McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary is not a Sanctuary


58-C-0423 12943 61st St N, West Palm Beach, FL 33412 Claims to have more than 170 animals in 2021 on 4.87 ac.  The 2018 census showed 22 of those are big cats including tigers, lions, liger, jaguars, leopard, snow leopard and lynx.

The USFWS defines a sanctuary as a place that does not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow public contact.  McCarthy’s Wildlife Center appears to do most, if not all of the prohibited sins.

Posted: 12/20/2011 By: Liz Flynn

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Mark McCarthy, the owner and operator of the McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary is a busy man.

“We’ve got our hands full out here,” he said.  “We’ve got 24 big cats on our sanctuary.”

Bishman, a white tiger cub, and Babu, a snow tiger cub, are their newest cats. They’re just nine weeks old.

“They’re both brothers, even though the one is much lighter than the other one,” explained McCarthy. “He’s about 90% white.”

“This one,” he said, referring to the other white tiger, “is a handful here. He’s very boisterous compared to his brother, far more outgoing than his brother.”

The cubs were a gift from Preservation Station, a South Carolina wildlife center, just weeks after McCarthy’s prized white tiger Sabi, suddenly died.

Blood test results showed she died from canine distemper. While the sanctuary’s cats are inoculated for rabies and feline distemper, canine distemper has only recently started to be a concern. McCarthy now inoculates all their cats for it.

“There are several zoos around the country that have had this problem,” he said, “and have lost a huge part of their collection.”

Preservation Station’s gift has helped take away some of the pain of losing Sabi, McCarthy said.

“They called us up and asked us if we wanted one white tiger,” he added, “so I went up there to pick up one and then they told us to take two. So we got two white tigers.”

Actually, they now have a total of four white tigers.

Just days earlier, the Zoological foundation in South Dade, overcrowded with too many animals, gave them two 14 month old white tigers, plus a liger, part lion, part tiger.

They’ll join the reptiles, birds and all kinds of creatures at the sanctuary that are mostly donated animals.

“They’re not all what I would call rescues,” said McCarthy. “Some are, but a lot of them are just people’s pets they could no longer care for anymore and had to give them up.”

McCarthy hopes the people who visit, like the Fisher family from New York City, who paid extra for the chance to play with Babu, will leave with a healthy appreciation for wildlife.

“He was climbing on us,” said Russell Fisher.

“He was soft and furry,” added his sister, Sydney.

“Hopefully this is an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said their father, Larry Fisher.

Between now and January 15, 2012, you can interact with the cubs yourself for a donation of $50 per person. The money will be used to help pay for the cubs’ new enclosures. McCarthy said after mid-January the cubs will have grown too large.

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Note:  Real sanctuaries do not breed, buy, sell, trade nor allow contact with their big cats. McCarthy’s is no sanctuary by definitions of the USFWS nor the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. The places sending cubs to McCarthy’s are some of the most prolific breeders of cubs for use as photo props who are then discarded when they become too old at 12 wks to be used legally for that lucrative market. You can find out most about all of these places who purposely inbreed tigers to get white coats, or who cross breed lions and tigers to get ligers at 911AnimalAbuse


Wildlife officials catch missing tiger and lion

Reported by: Carson Chambers
Last Update: 12:47 pm

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Bengal tiger that escaped from its cage at a sanctuary was tranquilized and captured Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The adult tiger was last seen by caretakers at McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary about 11 p.m. Tuesday, said Gabriella Ferraro, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Authorities had warned residents in the area Wednesday morning to remain indoors while they searched for the cat. Three schools also were put on lock-down.

Ferraro said the tiger was captured at about 11 a.m. Wednesday on the sanctuary grounds. It was tranquilized and put back in its cage.

A lion also escaped its cage at the sanctuary sometime overnight but was quickly captured, authorities said.

A person who answered the telephone Wednesday at the sanctuary said they wouldn’t talk and abruptly hung up.

The facility is located about 20 miles northwest of West Palm Beach. It houses about 90 animals, including one lion, six tigers, five cougars and five leopards.

Fish and Wildlife officials last inspected the facility on Jan. 29 and found no problems, except for an unlocked venomous reptile cage, according to the agency.

“The sanctuary has a good record with the FWC,” said the agency’s Capt. John West.

FWC officers were investigating how the animals got free.

In 2004, a 600-pound tiger named Bobo escaped from the nearby five-acre home of Steve Sipek, who once played Tarzan in movies of the same name.

A wildlife officer eventually shot and killed the cat after 26 hours on the loose.

That shooting set off a public outcry and led to at least five death threats aimed at the state FWC.

An agency report later found the officer used sound judgment and complied with the agency’s guidelines when he shot the Bengal-Siberian tiger. However, the report also noted that the officer’s lack of training in dealing with big cats, his proximity to the animal and a tranquilizer team’s delay in getting to the scene factored into the cat’s death.

At the time, Sipek and others complained that killing the cat was unnecessary.


Owner of lion, tiger cited for conditions that led to escape in Loxahatchee

Palm Beach Post Staff

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Loxahatchee wildlife sanctuary has been cited by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after a Bengal tiger and a lion escaped their pens as Tropical Storm Fay passed through town.

Mark McCarthy, owner of McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary was cited for keeping the animals in an unsafe manner, resulting in a threat to the public.

The citation is a second-degree misdemeanor, with up to a $500 fine or 60 days in jail, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro.

Investigators determined that the gate hinges on the enclosure were improperly secured Aug. 20, the day the animals went missing. The animals were apparently able to push the gate off its hinges.

The escaped Bengal tiger was cornered and shot twice with tranquilizer darts after the brief scare that forced three schools to take special precautions. Officials waited for the big cat to become groggy before returning it to a cage. The adult lion was quickly recaptured.

Following the incident, the FWC inspected the entire property. In addition to the citation, FWC inspectors issued three warnings
relating to other cages on the property, Ferraro said.

This is McCarthy’s first citation, and Ferraro said that since the incident he has made several improvements to the property.

McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary has been operated by Mark McCarthy as a traveling educational exhibit since the mid-1980s. McCarthy also holds a wildlife rehabilitation permit. McCarthy’s houses 22 big cats who “consume 1,000 pounds of meat each week,” according to its Web site.

In May, one of McCarthy’s tigers, Sabi, bit him on the leg on the set of a rap video being filmed in Miami. news/content/west/epaper/2008/09/10/0910mccarthy.html

Customer/Organization Name (DBA):
Customer Number:
Certificate Number:
License Type:
Class C – Exhibitor
Certificate Status:
Status Date:
12943 61ST ST. N.
COUNTY:Palm Beach