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'Doc' Antle photographed with a tiger.

'Tiger King' Star 'Doc' Antle Indicted For Wildlife Crimes

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Doc_Antle.jpg
By Chris Barilla

As the web of controversy and conspiracy surrounding the viral Netflix series "Tiger King" seems to continue full steam ahead after a successful summer in the spotlight, it appears the second of the show's three main stars has been brought up on federal charges. 

After months of conspiracy surrounding costar Carole Baskin and the disappearance of her husband, as well as somewhat mounting support to free Joe 'Exotic' Maldonado-Passage from prison, it appears that Bhagavan Antle is the Virginia Attorney General's current fixture of attention.

The Charges

Giphy | NETFLIX

Antle, who owns Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina and starred alongside Maldonado-Passage and Baskin in "Tiger King" has been indicted on one felony count of wildlife trafficking, one felony count of conspiracy to wildlife traffic, and four misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to violate the Endangered Species Act and nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, per Virginia attorney general Mark R. Herring's statement.

Aside from the unique set of charges he faces, his daughters Tawny Antle and Tilakam Watterson were also named and charged in the government's indictments against him.

He Claims He Is Innocent

A tiger photographed in its habitat.
Unsplash | alise storsul

Antle released a statement, per CNN, claiming his innocence and vowing to clear his and his daughter's names.

"I have spent my entire professional life promoting the welfare and conservation of big cats and other species. I have deep regard and feelings for the animals in my care and would never hurt or abuse them in any way," he told the publication of the many efforts he claims to have taken to further the preservation of big cats, not harm them.

Clearing His Name

Giphy | Brookfield Zoo

"I look forward to being able to answer these charges and to be able to clear my good name," he went on to say.

When the news broke that Antle had been indicted on that particular set of charges, his costar and often outspoken naysayer Baskin issued a statement commending law enforcement for charging Antle. 

Besides referring to him as a bigger threat to big cats than Joe 'Exotic' ever was, she says he has perpetrated crimes against these animals for years and deserves to face repercussions for his alleged negligent actions.

Baskin's Statement

Carole Baskin photographed candidly
Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carole_Baskin_September_2019.png

"I believe that Joe Schreibvogel [a.k.a. Joe Exotic] was the largest producer of cubs for the pay-to-play industry, but I think the real kingpin behind this kind of exploitation has been Kevin Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle,” she said, per The Sun.

"[Antle is] just smarter and better funded than the dominos that have dropped already, but the authorities have finally caught up to him," she went on to explain, insinuating that there will be a big change to overall negligence in the field of big cats now that Antle has been pursued by federal law enforcement.

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