Photo: Mahamayavi Antle Facebook

About Doc Antle
Known AsMahamayavi Bhagavan Antle
Age64 Years
BirthMarch 15, 1960 Phoenix, Arizona
ChildrenTawny Antle, Kody Antle, Sri Devi
AddressMyrtle Beach, South Carolina
CountryUnited States
AffiliationThe Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, Rare Species Fund
HometownTucson, Arizona

Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only do we see the insane persona that is Joe Exotic and find out his connection to Netflix’s Cheer through his husband, Dillon Passage, we are also introduced to an equally (if not more) ludicrous personality in the form of Doc Antle. Joe regards Antle as an inspiration and mentor in the documentary. Who is this zoo owner and big cat enthusiast? Our Doc Antle wiki breaks down the other “exotic” personality behind Joe Exotic.

Doc Antle Comes from a Wealthy Family

Doc Antle was born Mahamayavi Bhagavan Antle in Phoenix, Arizona on March 15, 1960. He was raised in a wealthy agricultural family on an industrial farm in Salinas, California. Joe Exotic was also born to a wealthy farming family, in Kansas.

Antle’s father was a boxer and had his son train in martial arts when he was young. Antle’s mother was into Eastern philosophy, which is the reason behind his exotic given name.

Since Tiger King premiered on March 20, viewers have found Antle’s misappropriation of Indian culture quite problematic. His mother picked his Hindu name, but when others found it difficult to pronounce at school, he would go by Kevin.

Doc Antle dropped out of school before the ninth grade, using his family’s business connections to travel to China.

It was there that he earned his “doctor” nickname. Antle studied Chinese medicine; just enough basic medical training to treat rural populations. When he returned to the U.S., he was going by “Doc” and practicing alternative medicine and yoga.

Antle didn’t follow his family’s line of business and built his own fortune. But it was the family ranch that sparked his love for animals.

Also Read: Joe Exotic Net Worth, How Did the “Tiger King” Make His Fortune?

Antle Established His Own Zoo

Growing up on the family ranch, Antle’s days were filled with training dogs, doing rodeo, and watching his mom care for sick cows and horses in the kitchen.

When he returned from China, he found himself working as an alternative medicine lecturer/guru at Exxon in Virginia.

It was around then, in 1982, that Antle bought his first tiger cub. It took six months for him to form a bond with the cub; within a year, he had domesticated it.

The tiger accompanied him to Exxon conferences, where visitors asked to take pictures with it. His assistant bought a Polaroid camera and film so that Antle could charge visitors for posing with his pet tiger. Like Joe Exotic, he’d travel to carnivals, fairs, malls, and conventions, allowing photo opportunities with his cats.

Doc Antle became famous nationwide as a conservationist and animal trainer. He formed various organizations, but the most well known is The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS).

TIGERS, a sprawling five-acre safari and wildlife preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the most lucrative of Antle’s ventures. A private tour of the facility can cost $339 per person. And personal photography is restricted, leaving visitors no choice but to opt for the $150 professional photos. The park reportedly earns $1.3 million annually.

The pricing is steep for a zoo. But this is the only zoo that breeds the big cats for the sole purpose of posing for pictures. So, while Antle is a self-proclaimed conservationist, his critics accuse him of exploiting the animals for commercial interests.

TIGERS became famous for its distinct animal friendships. For instance, one of the zoo’s chimps began caring for tiger cubs after watching the trainers do it.

Doc Antle’s children, Tawny, Sri Devi, and Kody, are also involved in TIGERS.

Me and my Brother with our babies

Posted by Tawny Antle on Thursday, July 15, 2010

Antle is also the founder of the Rare Species Fund (RSF), an organization that supports global wildlife conservation efforts.

One of the movements supported by Antle’s RSF is the Tiger Lantern Project, through which solar-powered lanterns are donated to locals in India to prevent perilous run-ins with tigers in the wild. RSF also supports anti-poaching efforts.

Also Read: Facts About Carole Baskin’s Missing Husband, Don Lewis

Antle Trains Animals for Movies and Music Videos

Since 1994, Doc Antle’s animal training expertise has gotten him steady jobs in the film industry, including The Jungle Book remake, Ace Ventura movies, Dr. Dolittle, and Mighty Joe Young. Pretty soon, he acquired the reputation of an elite animal trainer.

Antle’s resume boasts many films, documentaries, TV shows, and advertisements. He’s also appeared on late-night talk shows with his exotic pets and is credited as a wildlife expert on shows by National Geographic, Discovery Channel, CNN, and BBC.

His growing success enabled him to buy the property on which he established TIGERS. And celebrities, especially musicians, have sought him out to add a wild spin to their photos, performances, or videos.

Besides having Sean Combs, Janet Jackson, and Ashante among his celebrity clients, he also provided the animals that were in Britney Spears’ iconic 2001 MTV VMA performance. Yup, the time Britney Spears performed “I’m a Slave 4 U” wearing a python. Spears made her entrance from within a cage containing Doc Antle and one of his tigers. He and the tiger remained on stage for the performance.

Also Read: Dillon Passage, Facts About Joe Exotic’s Husband

A Former Zoo Employee Accused Antle of Toxic Work Environment

Doc Antle has had his own share of criticism. While animal rights groups have always been critical of him, his running of the zoo came into question when a former employee, Barbara Fisher, revealed details about TIGERS.

Fisher, who was known as Bala at the zoo, likened the place and Antle’s circle to a cult with a toxic environment. According to her, the women who joined Antle’s zoo were kept in horse-stall like accommodations, were made to change their names to more Eastern or Hindu names like Moksha and China, and were pressured into getting breast implants. Fisher also said she was extremely overworked and didn’t get enough days off.

Antle has always had strong words for his naysayers. And he’s also voiced his displeasure about the way he was depicted in Tiger King.

In a since-deleted social media post, Antle accused the filmmakers of using his name to create buzz. “It is important to understand that this series is not a documentary; it’s sensationalized entertainment with paid participants,” he said.

He also said that Tiger King is all about Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin’s feud. From his phrasing, it appears Antle doesn’t take too kindly to his accredited zoo being equated to Joe’s private zoo.

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