‘Tiger King’’s Doc Antle arrested by the FBI

The zoo owner and animal trainer was arrested in South Carolina on Friday (June 3)

Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, a zoo owner who appeared on the Netflix docuseries Tiger King, has been arrested by the FBI.

The zoo operator and animal trainer was the subject of the documentary Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story, which was released last year.

Sherriff records show Antle was arrested by FBI agents in Horry County, South Carolina around 5:40pm yesterday (June 3). No charges were listed on the records.


NME has contacted Myrtle Beach Safari, which is owned by Antle, for comment on Antle’s arrest but did not receive a response.

The zoo owner was previously indicted for wildlife trafficking, animal cruelty and other charges in 2020. He denied the charges at the time, saying: “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.” A trial relating to the charges is set for July 2022.

Bhagavan ‘Doc’ Antle. Credit: Storms Media Group/Alamy Live News

In 2020, following the animal trainer’s indictment, PETA called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate him due to events that occurred during a visit to his zoo from Lil Pump. Antle had posted a video of an elephant named Bubbles lifting the rapper up by its trunk. Another video saw Pump in a pool next to a tiger.

In a statement, PETA’s associate director of captive animal law enforcement Debbie Metzler called Pump’s visit “exceptionally dangerous”. “Not only is coming into direct physical contact with an elephant’s powerful trunk extremely risky, but [he] could have spooked Bubbles and led to her stepping on Lil Pump as he landed,” she said.