Big Cats From Tri-State Zoological Park Head to New Sanctuary Home

A Lion, Tigers Rescued After PETA Wins Endangered Species Act Lawsuit Against Roadside Zoo

For Immediate Release:
February 5, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, Md.

Following PETA’s successful Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against Tri-State Zoological Park of Western Maryland, Inc. (“Tri-State”), a lion named Peka and two tigers named Cheyenne and Mowgli are now on their way to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, which is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

PETA’s lawsuit contended that Tri-State harmed and harassed two lemurs, five tigers, and two lions in violation of federal law by displaying them in decrepit enclosures without appropriate companionship, potable water, or proper enrichment, food, or shelter and by denying them adequate veterinary care. The court ruled in PETA’s favor, describing conditions for ESA-protected animals at the facility as “fetid and dystopic.”

“The evidence showed that every endangered animal at Tri-State was left to languish in squalid conditions, often seeing a veterinarian only when on the brink of death,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “These three big cats were lucky to survive, and PETA looks forward to seeing them explore their lush new sanctuary home.”

Since PETA notified Tri-State of its intent to file suit in December 2016, five of the nine animals originally at issue died, including a lemur who had torn off the tip of his penis and a tiger named India who was so ravaged by sepsis that pus-filled pockets had formed in her heart, tongue, and diaphragm. The surviving lemur was transferred to an accredited zoo, and on December 26, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in PETA’s favor on all claims presented at trial; ordered that Peka, Cheyenne, and Mowgli be moved to an accredited sanctuary; and prohibited Tri-State from owning or possessing endangered or threatened species in the future. Tri-State has appealed, and that appeal remains pending.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.

Photos of the big cats’ arrival at The Wild Animal Sanctuary will be available soon. For more information, please visit

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