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What Happened To Bhagavan 'Doc' Antle From Tiger King?

The titular Tiger King Joe Exotic called him a mentor, and Bhagavan "Doc" Antle certainly is larger-than-life enough to have mad an impression upon an equally bombastic and colorful man. As the most successful private zoo owner in the United States, Antle had garnered his share of fame and press even before Netflix's new true crime series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, but this new publicity turn has, for good as well as ill, given him an even higher national profile.

It's a wild world out there for private keepers of exotic animals, and considering (spoilers) that a man has now gone to prison over the vicious competition and high stakes, what exactly has happened with Antle in the interim? It's been a couple years now from where the documentary left off. Are all those big adorable kitties still where they were in South Carolina, safe and sound along with their ponytailed master? Here's what Doc Antle has been up to beyond the coda of the Netflix series Tiger King.

Doc Antle has had a few legal issues

While he hasn't exactly gotten himself into the kind of hot water that Mr. Exotic has, that doesn't mean Antle hasn't had his share of legal issues. He rather reliably has visits from the USDA, which has slapped him and his facility with hefty four-figure fines in the past. Most recently, he had to deal with a whole-facility search and seizure operation in the latter half of 2019 — but it wasn't related to Joe Exotic's legal woes. In this case, the USDA was tracking the genetic lineage and sale of lion cubs kept at a Virginia private zoo that had been charged with criminal animal abuse, leading to all the animals being seized by authorities there. Antle has not been charged with anything in connection with the incident.

What does he think of Tiger King? Well, to put it bluntly, he retained a lawyer after seeing the trailer for the series, though that appears to have been mostly a knee-jerk reaction on his part, as he didn't anticipate just how heavily he would be featured. He has since decided the docuseries "isn't as bad as I thought," according to Vanity Fair. It's likely the USDA as well as animal rights groups will continue to be a thorn in his side, though only time can tell if the pressure will result in any substantial changes to how Antle runs his business. He's quite used to the impositions, and shows no signs of reevaluating himself: "I have been running our own conservation program for 38 years. I have been trying to figure out what can be done to save tigers many many decades.... Either I'm 100% conning you, or it's real," he explained further to Vanity Fair. That's certainly a particular rhetorical tactic to employ after being heavily featured in an investigative docuseries, but we can't help but be impressed by his boldness.

Doc Antle is still wrangling big cats

All of those complications aside, Antle is still kicking around down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, running the reserve just the same as he always has. Recently, WWE champion the Undertaker made a visit to the park, which has been memorialized on Antle's Instagram account. He and his wife even got to spend a bit of poolside time with the adult big cats — a thing that hasn't been permitted as part of the tour for regular guests since 2005, per USDA edict for safety reasons. It might feel a little bit like a naked marketing scheme in the immediate aftermath of a sensational true crime documentary in which he appears as a character of dubious morality, but the whole post does make an effort to center its rhetoric on preservation rather than Antle himself or just the park.

That is to say, it's business as usual at Antle's park, and the man himself seems to be doing just fine, abiding by the old adage that any publicity is good publicity. Well, as long as you're not the one who goes to jail, which he wasn't.