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Reckless Tiger Cub Petting Zoo

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Reckless Tiger Cub Petting Zoo:
Undercover Investigation at GW Exotic Animal Park

From Opposing Views
May 2012

For approximately 4 months in the summer and fall of 2011, a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) investigator worked as an animal caretaker at GW Exotic Animal Park (“GW”) in Wynnewood, Okla. where hundreds of animals – most of them dangerous exotics such as tigers, lions, bears, chimpanzees and other primates – are caged in barren conditions, bred to provide infant animals for public photo shoots and “play time” sessions and often cared for by workers who have little-to-no experience handling large carnivores or primates.

The HSUS investigation of GW revealed a commercial operation—that often seeks
donations for “rescued” animals—that endangers both animals and the public
along with possibly violating federal and state laws and regulations:

GW is currently under investigation by the USDA for the deaths of 23 tiger cubs during a 13-month span in 2009-10. GW’s owner claimed that the cubs died from “bad formula” but the FDA found no problem with the formula.

In 2006 GW was fined $25,000 by USDA for failing to provide adequate veterinary care, failing to protect the public during animal handling and failure to provide an adequate number of trained staff.

As a result of its investigation, HSUS has filed complaints with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for investigation into potential violations of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, and Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act; with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act; and with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for violations of GW’s state commercial wildlife license.