Take Action Tuesday: New children’s book exploits Anjana and tiger cubs

October 8th, 2013 by Debbie

EOA take action tuesday

Exploitation comes in many forms, and, unfortunately, it isn’t always obvious at first glance. Many of you have seen the “cute” pictures of a baby chimpanzee holding white tiger cubs or the photos and videos of an orangutan with a hound dog. These images and stories have been circulating and re-released in many forms over the last six years. All of these animals reside at a facility called The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.).

Although T.I.G.E.R.S preaches about species conservation and they claim to contribute toward helping endangered species, the source of their money-making is nowhere near ethical. The premise of their facility revolves around photo ops and up-close and hands-on interaction with these animals, using them in traveling shows, and leasing them out for a variety of media productions. Displaying wild animals in this way involves numerous animal welfare concerns and poses serious public safety risks.

Suryia, the same orangutan who is seen with the hound dog, appeared in a Robitussin ad in 2010. You may remember that this ad was altered as a result of our advocacy efforts and other public pressure – Suryia was replaced by a CGI chimpanzee in the ad.

T.I.G.E.R.S. director Bhagavan “Doc” Antle continues to use the “unlikely animal friendships” angle to exploit endangered species and give the wrong impression of the proper care of these animals. He has published children’s books about Suryia and the hound dog, and now has a new book about Anjana the chimpanzee and the tiger cubs. It is scheduled to release in November, just in time for the holidays.

The books present children with the misleading notion that T.I.G.E.R.S. is a sanctuary preserve, when in truth it is a glorified roadside zoo with a history of violations for improper housing and care for the animals. Antle is also famous for showcasing ligers (a lion-tiger cross) who notoriously have genetic abnormalities, neurological disorders, and short life expectancies due to their unnatural breeding.

Doc Antle's children's books

Don’t support this exploitation. When you receive an email or see images of baby apes with other animals on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, take the opportunity to investigate where the animals are living, and politely educate people on the true circumstances behind the photos. If the image is an orangutan with a dog or a chimpanzee with tiger cubs, now you know the real story.

Encourage your friends and family to avoid purchasing Antle’s children’s books. As an alternative, we suggest purchasing an educational children’s book about chimpanzee behavior like “A Chimpanzee Tale.” You can also give the books negative ratings on Amazon, which may deter others from purchasing them.

Sample response to emails and Facebook posts with “cute” pictures of baby apes:

Sadly, this picture is not cute and cuddly as it may appear. Portraying these exotic animals as cute and cuddly attractions seriously misinforms people about the true nature of these beings and perpetuates the pet and entertainment industries. Infant apes should be with their mothers — not tiger cubs, dogs, or humans. Unfortunately, the facilities where these pictures originate are breeding exotic animals, which leads to a lifetime of unwarranted imprisonment for those animals. No respectable sanctuary would intentionally breed, nor would they put their animals on display or exploit them for entertainment purposes.

Sample negative feedback for Amazon’s listing of Anjana and Suryia’s books:

This book paints a false picture of a hopeful, loving environment for Anjana and the other exotic animals at T.I.G.E.R.S. Unfortunately, the facility regularly exploits these animals for entertainment purposes, endangers the public by offering “hands-on” experiences, and breeds exotic animals, leading to a lifetime of unwarranted imprisonment. No reputable sanctuary would intentionally breed, nor would they put their animals on display or exploit them for entertainment purposes. Please do not buy this book for your children. It is highly misleading and purchasing it will only contribute to the continued exploitation of these highly intelligent beings.

10 Responses to “Take Action Tuesday: New children’s book exploits Anjana and tiger cubs”

  1. Larissa says:

    The T.I.G.E.R.S website makes “doc” sound like he walks on water until I read the breakdown of his abusive greedfest from your links. It’s hard to know who to trust, please tell me the Orangutan Island lady is ok, even though it’s a television show.

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Larissa! It is hard to know sometimes. I don’t know a whole lot about Orangutan Island and Lone Drosher Nielsen, but really admire the work that she’s doing to help care for orangutans in their natural habitat and rehabilitate them. While she is working directly with apes in desperate need, Doc Antle is breeding them in captivity and putting them on display for “hands-on” photo-ops which is very different.

  2. Thank you for sharing this information. I have been trying to educate people about Doc and T.I.G.E.R.S as well. When I come across their photos on Facebook, I post my blog underneath as a comment. It’s important to encourage people to slow down and think before passing around misinformation and inadvertently supporting such abuse. Thank you for all that you do to rescue and care for primates!
    http://22topics.22reasons.org/2012/03/07/precious-or-not/

    • Petra says:

      I do the same for a couple of years & couldn’t agree with you more, Gigi!
      My wish is that the place gets exposed on tv & in newspapers in the USA.

      • Larissa says:

        Somebody is starting in on their defense on the one book reviewable on Amazon right now. Wonder who that could be?

        • Debbie says:

          Hopefully, with all the links to this blog post they have been spreading, people will read what we have shared and learn the truth! My advice would be to not engage in a comment war with them, but just be confident that if folks do the research they will learn the truth and understand the difference between a reputable sanctuary and a pseudo-sanctuary like TIGERS.

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks Gigi! That is a great blog. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kerri says:

    Thank u for sharing, I’ve been deceived myself and feel horrible for ever showing support to them

  4. Petra says:

    I managed to be member for 2 days of the so called public group of T.I.G.E.R.S. (for which you need to request to be added first), untill I posted this link to your article on there just now + under each picture of visitors cuddling wild animals I pasted: “Sadly, this picture is not cute and cuddly as it may appear. Portraying these exotic animals as cute and cuddly attractions seriously misinforms people about the true nature of these beings and perpetuates the pet and entertainment industries. Infant apes should be with their mothers — not tiger cubs, dogs, or humans. Unfortunately, the facilities where these pictures originate are breeding exotic animals, which leads to a lifetime of unwarranted imprisonment for those animals. No respectable sanctuary would intentionally breed, nor would they put their animals on display or exploit them for entertainment purposes.”
    It took the admin of T.I.G.E.R.S. 1 minute to not only delete my posts but to also block me.
    So much for willingness to even listen….
    A friend of mine went undercover at T.I.G.E.R.S. a few years ago & saw plain animal abuse. When she was discovered by Security men, the Doc Himself came to her, warned & threatened her.
    It would make my day, no: my year! if this disgusting place + ditto millionaire would be exposed. So many people are still ignorant and need to get informed.
    I’m just one person in Holland… Could you please try to get the real stories behind T.I.G.E.R.S. in big newspapers & possibly on tv in the USA as well??
    Thank you very much for everything you do for wildlife xxx

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