Six Flags Faces Scrutiny Over Illegal Animal Sales

PETA Urges Feds to Deny Park's Application for Permit to Buy, Sell, and 'Take' Endangered Animals

For Immediate Release:
December 7, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Jackson Township, N.J. – This morning, PETA submitted formal comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging the agency to deny Six Flags Great Adventure’s request for a captive-bred wildlife registration, which is issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and would allow the park to buy and sell endangered Siberian tigers, red lechwe (an imperiled African antelope species), and African elephants.

“The Endangered Species Act exists to protect endangered animals from commercial exploitation, not to facilitate it,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA is calling on the authorities to throw Six Flags’ permit request in the trash and investigate the park for its numerous illegal animal transfers.”

In the comments, PETA points out that Six Flags’ application materials revealed that the park has obtained several ESA-protected animals from shady roadside zoos over the years—and because the park didn’t have the requisite permits, the transfers were illegal. The application also reveals a high death rate of red lechwe at the park. Over the last decade, Six Flags has accumulated a total of 20 of the animals, 15 of whom have died of “trauma,” gastroenteritis, pneumonia, inflammatory bowel disease, and sepsis, among other causes.

According to Six Flags’ application, in 2012, the park purchased a tiger from Stump Hill Farm, a roadside zoo in Ohio that bred tiger cubs for use as high school football mascots until the state of Ohio seized its big cats. And in 2009, the park acquired a red lechwe from Henry Hampton, a North Carolina roadside zoo operator notorious for his lengthy record of chronic animal neglect and mistreatment.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind