Tony, a Bengal-Siberian tiger, is kept on the premises at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, La. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, and public officials have been lobbied. More Photos »
Published: March 27, 2013
The truck stop here just west of Baton Rouge offers all those things, but as most southern Louisianians know, it has another less standard feature: a 550-pound Bengal-Siberian tiger.
Tony is only the latest in a line of tigers to live here. Thirteen cubs were born at the truck stop, and several adult tigers brought in, including a white tiger named Salena who died of pancreatic cancer in the early 2000s and is now stuffed and sitting in the Tiger Cafe atop the salad bar.
Tony, who is 12 years old, spends his days draped languidly on top of his cinder-block den or pacing around the grass in his 40-foot-by-80-foot caged enclosure on one side of the parking lot, seemingly as unriveted by the truckers as they are by him.
He also appears unmoved by his role at the center of a costly and complicated legal dispute, pitting claims of property rights against animal rights and prompting regular news reports about his impending removal. The legal fight has gone on for years. Tony remains.
“It’s become more of a liability than an asset,” said Michael Sandlin, 50, who has run the truck stop for the past 25 years. “But it’s not the money. It’s the principle.”
The Tiger Truck Stop has long been a thorn in the paw of animal rights organizations and many animal lovers generally. Web sites have been created urging Tony’s removal, letters have been written, public officials lobbied. Robert Barham, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, described “cases of mail from every state and a host of foreign countries.” Still, he said, state veterinarians sent to inspect Tony invariably returned with reports of good health.
Matthew Liebman, a lawyer for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, based in California, acknowledged that Tony’s situation was not the worst he had ever seen, though he and others worry about the tiger’s constant exposure to exhaust and diesel fumes.
“The bottom line for us is that tigers don’t belong in truck stops,” Mr. Liebman said. “I think it reflects a pretty commodified, objectifying view of animals that we don’t support — that they are objects of entertainment, that they are gimmicks to sell gasoline.”
In 2006, the state passed a law that put limits on “big exotic cat” possession, but allowed anyone who owned such a cat at the time to be grandfathered in. Mr. Sandlin, who had kept tigers here for nearly two decades, was granted a permit for Tony. But in a 2011 trial, lawyers for the animal defense fund showed that a parish law that was on the books in 2006 prohibited keeping exotic animals and argued that he should not have been exempted from the new law. The judge agreed and ordered Mr. Sandlin’s state permit revoked.
Mr. Sandlin, who still has a federal permit, has appealed the decision, and has also filed a separate lawsuit arguing that the state law itself is unconstitutional because it is applied unevenly and leaves too much discretion to enforcement officials.
Still, he has been looking for a retirement home for Tony. This search generated its own outcry when he said he was leaning toward a wildlife park in Oklahoma owned by a man who calls himself Joe Exotic, but whose real name is Joe Schreibvogel.
Mr. Schreibvogel’s park has attracted a good deal of controversy itself and is being investigated by federal officials for 23 tiger cub deaths. But Mr. Sandlin said he believed that it provided good care, and did not trust others to know what was good for Tony.
“He’s used to the noise from the Interstate and the trucks,” Mr. Sandlin said. “He’s used to people coming up here and looking at him.”
“To tear him away from this,” he said, breaking off, then added, “I think it would be very cruel because that’s what he’s used to.”
Mr. Sandlin and his opponents see the world rather differently. The phrase “animal rights activist,” particularly if it means someone who would ban the private ownership of exotic animals, is to Mr. Sandlin a disparagement on its face. (A T-shirt for sale in the truck stop store reads “Animal Rights Activists Taste Like Chicken.”)
But he takes no offense when critics deride him as a purveyor of roadside entertainment. He considers himself an ally of the traveling circuses that occasionally stop here, and he allows the elephants to graze out back.
The idea of a tiger truck stop had been his father’s, but opening one here seemed particularly apt given that the mascot of nearby Louisiana State University is a tiger. (The university keeps its own tiger, Mike VI, in an enclosure next to the football stadium.)
So in 1988, Mr. Sandlin arrived from Houston with Toby and Rainbow, he a mostly Bengal mix, she a purebred Siberian. In 2000, after the sale of a tiger truck stop owned by Mr. Sandlin’s father in West Texas, Toby and Rainbow were joined by Tony and Salena.
In the ensuing years, the United States Department of Agriculture issued several citations to the truck stop, among other things for allowing cubs to run loose around the office. Mr. Sandlin paid a fine and sold all the tigers but Tony.
About 35 people work at the truck stop, including a sister of Michael Sandlin’s; a brother-in-law; a niece; a nephew; Mr. Sandlin’s mother, Virginia, who handles billing; and his domestic partner of 26 years, Scott Holbrook, who is the vice president of the truck stop as well as the video poker manager.
There is also a middle-aged man named Ray Jackson, who buses tables at the restaurant and who will sing on command. Seeing him outside the Tiger Cafe, Mr. Sandlin said the word and Mr. Jackson stopped immediately and sang “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.”
“People get a kick out of that,” Mr. Sandlin said.
For now, there is the wait for a ruling. An immediate change is unlikely even then, but as a breed, the tiger truck stop’s days may be numbered.
“There are certainly some substandard roadside zoos,” Mr. Liebman said. “But this is the only truck stop tiger I know of.”
Florida panthers once prowled and flourished in America’s southeastern woodlands and swamps, but today fewer than 160 of these majestic cats remain in a tiny remnant of their historic range. And that habitat is shrinking every day – gobbled up by subdivisions and commercial development.
We’re in a race against time. As panther habitat becomes more and more fragmented, it will be increasingly difficult for these creatures to stay out of harm’s way.
(Go to FB Page to View this Extraordinary Video)
join my page Bhavik Thaker Photography for more .
feel free to share ….hope u like it..! for any kind of info please message or mail @ email@example.com.
She told Rex Features: “This is the first heavy snow Daseep has seen and keepers thought she would stay cosy in her heated den, but she couldn’t wait to explore.
“Keepers built her a snowman which she demolished in minutes then spent yesterday afternoon throwing snowballs which she absolutely loved catching with her paws.”
- Helpless lions take cover as group – including children – hurl snow at them
- Attack ‘launched by young man who laughed as he pelted animals‘
- Other animals at the zoo in Hangzhou, eastern China, were also targeted
By Sam Adams
PUBLISHED: 16:18 GMT, 10 January 2013 | UPDATED: 17:18 GMT, 10 January 2013
Throwing snowballs at lions does not sound the safest – or kindest – way to enjoy yourself.
But when the animals are contained in a zoo enclosure and you are firing down on them from behind a safety barrier – it is a little easier to be brave.
The attack was reportedly launched by one young man, who began to take aim at the big cats with a barrage of snow and ice.
The attack clearly frightened the helpless animals, with the lioness swiftly taking cover under a wooden plank.
The male line used a tree trunk as cover, with both eyes fixed on the visitors, as the missiles rained into the enclosure, ChinaSmack.com reports.
The man apparently laughed as he hurled the snow, with a group of other visitors, including a number of children, also starting to take aim at the lions.
Glare: The two lions look furious as they continued to be targeted (left) while the lion later took a direct hit to his head (right)
One of them used large chunks of snow and threw them down with all of his strength, according to the website.
The frightened lions took shelter together in the corner of their pen as they tried to escape the new onslaught. The male lion roared in anger at his tormentors as they began to stroll away.
Sadly the lions were not the only animals to be pelted with snow, with some of the crowd also pelting the zoo’s alpacas, monkeys, a giraffe, a tiger and other creatures.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2260253/Getting-roar-deal-Angry-lions-sitting-ducks-pelted-snowballs-laughing-crowd-Chinese-zoo.html#ixzz2Hij61XGR
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
PUBLISHED: 21:31 GMT, 4 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:56 GMT, 5 January 2013
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Any actress can tell you how difficult it is to dazzle every day as the star of the show.
Apparently it’s not that different for a lioness. So when yet another convoy of tourists raced to take their places in the dusty auditorium of the Tanzanian plain, this particular starlet simply turned her back on the cameras.
And there she stayed, despite pleading calls from the tour guides, until most of them got tired of waiting and drove off.
Scroll down for video
The safari stand-off happened in the Ngorongoro Crater, formed when an ancient volcano exploded and created a vast, flat-bottomed cauldron which would become a haven for wildlife.
This picture was taken by tourist Martin Henfield, from Ramsbottom, Lancashire.
He said: ‘The safari guides are all in radio contact and no sooner had we arrived than more than 20 vehicles came along and formed a crescent around the lioness.
‘She just turned her back and stayed like that.’
VIDEO Another lion pack attack and kill a buffalo at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Watch the full, 11-minute video here
By Leon Watson
PUBLISHED: 10:12 GMT, 31 December 2012 | UPDATED: 18:49 GMT, 31 December 2012
This leopard shows that he’s got fangnam style by flashing his teeth while dancing to attract a mate.
The leopard looks like he’s doing the moves from popular music video Gangnam Style, by standing on his back legs and dancing.
The leopard tries to impress his mate who is rolling around in the long grass.
The incredible pictures were taken by photographer Mohammed Alnaser, 34, in the Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sands, South Africa.
He said: ‘Our ranger was informed about those mating leopards while we were taking photos of a pride of lions nearby so we rushed into the scene but it seemed that they were having a rest by the time we arrived, so it took us around another 30 minutes before they started mating again.
‘The male is quite young and ‘inexperienced’ as the ranger is quite familiar with both the male and female and we were told that he wasn’t doing it right as he kept on jumping around being very careful with the female’s reaction.
‘It was the first time in my life to see mating leopard and it was very intense and interesting as we spent time watching them as they mated around five or seven times in our presence.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255190/Fangnam-style-Leopard-tries-impress-mate-bizarre-ritual-looks-just-look-Psy-doing-gangnam.html#ixzz2GkcyJ4mS
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
A Big Sky Brewing Co. employee posted a photo of herself on the company’s Facebook page posing with a large mountain lion she harvested. / Courtesy photo
View the controversial photo and comments on Big Sky Brewing Co.’s facebook page at: http://on.fb.me/UUy3FP
HELENA – A photo posted on Missoula-based Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Facebook page has ignited a hot debate over hunting ethics and triggered somewhat of an online culture clash.
The photo features a female Big Sky employee posing with a large mountain lion she recently tagged during hunting season.
The photo, posted on Dec. 15, was shared 85 times by Facebook users and had 389 “likes” as of late Thursday afternoon.
But not everyone who saw the photo “liked” it very much. Of the more than 250 comments on the photo, many expressed dismay at the popular craft brewery’s decision to post the hunting photo on its Facebook page.
Big Sky co-founder and president Neal Leathers said he and the brewery staff were caught off guard by the strong reaction to the photo.
“You never know when something is going to get a whole bunch of attention for whatever reason,” Leathers said Thursday.
Facebook user Britt Murphy wrote: “What a sad end to such a noble creatures (sic) life, made even more pathetic w/an empty show of celebration & Total lack of respect for the Spirit of such a Magical King of beasts.”
Other commenters, offended by the photo, called for a boycott of Big Sky beer.
“New boycott for me…this photo is gross,” wrote Facebook user Laurienne Riley.
“I looked up all of their products online and will delightedly boycott each one,” Facebook user Amy Arkebauer Cesar wrote.
Other were impressed with the trophy cat.
James Kothrade wrote: “WOW that’s one big damn cat. Nice job on the catch.”
“I love it. Thanks for the great pic,” wrote Facebook user Linzy Cotham. “I am a houndsman and know the work that is involved. It takes a lot of hard work to get something like that. Its not golf or tennis but some of us love it.”
Still others used the post as an opportunity to debate the merits and evils of hunting big predators such as mountain lions.
- Grumpy mum wasn’t best pleased when the lion tried to try to tame her cubs – and pounced straight at the enormous beast
- Ranger Jacques Matthysen captured the comic moment on camera, as he patrolled the South African plains
By James Black
PUBLISHED: 00:49 GMT, 27 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:45 GMT, 27 November 2012
This is the hilarious moment an angry lioness launched herself at a huge lion – but ended up sitting on his head.
This grumpy mum wasn’t best pleased when the lion tried to try to tame her cubs – and pounced straight at the enormous beast.
But she obviously misjudged her distance – as she ended up sitting on top of the lion’s mane like a hat – before falling to the ground below.
Wildlife park ranger Jacques Matthysen captured the comic moment on camera, as he patrolled the South African plains.
Jacques said: ‘We had gone out to try and photograph some lions, and were met by a very playful pride of seven Lions.
‘The four year old male Lion was playing with three young cubs – or rather, they were tormenting him, since all he wanted to do was have a rest.
‘The older male and a female were walking 20 metres from us, rubbing their heads every couple of seconds showing affection.
‘While watching them the other female appeared from the thicket. As soon as the 4 year old male saw the female, which is the mother of the cubs he was knocking over every now and again, he jumped up and jogged towards her.
‘It looked like she was just waiting for the right moment. She stood still until the last second.
‘As he was half a meter away, she pounced on him. She did loose her grip though and quickly fell to the other side of him.
‘With the female at his paws on the ground he just glanced down, as though to say: ‘Was that it?’.
‘He just kept on walking past her and us sitting in the Cruiser, and lay down to rest close to a thicket behind us.
‘The cubs quickly saw the opportunity of mum laying on her side, ran towards her and started suckling.’
PUBLISHED: 12:52 GMT, 26 October 2012 | UPDATED: 15:35 GMT, 26 October 2012
This is the moment a leopard grabbed her cub by the scruff of his neck to drag it out of a den where it had hid from a predator.
The cute creature poked his nose out of the hollowed-out termite mound when his mum returned from a hunting trip.
After emerging fully from the den the mischievous cub was so excited to see her that he tried to play with her.
But, after a night out hunting, she was in no mood to play and so picked him up in her mouth and dumped him on the ground.
Wildlife photographer Grant Atkinson captured the moment on camera during a trip to the Linyati River in Botswana.
Grant, 44, said: “We were following a female leopard through some woodland and saw her move into a clearing.
‘After a while she stopped at the entrance to an old burrow in the side of a termite mound and very slowly a little cub emerged.
‘Eventually it came out. She groomed it and then moved to the back towards the mound but the cub followed her and began to play.
‘In the end she picked it up by the neck and then carried it right across the clearing.
‘She put it in a new hiding place, in an old fallen tree stump.
‘The cub finally went inside and the mother leopard lay on top of another fallen stump.’
- A three-month-old lion cub set about playfully taunting her siblings
- She sunk her teeth and claws into her brother before they turned on her
- The lion pride were photographed in the Serengeti plains, Tanzania
By Alex Ward
PUBLISHED: 16:22 GMT, 3 October 2012 | UPDATED: 18:18 GMT, 3 October 2012
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Sibling rivalry starts from a young age and for this cheeky lion cub, taunting her older siblings was way too much fun to worry about the consequences.
The feisty female, only about three-months-old quickly set about wreaking havoc after she was the first of her pride to wake from an afternoon snooze.
But while she playfully teased her older siblings, it was not long until they ganged up on her, pushed her in the mud and chased her up a tree in the Serengeti plains in Tanzania.
Wildlife photographer Elliott Neep captured the pride playtime in stunning photographs.
- Monsters of the deep: Ghastly images by photographer who captures faces that appear when rocks reflect in water
- Dozens of hungry polar bears devour a whale carcass left out for them by hunters in Alaska
- I’m ready for my curtain call: From a drenched pooch in a shower to puppies at play, amazing images from Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year contest
‘Lions can be both the most boring and the most thrilling of animals to watch.
‘Most of the time they laze around and sleep and other times, like this, they are full of energy, chasing and fighting.’
Mr Neep, who works as a photographic guide, said the photographs had the ‘cute factor’.
He said: ‘In terms of how I rate these photos, they are certainly up there on the cute factor alone.
‘The images of the cub biting the back of the other cub and the tail biting one are particular favourites of mine.
‘When we arrived at the scene all was quiet and the lions were sleeping in the shade but the skies had grown increasingly heavy and rain was imminent.
‘The first lions to wake were two young cubs, who started suckling from their mother, she was in a very bad mood though and snarled at them.
‘As the young female continued to fight and chase the older cubs, they pinned her to the ground and rolled her around in the mud.
‘The cub was following its natural instinct when she fled to the higher ground of the tree.’
The Serengeti plains are dominated by vast short grass plains populated by wildebeest, large numbers of gazelle and predators including lions, cheetahs and leopards.
There are also lakes in the area which attract plenty of flamingos and smaller cats such as Serval and Caracal.
http://www.avaaz.org/lions Caring with all our hearts as one MASS voice in signing, sharing, posting, tweeting, emailing the Avaaz petition to BAN THE LION TRADE IN SOUTH AFRICA, until 1 million voices are HEARD! WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED! The WORLD will speak! Please share, invite, email the petition and TWEET this:
Lions are not aphrodisiacs! Call @SApresident Zuma to ban the trade of lion bones for bogus sex remedies now!#poaching
The latest Avaaz update on the petition: “Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) just ordered our ads to be taken down, in a move that smacks of political censorship. We have objected, told the press and are reviewing our options to ensure that our voices are heard and we win protection of the lions.”
The petition: “To South African President Zuma:
As citizens from around the world with great respect for South Africa and its magnificent natural heritage, we appeal to you to ban the cruel and senseless trade in lion bones and organs, which is encouraging an industry that could drive lions to the brink of extinction. We hope to be able to visit South Africa and support its tourism industry, and would like to recommend travel there to our friends. We urge you to remove the stain of the lion trade from your country’s reputation and help us to support you with a clean conscience.”
Why is this action CRITICAL?:
“Hundreds of South African lions are being slaughtered to make bogus sex potions for men. But we can stop this cruel trade by hitting the government where it hurts — the tourism industry.
A global ban on tiger bone sales has traders hunting a new prize — the majestic lions. Lions are farmed under appalling conditions in South Africa for “canned hunting”, where rich tourists pay thousands to shoot them through fences. Now experts say lion bones from these killing farms are being exported to phony ‘medicine’ makers in Asia for record profits. Trade is exploding and experts fear that as prices rise, even wild lions — with only 20,000 left in Africa — will come under poaching attack.
If we can show President Zuma that this brutal trade is hurting South Africa’s image as a tourist destination, he could ban and punish the trade in lion bones. Avaaz is taking out strong ads in airports, tourism websites and magazines, but we urgently need 1 million petition signers to give the ads their force. Sign the petition to build our numbers fast.”