? For why?
I donate money to wildlife charities and other good causes. Not as often as I would like and when I do, I do it anonymously. I only mention this here because I too could very easily claim that I too was supporting Cheetah Conservation, Protection of Orangutan and Tiger Habitat and more. Your 'Rare Species Fund' claims to be supporting projects here there and everywhere. To be frank your claim that you "actively supports the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZAB) in it's efforts to improve African zoo collection management, captive animal husbandry, and public educational messages." I find this quite worrying especially as you are giving out the wrong messages.
I have long been impressed with your publicity machine and would dearly like to see you and your outfit change, to ditch the circus show and start to make a genuine contribution to conservation. Presently you are causing harm.
Colour As Nature Intended
Judi Burton from Myrtle Beach on July 06, 2011:
Thank you Peter I certainly will check it out. I looked at several of the home videos from that Bangkok place and was not in love with how they treated the crocodiles. Not that i'm a huge fan of crocs, but they have animal rights, no matter how scary they are. I will make sure to ask Doc about that on my next correspondence with him. Maybe he can clarify his reasoning and give us a bit more enlightenment on the surroundings the tigers are living in. I do know that other doctors and zoos are not in love love with his tactics but he also has a wide array of reputable backers on his side. It is sometimes hard to tell who is right. At the end of the day, I think he does more good than harm. But that politics isn't it? Here is a link to his rare species fund. Thank you Peter I certainly will check it out. I looked at several of the home videos from that Bangkok place and was not in love with how they treated the crocodiles. Not that i'm a huge fan of crocs, but they have animal rights, no matter how scary they are. I will make sure to ask Doc about that on my next correspondence with him. Maybe he can clarify his reasoning and give us a bit more enlightenment on the surroundings the tigers are living in. I do know that other doctors and zoos are not in love love with his tactics but he also has a wide array of reputable backers on his side. It is sometimes hard to tell who is right. At the end of the day, I think he does more good than harm. But that politics isn't it? Here is a link to his rare species fund.
Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on July 06, 2011:
Thanks Judi, both for your comment and the link to your hub which I both enjoyed and found of interest. I think perhaps you would have to read a lot more of my zoo related hubs before you would fully understand where I am coming from. I don't dispute that Mr Antle is a master at all he does but the problem is that it all wrong. Token gestures whether financial or otherwise are nothing more than bribes when the wrong message is being given out. What he is doing is wrong, not just in my eyes but from the point of all reputable zoos the world over.
I made comment on the latest Antle misrepresention of the truth in the latest Zoo News Digest Blog
Zoo News Digest 1st - 5th July 2011 (Zoo News 766)
and in several other issues as well.
As to the vegetarian issue....I am a carnivore through and through and never found it had any effect on the way I feel about animals.
Breeding freaks, taking animals from the natural mothers, NOT being members of official genuine breeding programmes. It is easy to mix apes with dogs, and tigers with whatever. It is easy to play with tigers and more. The trouble is...it is all wrong.
Take care. Carry on hubbing.
Judi Burton from Myrtle Beach on July 05, 2011:
Peter it is interesting that you have this opinion. I have heard other people before who are mad about Doc, and I was a little leery too until I went there. Yes, it's a bit touristy but the animals were truly happy. I did not know the Thailand Samutprakarn Wildlife Preserve was as bad as you say it is. I saw a few of his documents on his rare species fund and it looked to me as if he had given a few 100k to several critical places around the world including the Samutprakarn Wildlife Preserve every year. Maybe he brought the tigers and money too to help make the place more live-able for the animals? I do not have the correct info to say for sure but I can guess. While I was there i was peppered with facts on all of the animals and ways to save them, from buying wood in the US to not eating cookies with palm oil. I asked him later about his purpose and what he was trying to achieve. He said he was trying to reach the 99% of people who do not watch Animal Planet or National Geographic. The ones who have no real reason to care because they had never been exposed to these amazing creatures. He wanted to give these people a lifelong experience that will hopefully make them sit up and take notice that we are losing ground by the minute. He wants to target the soccer moms, who will teach their kids to care. Guess what, I think he is doing what he says he is trying to do. Is it perfectly ethical all of the time 100%? probably not. But I saw his facility and it is a beautiful paradise. No expense was spared for these animals. They truly get the royal treatment. Are they passed around and hugged by lots of people? Yes! To Doc, that is what their job is. To be ambassadors for the rest of their population. I guess at the end of the day you have to look at the end result. Is he reaching people who would have never been reached before? Yes. Is he contributing to a larger population of endangered species? Yes. Is he donating 100ks every year to lesser preserves? yes. Are his intentions always 100% perfect? Who knows. Does he make it mandatory that every person who works there has to be a vegetarian? Yes. You can read my hub Tigers in our Midst to see what happened on my tour. Thank you for your conscious effort to help the animals.
Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on July 02, 2011:
Melissa A Smith from New York on July 01, 2011:
I did catch Doc's son on facebook claiming that all the animals live out their lives in their facilities. I'm also interested in what happens to the primates at T.I.G.E.R.S. If anything, it's just the sheer amount of disingenuous statements being made that are refuted by basic logic that I find concerning even if I'm clueless about what's going on. Doc has told me "U have not seen u have no knowledge but you know because PD tells u so" a few months ago. I wish there were more resources on this white tiger business but one thing is that he provided me links that were all affiliated with his facility that glorify white tiger breeding.
Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on May 16, 2011:
You are right Melissa. Big, flash and lots of money does not mean that they understand what it is all about. Sadly many do not.
Melissa A Smith from New York on May 16, 2011:
It's depressing how dishonest so many animal facilities are, masquarading this 'conservation' ploy.
Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on December 21, 2010:
Hello, hello, - You are so right. They are doing tremendous harm.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 21, 2010:
This is a great eye opener and high time that these glory boys cut down.
Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on December 20, 2010:
CatLadyMeredith - Thanks for your comments. It is only in recent years that I realised how easily people are brainwashed by the likes of Mr. Antle, Craig Busch and others. Re-education is a pressing problem. People really do need to think for themselves.
CatLadyMeredith on December 20, 2010:
Thank you for this informative article.
It really is a shame what Mr. Antle is doing to his animals, and to the public. He leaches funds from people, and he pulls the wool over their eyes making them think they're "contributing to conservation."
The time to end the abuse is Now.
Urge others to NOT support 'T.I.G.E.R.S.'!!!
Peter Dickinson (author) from South East Asia on December 19, 2010:
Simple Simon - Thank you. The press are a lot to blame in this. They are more concerned about selling papers than telling the truth.
Simple Simon on December 19, 2010:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally getting the truth out about the reality behind these photos. I keep getting these photos in emails from friends saying, "isn't this adorable?" Seems the mom has always "rejected" the cubs and that's why they're sticking in an orangutan or chimp - but, in reality, it's all a marketing/publicity gimmick.
T.I.G.E.R.S. is a wild animal factory. It's time for people to open their eyes & use their brains. Where do they think all these cubs end up when they're too big to handle, too expensive to feed? Well, here you have it, they're shipped overseas to get rid of them. Next time you get one of these emails, send this article back to your friends and educate them, for a change. It's the only way to stop this abuse once and for all!