A roadside truck stop owner criticized for keeping an endangered tiger caged on his parking lot property has acquired two new exotic animals for display.
Animal activists were horrified by the living conditions that Tony, a now-deceased endangered Siberian tiger, lived in for nearly 20 years at the Tiger Truck Stop. Car exhaust, constant traffic, and a barrage of noisy visitors were the norm for the rare big cat, who was housed next to a busy highway.
Tony was reportedly euthanized last year due to health issues stemming from kidney failure. But now, truck stop owner Michael Sandlin of Grosse Tete, Louisiana has added a camel and a baby coati (a member of the raccoon family endemic to South and Central America) to his collection.
Sandlin says he also intends to build a roadside alligator exhibit and petting zoo which will feature goats, ducks, and a variety of other small animals. Strict regulations prohibiting the possession of exotic big cats in Louisiana mean Sandlin can’t replace Tiny, but he plans to continue fighting for another tiger to house at the truck stop.
Lisa Wathne, captive wildlife protection manager for the Humane Society of the United States, said that while he hasn’t broken any laws with the new additions, the location is not acceptable for housing animals.
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“A truck stop is not the appropriate place for any animal, whether it’s a tiger or a camel,” she said. “That’s not a facility that can provide for animals appropriately. In this case, our best hope is that the public will continue to come out strongly against this. There are so many things he could do at the truck stop to attract tourists that would be much more attractive than a camel.”
Watch Big Cat Rescue’s overview of the truck stop’s negligence before Tony’s death: