Deteriorating Condition of Tiger at Waccatee Zoo Prompts Call to Feds

Big Cat Has Lost Her Fur, Is Exhibiting Stress Behavior: PETA Says Authorities Need to Intervene

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Armed with photos and video footage showing a nearly bald tiger named Lila at Waccatee Zoological Farm, PETA has sent an urgent letter calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the roadside zoo and enforce the law that requires it to ensure that Lila receives veterinary care from a veterinarian with experience and training in her species. Video footage is available upon request.

Since the beginning of the year, visitors to Waccatee have documented that Lila’s condition has been rapidly deteriorating—she’s lost so much fur that she’s now almost completely bald. On February 9, she was scratching her irritated skin, repeatedly shaking her legs, and attempting to groom her bare skin. PETA’s wildlife veterinarian believes that the severity of her condition indicates chronic irritation from either parasites or an underlying systemic disease and that she urgently requires a full medical workup from a veterinarian with appropriate big-cat experience.

“This tiger’s health has been going downhill for weeks now,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is urging federal authorities to crack down on the apparent animal neglect occurring at the ramshackle Waccatee roadside zoo.”

PETA has also asked Horry County law-enforcement officials to conduct a welfare check on Lila and urged the USDA to investigate other apparent ongoing issues at Waccatee: Big cats, bears, and other animals have been seen pacing and baboons have been seen swaying and rolling their heads, all signs of psychological distress. Lila is confined to a cramped, dilapidated cage with little to do except pace back and forth. Other animals have been seen with severely overgrown hooves, wounds, and significant hair loss, and the facility is in general disrepair, with dirty and unsanitary conditions, insecure fencing, and other issues.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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