For Immediate Release:
August 24, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Miami – After PETA alerted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Instagram posts depicting dangerous public encounters with lion cubs at Mario Tabraue’s Zoological Wildlife Foundation (ZWF) of Tiger King infamy, the agency slapped the facility with numerous citations for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act. According to the just-released report, a lion cub bit a customer and ZWF allowed public contact with a juvenile lion, which, the report notes, would “pose a risk of injury to the public.”
“Tearing lion cubs away from their mothers and putting the stressed-out animals in the laps of strangers is a recipe for disaster,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA urges kind people to avoid any business that uses animal babies as props.”
PETA notes that this is not the first time that a ZWF visitor has been bitten by an animal. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) also issued the roadside zoo a written warning, on November 2, 2020, after a child was bitten by a juvenile chimpanzee named Limbani. The FWC advised ZWF to stop allowing public contact with the 40 plus–pound chimpanzee immediately, but evidence from social media indicates that the facility allowed the public to have full contact with him since then, even as he grew larger and more dangerous.
The newly released report also cites ZWF for not having an enrichment program for primates. The USDA previously cited the roadside zoo in relation to its primate housing: It confined two incompatible primates together, and one macaque chased and bit another, leaving her with bleeding wounds.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.