The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering a change of regulations that could jeopardize conservation efforts at TIGERS/RSF. In 2012 a group of radical animal rights groups, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), petitioned USDA to “prohibit public contact with big cats, bears and non-human primates of any age.” USDA has accepted public comment, and will now decide the issue within the scope of the administrative “rule making” process. There will be no congressional vote nor oversight.
TIGERS/RSF Interactive Conservation
As most of you know, The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) and the Rare Species Fund (RSF) facilitate the most cutting edge interactive wildlife experience in existence. We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and bring millions of dollars into the local economy annually. Over the last decade we have donated over $1,000,000 as well as our time, effort and expertise, to grassroots conservation programs around the world.
At our Preservation Stations, our wildlife ambassadors; great apes, big cats, elephant and a stunning group of other highly interactive animal ambassadors, offer our guests a collection of experiences that can be life changing. While at the preserves, the participants’ senses are awakened to a whole new world; feeling the leathery hide of our elephant, the soft touch of a lynx, the sweet smell of a binturong and the heart pounding sound of tigers running at 55 miles per hour.
Our visitors see animals they know and love displaying their spectacular natural talents and have encounters with new ones they never knew existed. During these encounters our guests connect with wildlife in a very intimate way, which personally involves them in the lives of these amazing animals. They then walk away into the world with a desire to save these creatures and help preserve their environments. We often hear the opposite from those in the animal rights arena; that these experiences do not have an impact on the desire of people to go out and be a more active part of wildlife conservation. However, we have seen first hand, and have spoken to countless individuals who have had these experiences that are now actively involved in conserving those species.
All of our encounter programs are conducted in accordance with USDA’s rules and policies under the Animal Welfare Act, and our highly trained staff ensure that visitor and animal safety is a priority at all times. We believe our programs are a testament to the fact that interactive encounters can be a safe, positive, and truly impactful experience for the public, as well as a stimulating and socializing event for our animal ambassadors themselves.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the lead petitioner, and largest animal rights organization in the world, has become the bully of the animal welfare world. In 2014, HSUS and their subsidiary and co-petitioner, The Fund for Animals, along with Born Free USA (co-petitioner), settled a $15 million racketeering lawsuit filed against them by Feld Entertainment under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) after the court discovered the animal rights groups had paid a plaintiff for his participation in a related Endangered Species case, and then attempted to conceal those payments from the court. HSUS has since tried to distance themselves from their misdeeds by claiming that they inherited the lawsuit when they acquired The Fund for Animals, and therefore were not responsible for actions by the organization prior to acquisition. However, at the time of the acquisition, Wayne Pacelle, current CEO of HSUS, was the CEO of The Fund for Animals, and became CEO of HSUS in the wake of the acquisition. Pacelle is the primary signatory on the petition, and was the leader of The Fund for Animals when the transgression occurred, and the RICO lawsuit was originally filed.
The petitioners not only mischaracterize animals welfare concerns in their petition, but they disparage all who don’t support their ideological goals. Further, several of the petitioners have recently expressed sentiments calling for an end to all zoos in the United States. Preferring that all zoo animals be transitioned into “last stop sanctuaries” until their deaths. With that course of action wildlife in zoos would become a thing of the past in about one generation.
USDA is currently assessing whether they will make an administrative change in the rules governing public contact. TIGERS/RSF understands that USDA is obligated to field all properly submitted petitions, but USDA is also bound to ascertain the credibility and motivations of the petitioners. In light of the philosophical bias exhibited by the petitioners, USDA should be careful not to allow powerful special interests to incrementally dismantle animal ambassador programs under the guise of animal welfare. It is clear that in an animal rights utopia, there are no animals in captivity for any reason. HSUS and their fellow petitioners seek to undermine conservation through manipulation of the Animal Welfare Act. With their recent record of transgressions under the RICO Act, USDA should question closely any information proffered by this unreliable source.
Jessica Lewis said:
HSUS is nothing more than a U.S. Based terrorism cell that gets millions of dollars in tax free donations every year that the American people think is used to help the care of needy animals. In reality the money is used to push anti ownership agenda. It’s time these radical and biased terror groups need to be shut down, and let real animal caregivers do what we should have the God given right to do. We should preserve the species that are in danger of extinction and being able to promote a species to make more people aware of how to preserve the earths animal resources, and breeding programs or educational programs should be left alone. Keeping animals regardless of species should be the choice of each individual and as long as the animals are provided a proper enclosure and diet, with enrichment for the health of the animals, why should the government over reach a citizens right to do so?
Elizabeth Buddy said:
HSUS does not operate a single facility that cares for captive wildlife. Their opinions have no merit. It is an absolute waste of tax payer dollars for government employees to entertain such extremist views.
HSUS does not care about anything but ruining peoples lives. It actually helps conserve the endangered animal if people come in contact with those who care for the animals plight. It fosters empathy for the conservation for those endangered.
Zoos are necessary for the propagation of species that are either extinct or going extinct in the wild.
Wolfram Halupka said:
Don’t touch the tigers… I’m absolutely certain that people are much more willing to support & fund conservation efforts if they have the chance to encouter tigers, lions, elephants and others first hand. zoos are of course not quite the same as parks where one is able to achieve close contact with e.g. a lion or a tiger. keep up the good work!
Mitzi Wright said:
I concur with Wolfram Halupka. It was an amazing experience and I am proud to have had the opportunity to do it! Imagine trying to appreciate art without ever having gone to a museum or music without ever having experienced a live concert. It’s the same thing! The personal experience is where the passion develops.
Doug Radel said:
After experiencing Tigers, firsthand, it allowed me to see how these animals are so beautiful and valuable to this planet. I had not really thought about how important it is to preserve and extend the life of all these incredible creatures until this experience.
Zoos and places like Tigers are all about conservation and the preservation of these wonderful creatures and without these unique experiences I feel most people would not understand the value of these animals and the need to protect them!
Tamara B said:
I completely agree! Just seeing these beautiful animals, up close and personal, makes much more of an impact on people, than just seeing them in a video online, then if you’re an animal lover, you feel bad or guilty, then contribute whatever you can afford & afterwards most people tend to move on with there lives, unless compelled to make another contribution. I think seeing them, touching them & feeling that interaction & love from these animals, would much more likely inspire people to do more, & to get more people involved! I feel really bad right now, since I only live 4hrs from S. Myrtle Beach & I’ve only recently found out about the Myrtle Beach Safari! I plan on making this trip, to see these amazing, beautiful animals & hope to meet a lot of the awesome staff(apprentices, trainers, etc.), that have given their lives to these animals, or even to the world, by saving an animal, that could have possibly become extinct, w/o their dedication, plus, the help of others doing the same, not to mention the gruelling schedule, working for years 24/7, w/ barely any time off & no social life, only caring for these special animals, that we need to protect! I can’t believe, after living so close, for 36yrs, I haven’t heard of Myrtle Beach Safari sooner! Thanks to the internet, for helping many of us, learn about this great place to experience, a once in a lifetime, with your family or like me, I may go the 1st time by myself, so I can take it all in, w/o family distractions, then I’ll take them & show them what they’ve been missing! Lol Also, my life was so much busier, while raising 2 girls, all on my own, going to school part time, & working! Now my kids are grown, or finishing up college, so I have more time for me & to do some of the things I’ve always wanted to do, esp. since I’m not working, due to an unfortunate diagnosis of stage 4 NHL, SLL, a few yrs ago(Fortunately, I’m doing much better after chemo & Rituxan treatments. The cancers still in my body, since the type I have is chronic & only curable w/ a BMT, but I’ve been very lucky & my Onocologist has told me, my cancer isn’t being detected in my blood now, so for over a yr, I’ve been in a kind of remission, anyway! 😊) & have more time for myself, to discover & do things like this, which are practically in my backyard, considering you would have to travel to Africa or Asia, to see these animals! A 4 hr. car drive is nothing, compared to a flight to Africa, to go on safari! I can’t think of a better way to spend my time or money, giving back to these animals in need & possibly may not be around for my Great-grandchildren to see, I can’t even fathom that thought! To think that one of these beautiful, intriguing & loving species, may not ever be around again! Thanks to the human race for letting it get to this point in in the first place, for letting wild game hunters take out even 1 of them for show & bragging rights, or the poachers making money off of the elephant tusks or skins of other endangered animals! It seems people are just now starting to wake up to the problems & wanting to do something about it, before these animals are gone forever! This just can’t happen! I will volunteer as much of my time as possible & give as much money, as I can, hoping that it doesn’t! The tigers are one of the most beautiful animals on this earth, I can’t imagine never seeing another live one again! Also, it takes getting the word out, to people that truly have no idea, just how bad the situation has become & if we all don’t start acting soon, it will prob. be too late for some of them! So, please, spread the word, about Myrtle Beach Safari, & what they do to help, to all your family & friends, then ask them to pass it on, along w/ info abt the endangered species, that they are trying so hard to help! I would include videos(If legally authorized), or a link to them! I feel it makes a big difference, if you see it w/ your own eyes! Also, knowing there is a great adventure, that helps them, & allows you the opportunity of a lifetime! You can be there, touching, petting & feeding these animals yourself one day! I know the video’s def. inspire me, everytime I watch them!
Angela Flythe Holt said:
The people at Myrtle Beach Safari, with the Rare Species Fund, and T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station do very valuable work which benefits their local community as well as people and animals worldwide. My family and I have been visiting their facilities for years and are proud supporters of their work. Having volunteered at zoos and animal sanctuaries for over fifteen years, I can attest to the high quality of care which their animals receive. The staff at T.I.G.E.R.S. always puts the health, welfare, and safety of their animals and guests first. They inspire the public to care about conserving wild species and preserving endangered species. They also work to save the environment. They educate the public on important issues dealing with conservation. Without hands-on encounters, their valuable work would not be as effective. I have written to my legislators in support of allowing their work to continue. I hope anyone reading this will do the same.
Bonnie Lehman said:
Myrtle Beach Safari is an amazing experience. I’ve been there twice. There seems to be a very spiritual feeling in the air. The love, respect, and admiration shared between humans and animals is so surrounding. You not only see it ,you feel it. It is hard to imagine anyone wanting to destroy that. Praying it can continue and an ending of the controversy. The world needs this love !
The experience at T.I.G.E.R.S. can be life changing for people. The interaction with the animals, in this safe and controlled environment, provides people of all ages an appreciation of these beautiful creatures and how important it is to preserve their species. The staff and organization is dedicated to their conservation efforts around the world.
Cynthia Reed said:
No. Meeting the tigers was one of my favorite experiences ever. The USDA needs to leave T.I.G.E.R.S. alone.
I’m surprised my comment is not showing and no explanation given. Why is this business afraid to publish views that put the animals first but also explain that the public will still fund this business and programs from just seeing the animal? Do you not think that the public really care for the beautiful animals they see or is there a darker motive?
Andrew Wyatt said:
We don’t publish emotionally based comments with no real substance. If you had a fact/data based comment, it would be published.
Honesty Marshall said:
Public veiwing of wildlife is what keeps the wildlife protected. Without interaction between wildlife and humans, the wildlife will be seriously endangered. My kida learned so much visiting the tigers when we went to SC on Vacation.
What happens is that these complaining humans receive money for complaining about something, as it is their job, while companies like George Soros’ Open Society Foundations finance and encourage, these people will continue with their complaining jobs, everything moves for them strictly for the money, it is not their love for animals, if it were love they would make a place as loving and welcoming to animals and people as the TIGERS Myrtle Beach Safari.
Shannon Esbrandt said:
Please tell me what I can do to help. Do you have contact info for who I can write or call or something I want to help