Bhagavan "Doc" Antle is making sure his big cats are safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking with TMZ, the Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness star said that he is taking a number of precautions to protect the animals at his South Carolina zoo Myrtle Beach Safari, which he says is already safer than a typical zoo due to it being a more controlled and self-isolated environment.
As concerns over the coronavirus began to increase across the United States, Antle said that he put his zoo on lockdown as soon as officials released social distancing guidelines. He and his staff have been under quarantine since and there has been no visitors or physical contact with those outside of the zoo. Although the tigers and other big cats that call Myrtle Beach Safari home don't follow the guidelines to wash their paws frequently, they are being given frequent baths to ensure their health and safety. To further limit exposure, specific caretakers have been assigned to specific cats.
Despite all of the precautions, Antle also has a plan in place should one of his big cats contract the coronavirus. In that scenario, he says that the animal will be treated in much the same way that a human would, including being placed in a two-week self-isolation to prevent any other animals in his zoo from contracting the virus as well.
Antle's fellow Tiger King star Carole Baskin is also ensuring the safety of the animals at her Citrus Park, Florida sanctuary Big Cat Rescue. Baskin and her team are reportedly closely monitoring the animals at the sanctuary, with sources stating that all appear to be healthy.
Antle and Baskin's reassurances and precautionary measures come after the Wildlife Conservation Society reported Sunday that a 4-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo had tested positive for the coronavirus. In a statement, the WCS explained that the tiger, named Nadia, developed a dry cough, symptoms that are also being shown in Nadia's sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions. All are expected to recover.0comments
"We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus," the statement read. "Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers. It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries."
Meanwhile, Tiger King's main star, Joe Exotic, is currently in a prison medical center after having been placed in a coronavirus self-isolation. It is unclear if Exotic, who is serving a 22-year sentence, has contracted the virus.