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Posted on Nov 29, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Sue Pearce Animal Adventures

Sue Pearce Animal Adventures

Sue Pearce Animal Adventures

Rumor has it that Sue Pearce was shut down by USDA on 11/28/2016 and the animals are being confiscated and sent to better, albeit not much better homes.

Sue Pearce is the owner of Animal Adventures in Okeechobee, FL.  She at one time volunteered for Jeffrey and Barbara Harrod of Vanishing Species and took in their animals when USDA took away their license. Prior to that she took in animals from  Joe Schreibvogel who is the one of the most notorious exploiters of tiger cubs.  She has sold big cat cubs, including one cub to Kathy Stearns of Dade City Wild Things, another exploiter of cubs used to make money from petting.


Pearce has had numerous USDA citations in 2011-12, including 12 on just one report in 2011.

tigermudsuepearceaAn individual we know has indicated that Pearce is working to separate tigers to avoid breeding, but to the best of our current knowledge Pearce continues to believe some big cats should be bred at her facility, which we oppose.

SUE PEARCE (ANIMAL ADVENTURES) Certificate No: 58-C-1011









12/5/2012 The Jay Leno’s show featured a tiny lion cub (Julie Scardina’s Animals, Part 1 on Jay Leno 12/05/12):

Viewers were told by Julie Scardina, SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Ambassador that “This baby lion cub was bought online by a young person with no knowledge of animals or reality the cub is going to grow into a 300 lb lethal Lion. It is an ongoing investigation, the parents came home and went what the? and you know realized she was confiscated and in the middle of a court case. Sold online by an Exotic Breeder”

The female lion cub ‘LC’ was born in at Animal Adventures, Inc in Okeechobee, FL which is owned by Sue Pearce.  Where is LC now?


Big Cat Abuse is Impossible to Regulate

This is why it should be banned entirely.  You can help do that at

This letter to USDA shows that there are many other places as bad as this one, but year after year, despite being in non compliance with the laws, they are automatically renewed by USDA:



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Posted on Oct 25, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name, News Feed | 0 comments

Vicenta Pages

Vicenta Pages

Vicenta Pages Circus Act

Customer No: 3093
Certificate No: 58-C-0440
Certificate Status: ACTIVE
Status Date: Aug 14, 1991

Photos by Cassandra Grzybowski

Circus Carnies Always Say They Are Loved by Their Big Cats

If so, why do the cats try to kill their trainers?

Notice how they always try to get the press to downplay the attacks.


Uses 4 lions, 3 tigers and 2 elephants, as well as camels in their circus act

Vicenta Pages poses with one of her six white Bengal tigers Monday on the Shelby County Fairgrounds after arriving a week early for their 2012 Shelby County Fair booking. The show came to Sidney after an Indiana engagement was canceled. Their free fair shows next week are sponsored by the Sidney Daily News and Hemmelgarn Services Inc. SDN Photo/Tom Barnett
Performing act arrives at fairgrounds

7/18/2012 9:31:00 AM

Young Vicenta Pages and her six Asian white Bengal tigers arrived at the Shelby County Fairgrounds a week early on Monday after a Muncie, Ind., engagement was canceled.
A new mom with her first child, Pages, 26, and her tigers are safety billeted in a shady corner of the local fairgrounds, the tigers napping in their sturdy cages and Vicenta and family in her air-conditioned motor home.
“I was born into a circus family,” she said. “I’ve done horses, camels, dogs, even aerial acts and I’ve really enjoyed working with my tigers these past 12 years.”
Pages, of Native American and Cuban American heritage, is the only woman training big cats today. She performs alone in the show ring with her six striped charges.
Her family members, on both sides, perform with animals, aerials and most every circus act. Vicenta has toured with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey and also been part of the Pages Circus.
Beginning Sunday at the 152nd Shelby County Fair, Pages and the tigers will be performing free shows at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. daily through July 28 next to the fairgrounds gazebo. Performances are sponsored by the Sidney Daily News and Hemmelgarn Services Inc.
Pages said she prefaces each show with information about the tigers, and how they’re trained and cared for.
At her bidding, the big cats will be standing on their hind legs, doing walks, sit-ups, rollovers and other routines. Asked if she has ever had any close calls with her charges, Vincenta shook her head.
“No, they’re all well-behaved,” she said.
Vincenta says her cats are fed 60 pounds of beef and/or chicken a day, all purchased from Walmart stores. Their fresh meals cost about $560 a week. The tigers, four females and two males, variously weight from 300 to 500 pounds.
The act travels nine or 10 months a year, returning to winter in Florida where the tigers and Pages plan the next season’s fair and carnival itinerary.
Their fairgrounds site in Sidney includes a horse and 3-month-old tiger cub Vicenta says she “adopted” in Indiana.
The show’s next engagement takes them to Hale, Mich., in August.



Note:  Most private owners and roadside zoos seem to be using Wal-Mart’s discarded meats to feed their cats.  Please ask Wal-Mart to discontinue enabling the breeding and exploiting of big cats by providing free food.  While Vicenta claims in this article to pay for food from Wal-Mart, that is unlikely given the recycling program Wal-Mart provides free through


Vicenta is a fifth generation performer, her father is Jorge Pages Jr. of the Pages circus family which originated in Cuba and arrived in the US as Circus Pages. Her mother is Frieda Logan-Pages who is the daughter of former Clyde Beatty Cole Bros. Circus elephant trainer Fred Logan.
She began performing on trapeze at one, trampoline at four, on ponies at age 8 in her first solo act. It was around that age when she asked her father when she could join him in the arena with the tigers, he told her when she was older. At age fourteen she reminded him of that fact and she joined her father in the presentation of the family tiger act. At 18 she began performing solo with the tigers.

At age 19 she began a tour with the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. Her run with Ringling Bros. ended on Labor Day 2009 and Vicenta is now reduced to performing at fairs, festivals, special events and possibly theme parks throughout North America.

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Posted on Sep 19, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Zootastic Troutman NC

Zootastic Troutman NC

Zootastic Pimps Out Big Cat Cubs

It’s 2016 and Zootastic is still pimping out cubs.

My son and I visited Zootastic Park at 448 Pilch Rd, Troutman, NC, 28166 this past Saturday, September 17th, and we saw some things with their big cats that concern us terribly.  We did the Tiger Cub Encounter and the white tiger cub named Thor appears to have something wrong on his skin.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but had some suspicions.    Thor was also very hoarse when he talked.  I thought he sounded very strained and he cried out often and appeared very distressed and stressed out.

Also of concern, out in the park where they have their new enclosure for the tigers, they have a sickly looking Li-Liger Cub (I asked the keeper/handler on my encounter about this animal) and he said the animal belonged to someone else, but they are doing the best they could for him. He has close to no hair and his skin looks awful.  He is also being tormented by an adult white tiger female in that same enclosure.  I saw her grab him by the neck and get on top of him to show him she was boss.  She did it many times and swatted at him.  Before I left, he decided to fight back and show her he was tired of it.  Very, very disturbing to witness.  They have NO WHERE to go to get away from the torment!  And this poor little guy also has an open wound on top of one his paws.

I sent this info and photos to Carole Baskin at Big Cat Rescue to take a look at because I know she’s an expert on the big cats.  She believes it may either be Ringworm or Mange on Thor the cub.   This is a huge problem because they allowed us to touch the cub!  I have cats at home and this would be devastating to bring home.  For the Li-Liger cub, she said it looks like Mange.   I am requesting that you have an Inspector sent out to Zootastic Park right away to investigate these issues.  Please.  If the cub has Ringworm or Mange, as you know both are highly contagious,  then this is a huge public health risk!   The public can touch the animal.  I told Carole  I was told that Thor is 12 weeks old and they got him at 3 weeks of age she said that means the cub was sold AFTER it became illegal to take the cubs from their moms for handling before they are 4 weeks of age (see the USDA below).  If the cub was transferred across state lines at 3 weeks and money changed hands, then it was a violation of the USFWS rule below.

4/5/2016 USFWS announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since at least 2007 to rescind this loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Read more:

4/3/2016 USDA cracks down on abuse of cubs under the age of four weeks.  In response to a 2012 legal petition filed by The Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance making clear that exhibitors violate the Animal Welfare Act by allowing members of the public to handle or feed infant exotic cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars or leopards.  Read more:

Please take a look at these photos and video I took of Thor the White Tiger cub and photos of the Li-Liger cub.  Thank you so much for your time and concern!

liliger at Zootastic 2016

This mangey looking cub was being tormented by bigger tigers in the cage

liliger tormented by tiger at Zootastic 2016

This might be the worst case of mange or ringworm we’ve ever seen

White tiger cub Thor at Zootastic 2016

The spots on his legs, chest, belly, face, toes and read end look like ringworm

White tiger cub Thor at Zootastic 2016

Despite an obvious skin condition this cub is being pimped out as a pay to play object

Name Withheld

USDA Citations 2014 – 2016

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Jul 05, 2016
Direct:		 1
Non-Critical:	 7
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 194

Zootastic 2016-07-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Nov 16, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 194

Zootastic 2015-05-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
May 19, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 4
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 172

Zootastic 2015-03-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Mar 13, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 1
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2

Zootastic 2015-02-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Feb 11, 2015
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 1
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 213

Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Dec 30, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 0
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 2

Zootastic 2014-11-acis3
Customer No:	 44266
Certificate No:	 55-C-0272
Nov 05, 2014
Direct:		 0
Non-Critical:	 4
Critical:	 0
Animal:		 21

Back in 2014

It has been reported that Zootastic, in Troutman, NC is charging people to play and pose with big cat cubs.  As usual, these kinds of operators insist that they are “legit” and that they are breeding for conservation and that paying them to play with cubs will result in conservation and a lovely life for the cubs when they grow up and are sent to undisclosed, other facilities.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

These USDA inspection reports show continuing violations of animal welfare standards and when the cubs are sent to other places you can be sure they will be equally as bad or worse.  No legitimate facility would allow Zootastic to continue to exploit cubs and then dump last year’s babies on them.  That just perpetuates abuse.

Zootastic-10-2014-11-29 at 8.27.31 AM

Zootastic-11-2014-11-29 at 8.27.19 AM

Zootastic-14-2014-11-29 at 8.26.45 AM


Zootastic-2014-11-29 at 8.26.08 AM










As soon as they opened, in 2012, they were exploiting cubs


Last holiday hoorah at Zootastic Park

Although the holiday is over, and 2012 is undeniably under way, Zootastic Park, one of the region’s more unique attractions, wants to stretch that holiday feeling for a little bit longer.

The park’s operators say, given the difficult economy, they want to give back to the community for its support of the zoo throughout the year. As a final present under the tree, Zootastic is holding over its “Wonderland of Lights” spectacular for one last time.

One of the largest holiday lights displays in the area, Zootastic will flip the switch back on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission to the display is free.

With more than 1.5 million lights along the two-mile drive, the display concludes with a computerized light show in Zootastic’s “Western Town.” After viewing the lights, visitors are invited to enter the zoo to visit the animals. There will also be opportunities to have pictures taken with Zootastic’s baby tiger cub, ride a pony and more.

The Christmas Wonderland of Lights is located off I-77 at Exit 42 between Mooresville and Troutman. From I-77 North, turn left off the exit ramp and then right on Ostwalt-Amity Road. Zootastic Park is one mile further on the left.

The park will open for its pre-season on March 3. For more information, call 704-245-6446 or 888-966-0069 or visit

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Posted on Aug 2, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Vincent Von Dukes Tigers AKA Jordan World Circus AKA Clyde Bros Johnson Circus

Vincent Von Dukes Tigers AKA Jordan World Circus AKA Clyde Bros Johnson Circus

Who is Vincent Von Duke?


and why can’t he be found under any of these names he uses in USDA’s records?


He is licensed in Florida to operate out of a Sarasota P.O. Box under ESA # 16769 which was issued on 10/2/11 with his location listed as P.O. Box 1418 Sarasota, FL 34230-1418 and a phone number of 941.938.2138.  His Florida state license states that he and Georgina Donoho are at 14969 Beckett Road in Seagoville, TX 75159.  His email address is listed as


In 2004 he reportedly had a USDA license issued to Clyde Bros Johnson Circus Seagoville TX using that same email address above but there is no current USDA license number in that name or any of his other names listed here.  He was said by USDA to have had 6 tigers back in 2004.


Despite having a traveling show that appears at second rate fairs there is no explanation for how he is displaying tigers legally.  None of the reporters who have covered his appearances have done their homework to find out who he is, whether or not he is actually licensed to be taking tigers out in public and if so, under what name.


On a circus site I was able to discern that Georgina Donoho AKA Pom Pom Donoho was a circus performer and upon searching her name discovered this little old lady has a USDA license in her name 58-C-0788 and, low and behold, it is registered to the same P.O. Box 1418 Sarasota, FL 34230-1418.


In Nov 2011 Vincent Von Dukes AKA Georgina Donoho cited for an inadequate perimeter fence at their P.O. Box (no location given) and the report said they had just acquired new lion and tiger cubs and did not have vet care guidance for them.  The report gave them until December 2011 to correct the dilapidated fence, but there was no follow up inspection or report.  The inspection said that they should send in photos of their traveling act cage, but compliance is unknown.





In Vincent Von Dukes April 2011 inspection report there was no adult available to allow an inspection and apparently no itinerary filed with USDA.  Traveling acts are supposed to file an itinerary with USDA so that USDA can send an inspector to the location where the animals will be performing if there are complaints.  Most traveling acts only send these right before traveling because they do not want animal protection groups to know where they will be exploiting animals.



In Vincent Von Dukes February 2011 inspection they were cited for inadequate perimeter fencing and given until April 2011 to correct it, but by the November 2011 inspection it still had not been done.



In Vincent Von Dukes February 2010 inspection at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds he was cited for not following his veterinarian’s prescribed diet for the 8 tigers in his act.





To update your search go USDA inspection reports.

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Posted on Jun 1, 2016 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Browns Oakridge Zoo

Browns Oakridge Zoo

Brown’s Oakridge Zoo is a privately-owned backyard menagerie, big cat breeder, and cub-petting operation in rural Smithfield, Illinois. They don’t have the publicity of some exploiters, but they’re every bit as bad, in our opinion, and the sad part is that nearby residents, news reporters, and even local governments and businesses have been duped into thinking that they’re a wonderful place!

This private zoo was started in the 1990s after Nancy and Ivan Brown bought an old dairy farm and started filling the property with exotic animals. “I said we’d have just about anything and everything I wanted, not knowing that it would go to this extent, and then we started rescuing animals,” Nancy told news reporters in an interview.

Brown’s Oakridge Zoo is not a legitimate sanctuary, as they regularly breed, buy, and sell lions, tigers, leopards, and other exotic wildlife. As of 2016, 152 lion and tiger cubs have been bred and reared at the zoo. One disgusted visitor described it as “a puppy mill for endangered animals.” The newborn cubs are removed from their mothers at as young as 2 days after birth and hand raised in the Brown’s home. Nancy Brown claims that she has to do this because “oftentimes the mother will stop caring for her young” and that every cub they’ve raised was “abandoned” and then “rescued” by the zoo.

The tiny cubs are then taken around the state to visit fairs, businesses, schools, nursing facilities, and even private homes, where the public is encouraged to hold, feed, and take unlimited photos with the babies for a fee. The zoo claims that they “don’t exploit animals”, but they’ve dragged tiger cubs through the streets in a wire cage as part of a local homecoming parade, and offer cub-petting on their property in an effort to bring in more visitors. They also pimp out cubs for professional photo shoots.  The cubs are also allowed to come into direct contact with other animals, such as dogs, pigs, and domestic cats, presenting a huge risk of zoonotic disease transmission. Most of the cubs are only handled until they reach the USDA’s maximum age of 12 weeks, but occasionally, cubs may be used longer than is legal, as the zoo has written on Facebook that “we base it on the animal’s temperament” and that ” all interaction is based on the individual animals disposition not just federal regulations.”

Photos taken at the zoo show petting practices that are extremely dangerous for both the cubs and the visitors: large, unrestrained tiger cubs placed in the laps of toddlers, lion cubs placed next to human babies, and children dangling cubs in the air. Cubs are frequently allowed to come into contact with other animals, such as dogs, pigs, and domestic cats, presenting a huge risk of zoonotic disease transmission, and some of them have large open sores on their noses from rubbing against cage bars.

Once the cubs can no longer be used as photo props, most of them disappear into the exotic animal trade without a trace.

Brown’s Oakridge Zoo has placed ads in the exotic animal trade journal Animal Finder’s Guide. One of their ads read: “FREE: one year old female Siberian tiger, one-year-old male black bear, five-year-old neutered and declawed black bear. All animals have been in petting zoo and are good natured.” One of their black bear cubs was sold to Clark’s Trading Post, a roadside attraction in New Hampshire where bears perform circus tricks. In this article, Nancy claims that she sells her cubs to “someone starting a facility or needing a replacement animal”, and in another, she explains that she has a waiting list of potential buyers for her cubs, because exploiters like to use animals that have been habituated to humans in petting zoos.

Kovu and Kiara, a pair of lion cubs which the Browns claim to have “rescued” from another facility in the early 1990s, were used for breeding, and produced at least 11 photo prop cubs which were later sold. One of the cubs, “Romeo,” born in 2007, was sold in advance to notorious Hollywood animal trainer Sid Yost, who picked up the cub shortly after its birth in order to hand raise him. Yost has a long record of severe animal welfare act violations and is known for using physical violence to “train” his animals. Undercover investigators saw trainers at Yost’s company frequently punching, kicking, and hitting young chimps with a sawed-off broom handle, and in 2009, the USDA cited Yost for repeatedly beating his big cats, including Romeo, with a metal rod called a “pig stick”.  In 2012, citing severe abuse and a “lack of good faith”, the USDA even attempted to revoke Yost’s license.

In 2014, Brown’s Oakridge Zoo was fined $3,571 by the USDA for severe and repeated Animal Welfare Act violations, one of which resulted in the death of an animal.

According to the report, “APHIS observed animals having only frozen water to drink, drinking from muddy water pooled on water-saturated ground, and watering bowls that were dirty and empty.” In 2013, they were cited for failing to provide veterinary care to a kangaroo with a broken leg. Inspectors wrote “although the attending veterinarian was contacted by phone, no veterinary care was provided and the animal died.” The same report also cited the zoo for housing lion cubs and cougars in rain-flooded enclosures where it was “impossible for them to get out of the mud.”

Like most private exhibitors, Brown’s Oakridge Zoo attempts to justify what they do by telling the public that they’re breeding for “conservation”, that using cubs as photo props is “educational,” that their cubs were “abandoned”, and that exploiting cubs is an appropriate “fundraiser” to help the zoo afford to care for their animals. And although they often claim that their zoo is a nonprofit organization, they are not registered as a 501(c)(3) under that name.

Brown’s Oakridge Zoo has typical backyard breeder conditions — tarps, splintered plywood, concrete, mud, etc.

I also recommend you scroll through the “zoo’s” Facebook feed to see what they’re about — it’s a constant stream of “come see the cubs,” anti PETA/HSUS propaganda, and the occasional reposted content from Lynn Culver’s “Feline Conservation Federation” about how pet tigers never harm anyone and unfettered private breeding “saves the species.”

Nancy Brown’s personal feed isn’t much better — a lot of anti-USDA/BCR garbage, posts from other exotic pet owners (like Joe Schreibvogel Maldonado), and photos of tiger cubs being treated like dress-up dolls — in between posts about how much she, and other private zoo owners, “love” animals.

Visitors to Brown’s Oakridge Zoo are absolutely prohibited from taking videos on the property, but we were still able to find a few:

This is some raw video a local news organization shot.

It shows a lot of pacing, since the enclosures lack any kind of enrichment for the cats. At 2:26, Nancy casually hands a tiny, screaming black leopard cub to someone in the news crew, with nothing more than a “don’t drop her.” Since small children are allowed to hold cubs with little supervision, it’s a good bet that cubs have been dropped before.

Here’s a puff piece another news organization did at one of their popular cub-petting events.  A 9-week-old lion cub was passed around like a toy for photo after photo as a “fundraiser to help feed the animals.”

Here’s a video tourists to the zoo took during a paid “encounter” with a squirming leopard cub. Nancy tells the visitors that the cub was hand raised since it was 3 days old, and that she lets her dogs “play” with the cubs “all the time.”

Here you can see some videos the Browns filmed in their backyard.  Have you ever heard a lion cub make such a painful noise before? …could she be screaming for her mother?

See photos and download documents of the mistreatment here:

Download the   2014 USDA fine against Brown’s Oakridge Zoo.


2014 USDA citations

Brown’s Oakridge Zoo has been in the press several times doing things that no respectable zoo would do; such as

1.  Pimping out lion cubs as pay to play photo props

2.  Inbreeding tigers to create genetically unviable white coats

3.  Inbreeding that resulted in the death of the mother tiger


Here are the stories, which are usually presented by the unwitting press as fluff pieces.


A lion in your holiday plans could help feed animals at the zoo


MACOMB, ILL. — The king of the jungle became a holiday photo mainstay in Macomb.


The Lakewood Lodge along with Brown’s Oakridge Zoo gave families a chance to take Christmas photos with a lion cub for a zoo fundraiser.


Hundreds of people gave a visit to the Lakewood Lodge in Macomb, looking to get a closer look at the nine-week-old lion cub, Nala. Nala is an African lioness from Brown’s Oakridge Zoo in Smithfield, Illinois.


The Holiday Safari Open House is a fundraiser for the zoo to help maintain their animals over the winter when the zoo is closed. Families could donate ten dollars to have their picture taken with Nala. The money would go towards paying for the food for the animals.


Doctor Chuck Lotz is the owner of Lakewood Lodge and is the veterinarian for this zoo.


“It is a good fundraiser for the zoo. Plus it allows the kids to see the animals and Nancy and Ivan that run the zoo, Nancy and Ivan Brown are just very knowledgeable. They do an excellent job,” Lotz said.


Brown’s Oakridge Zoo is open from the first of May until the end of October. It is the only family owned zoo in the state of Illinois.


Brown Zoo Tigress Dies Giving Birth to Inbred White Cub


When a white Siberian tiger cub was born at Brown’s Oakridge Zoo in rural Smithfield, it was a day of both joy and sadness.

Bogdan was born, but his mother died of complications from the birth.

Even though tiger cubs have an 80 percent mortality rate, zoo owners Ivan and Nancy Brown say their 14-week old tiger cub is doing well and weighs nearly 40 pounds.

Nancy explains Blogdan has brought a lot of joy to hundreds of people who visit the zoo because they have always wanted to pet a white tiger. “We have fulfilled a lot of bucket lists,” she explains.

Bogdan is also making a name for himself in Chicago where he has modeled for a line of men’s jewelry, says Nancy.

In this photo, a heart shape is seen on Bogdan’s back just behind his neck. Nancy explains the photo was submitted by a fan of Bogdan’s who has visited him five times already.

Nancy says she believes the heart shape mark in his fur was given to him by his mother who wanted him to remember her.

Nancy calls Bogdan very special and a miracle. “He is a blessing to us. In the wild he would have died,” explains Nancy of her precious gift.

Visitors to the zoo can see Blogdan during winter hours.

The zoo is located southwest of Smithfield, Ill., at 17732 N. Dairy Farm Road. After Labor Day, the zoo is open on weekends from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and from noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Appointments are taken from those wishing to the visit the zoo during the week.


If the Brown Zoo doesn’t know how inhumane it is to inbreed tigers to get white cubs, they should be shut down.


Inbreeding at Brown’s Oakridge Zoo Results in White Tiger

SMITHFIELD – There is big news at Brown’s Oakridge Zoo.

A white Siberian male tiger cub was born at the zoo on Sept. 8. The cub has been named Bogdan which means “Gift of God” in Russian.

At birth, Bogdan weighed a mere 1.5 pounds. Now, he weighs in at 6 pounds and has a good appetite.

White tiger cubs typically have an 80 percent mortality rate, so the celebration of this new addition is especially great for zoo owners Nancy and Ivan Brown.

“He is a blessing to us. In the wild he would have died,” explains Nancy of her precious gift.

The zoo has the only white Siberian tiger exhibit in the state of Illinois and has been the only family-operated zoo in the state for the last 21 years.

Nancy explains the sad part of the story is that the cub’s mother died, due to complications of the birth. A second tiger cub was stillborn. “That makes him (Bogdan) very special to us,” remarks Brown, who said it was remarkable that he went to a bottle within six hours of his birth. Bogdan will not be able to see until he is about six weeks old and the Brown’s are anxious to see if his eyes remain blue, or turn to brown just like his mother’s eyes.

Most people think a white tiger is a Siberian, but that is not accurate, says Nancy. Subspecies of tigers can also be white in color.

“The white tiger started years ago with a white tiger being captured in the wild and brought into captivity in India,” says Nancy, who has done her homework.

That tiger “Mohan” was bred to his daughters, grand daughters, nieces, and so on, explains Brown of the linage. With such a long line of inter-breeding, there is an 80 percent mortality rate in the cubs which also can suffer with scoliosis and respiratory problems. “We are fortunate to have a healthy cub. There have been no other white tigers found in the wild since Mohan,” Nancy emphasizes. She explains experts in the field expect wild tigers to be extinct in a generation. There are less than 200 Siberian tigers in the wild, currently.

The Browns have raised exotic animals at their rural location for over 30 years. “We have rescued quite a few animals over the years from various situations,” says Nancy. The zoo, family owned and operated since 1990, started out with a single pot-bellied pig and a few whittle deer.

The zoo currently has an expectant lion and leopard. Nancy says the cubs will be born this fall.

Currently, the zoo has over 40 different species of animals – some are endangered species. Visitors can find lions, tiger, bears, leopards, cougars, bobcats, wolves, a kangaroo, and much more.

Zoo animals are feed approximately 150-200 pounds of meat per day, 50 pounds of dog food, 50 pounds of grain, 100 pounds of hay, and other specialty feeds for some of the animals.

The zoo is located southwest of Smithfield, Ill., at 17732 N. Dairy Farm Rd. Hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday. The zoo opens on May 1 and continues those hours until Labor Day.

After Labor Day, the zoo is open on weekends from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and from noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday. Appointments are taken from those wishing to the visit the zoo during the week.

During Spoon River Scenic Drive on Oct. 1, 2, 8 and 9, the zoo will be open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Visitors will be allowed to feed the big cats, bears, and hoof-stock animals. They can also have their photo taken with Bogdan the new white Siberian tiger cub.

Nancy says, “We have turned our home and land into a place where we can promote and help to insure the future existence of animals, some of which are endangered. We are dedicated to the animals and want to provide them with a safe place to live in a stress-free environment. Our work is a labor of love and we truly love what we do.”

In addition, the Browns say they just want to bring happiness to their visitors.

The Browns have learned through hands-on experience and have studied to keep abreast of information on their animals.

The zoo is visited by people from throughout the United States each year. Some tell Brown they are fulfilling a lifelong dream to see a certain species, or to pet a wild animal. No matter what the reason, Brown has many interesting stories to tell about her animals and their visitors.

The zoo is solely supported by admission, photo fees, and donations. The zoo travels with offsite exhibits to schools, nursing homes, libraries, camps, birthday parties, business promotions, and provides educational programs throughout the state.


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