November 16, 2021

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Zoological Wildlife Foundation (aka “ZWF Miami”), operated by Tiger King villains Maria and Mario Tabraue, is one of the last remaining tourist traps in the U.S. that’s still using big-cat cubs for cruel photo ops. In the late 1980s, Mario Tabraue was found guilty on racketeering charges after he was busted for a drug-smuggling enterprise that used an exotic-animal business as a cover. Nowadays, he’s up front about his scheme to profit from animals’ suffering—by using them for lucrative public encounters.

photo of cub with lesion on face

These cruel encounters are also dangerous for humans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued Tabraue an official warning—a rare enforcement action taken by the agency—after a guest was bitten by a lion cub during a photo op. A construction worker’s finger was once bitten off by a tiger, and last year, a juvenile chimpanzee bit a child, prompting a warning from state authorities for Zoological Wildlife Foundation to end all encounters with the great ape.

photo of chimp

While Tabraue’s days of running a criminal operation that allegedly stuffed live snakes’ bodies with bricks of cocaine may be behind him, he hasn’t really changed his stripes since his drug kingpin days—he’s just found new ways to torment animals. Tearing big-cat cubs and infant primates away from their mothers to thrust them into the arms of strangers for a few “likes” on Instagram, all while keeping ZWF Miami’s pockets lined with cash, is the epitome of exploitation. Treating animals like props is a form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.

Please urge Zoological Wildlife Foundation to end its cruel public encounters and send the animals to reputable facilities where they can live in peace and get the care that they deserve.