A Virginia court successfully convicted “Tiger King” star Bhagavan Antle, also known as “Doc” Antle, last Friday on four felonies connected to illegal wildlife trafficking.
Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office said in a press release that Antle, who was accused of illegally purchasing endangered lion cubs in Frederick County, Virginia, was convicted by a jury of two counts of wildlife trafficking and two counts of conspiring to traffic wildlife.
Antle planned to display the lion cubs at his zoo in South Carolina.
This image provided by the Horry County Sheriffs Office in Conway, S.C., shows Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who was arrested by the FBI, Friday, June 3, 2022, on federal money laundering charges. (Horry County Sheriffs Office)
The investigation into Antle began in 2019 and led to a week-long trial resulting in his conviction.
Dr. Bhagavan Antle poses with Hercules the Liger. Hercules is 900 pounds and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as world’s largest cat. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs)
Antle is featured prominently in “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a 2020 Netflix documentary miniseries that focused on tiger breeders and private zoo operators in the U.S. The series focuses heavily on Oklahoma zoo operator Joe Exotic, who was also targeted for animal mistreatment and was convicted in a plot to kill a rival, Carole Baskin.
Animal rights advocates have accused Antle of mistreating lions and other wildlife. In 2020, he was indicted in Virginia on animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking charges.
He faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted of the money laundering charges.