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Real wild and dangerous pet friends

15.12.2020

We are all now going through a challenging period in our lives. Due to the global pandemic, many activities have become inaccessible, but fortunately, our good friend Netflix has not let us down at this demanding time. If it were not for him, online shopping for dog outfits, clothes & accessories, and cuddling with our beloved pets, our life currently would be unbearable.

One of the most recent topics which has rocked the world almost as much as the famous virus, was the inaccessible world of tiger breeders. The story of Joe Exotica has seized the imagination of people around the globe. Netflix's 'Tiger King' watched approximately 34 million people. Regardless of whether you are one of the wild animal lovers, an admirer of Joe's lifestyle or just looking for distraction, today, we will satisfy your needs. In this article, we will take a closer look at Joe's biography as well as at his predecessors and fellow wild animal friends - legendary Steve Irwin and grizzly bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell.

Joe Exotic

Anyone who takes care of a pet must have been astonished and experienced some mixed feelings when hearing about the community of big cat conservationists and collectors in America. The former police officer, and US presidential candidate Joseph Passage, better known as Joe Exotic, is quite a complex and controversial figure.

Over the course of two decades, the zookeeper built a 16-hectare menagerie in the interstate of Oklahoma. It contained baboons, wolves, a camel trained to "kiss" guests and as Joe, claimed over 200 of tigers. A private zoo filled with cubs of domesticated tigers that you can touch similarly to how to pet a dog in combination with the extrovert style of being a Passage attracted hundreds of travelers from all over the USA. In order to satisfy the market demand, Joe has become one of the country's largest suppliers of tigers to private buyers.

Some critics accused him of cruel exploitation of wild animals, seeing themselves as tigers' saviours, while others may have considered him eccentric but harmless.

One of our hero's most fierce enemies was Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida, who presents herself as an animal rights activist whose mission is to provide a sanctuary for big cats raised in captivity. Joe, on the other hand, considers her only as competition. At one point in the meeting, one of the men proposed to kill Baskin for about USD 10 000, to which Joe replied that he would have to 'sell more tigers'. Unfortunately, the men turned out to be FBI agents, and the conversation between them, recorded.

On 7 September 2018, Joe was indicted and arrested. The jury found him guilty of hiring someone to murder Baskin, of violating the Lacey Act by falsifying wildlife records, and on nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act by killing five tigers and for selling tigers across state lines. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison and his animals, with the help of Big Cat Rescue, owned by Carole Baskin, were transferred to Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.

Steve Irwin

Stephen Robert Irwin often called "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian zookeeper, TV character, wildlife specialist, ecologist and nature conservationist. Steve was a far less controversial person than Joe Exotic, but nonetheless an interesting personality. He became famous because of the broadcasted worldwide programme "The Crocodile Hunter", which he ran with his wife. What is interesting is that the first episode of this documentary was filmed during their honeymoon where the couple was engaged in trapping crocodiles together.

Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin and their dog

In 1980 Steve took control of a private family zoo called 'Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park', where he helped wild animals and tried to answer questions about their complex nature. Can crocodiles laugh? Why do dogs like to be pet? Can you make friends with a reptile? These are just a few of the issues that would be worth asking our expert on the animal kingdom. A few years early in the early 1980s, Steve spent months in the most remote areas of distant North Queensland catching troubled crocodiles before they were struck by a poacher's bullet. He worked with his beloved dog, Sui, and developed methods for capturing and managing crocodiles that are now used by crocodilians around the globe.

The Steve Irwin's programme has had over 500 million fans worldwide, making him a symbol of animal welfare. The wild pet friend died in 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb.

Timothy Treadwell

Now we will move on to the person who has taken a different tactic to most of us, and instead of creating a home for animals and making them resemble people and buying them houte couture clothes for dogs or taking to luxury pet shops, he decided to join them in the wildlife. Timothy Treadwell was an American bear enthusiast, environmentalist, and documentary filmmaker who lived with wild grizzly bears in Katmai National Park in Alaska. He was known for getting extremely close to the bears he observed, sometimes even touching and playing with them, although claimed that he was always careful with the bears and actually developed a sense of mutual trust and respect with the animals.

Grizzly man reading a book

In 2001, our Grizzly man gained media attention and became an ambassador of a wildlife. He traveled all over the US to educate children about bears and appeared on the Discovery Channel. However, his behaviour also had its opponents, especially the National Park Service, who recorded several infringements of the law on his part. In 2003, Treadwell set his campsite near a stream where grizzlies usually feed, and was killed by one of them. It was the first known incident of this kind in Katmai National Park.

Weren't that the breath-taking stories? If you want to know more about other animal-related topics, for example on the history of dog’s appeal, please visit our website, my dear pet friends.

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