Local Roadside Zoo Operating Illegally; PETA Pushes Feds to Act

For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Temecula, Calif.

Today, PETA sent a formal request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging it to take immediate enforcement action against the Wyld Jungle, an illegal roadside zoo run by Michael Holston—a social media influencer with a history of violating state wildlife laws and ties to notorious Tiger King villain Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who was recently convicted of wildlife trafficking. PETA points out that Holston is exhibiting exotic animals without a federal license and operating in violation of zoning laws in Riverside County, where officials have ordered the facility to close.

This is a screen capture from a recent Instagram video posted by Holston, which appears to show him wrestling a camel at the Wyld Jungle.

Holston, who goes by the name “The Real Tarzann,” has been charged with nearly a dozen violations of Florida’s fish and wildlife laws after capturing wild iguanas and illegally selling them and other reptiles—making him ineligible to hold a federal Animal Welfare Act exhibitor’s license. He has also been arrested and charged with assaulting two people while living at a compound owned by Antle. He frequently posts videos provoking or harassing animals and admits that he has no meaningful wildlife experience—sometimes even asking his followers how he should handle situations.

“This wannabe social media influencer’s disregard for the law is equal only to his disregard for the suffering of the animals he treats as props,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “PETA is urging authorities to throw the book at this reckless and illegal outfit and get these animals to reputable facilities where they would get the care they need and be treated with respect.”

Holston admits on his own video blog that several employees at the Wyld Jungle have been bitten by an alpaca and that at least four other staffers have been injured by ostriches, including the facility’s security guard, who nearly had to be hospitalized after a bird kicked him while cornered in an enclosure.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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