Siegfried & Roy caused more harm to tigers than any other two people in the history of humankind, in my opinion – Carole Baskin
The following is my opinion, unless stated otherwise, but it’s a pretty well thought out and experienced opinion and the facts don’t lie. Here are a few indisputable facts:
In 1983 Siegfried and Roy purchased 3 white cubs including the first pure white (without stripes) cub for their Las Vegas act from the Cincinnati Zoo.
The photos on this page are the 5 acre “Secret Garden” where Mirage workers say some of the Siegfried and Roy cats and dolphins are kept.
Do any of those look like the posh, multi-million dollar residences that should have been provided to the cats who made the magicians, their managers and the hotelier’s multi-millionaires?
These are from November 2019 at the Secret Garden. The photographer said, “One of the keepers told me that there were cats behind the scenes that alternated into these enclosures. I don’t see how since there was a highway directly behind there. Also they did say they had cats in enclosures at Siegfried and Roy’s house property.” This same person, an expert in big cat care when on to say of her visit, “The enclosures were very small. There was a very strong odor smell near one white tiger who was older. Seems he was in renal failure at that time. The dolphin enclosures were bare and not clear water.”
Another visitor, who had been taken behind the scenes by staff explains why it is that the visitor above could not see any place that big cats could be living behind what the average tourist sees, stating, “There is indeed an indoor area for big cats behind what you see at the Secret Garden. It basically looks like a big dog kennel – concrete and chain link enclosures side by side on either side of an aisle down the middle. Cats are rotated between that area and the public viewing area. I know this because X and I were given a tour of it a few years ago (2013 or 2015, I think).” So the space where all the off exhibit cats are kept is apparently so small that to the Secret Garden viewers they couldn’t even imaging there was a space large enough behind the back wall of the cages that could even contain big cats.
Siegfried and Roy, who were domestic as well as professional partners, kept dozens of exotic cats and other animals in the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage; at Jungle Paradise, an 88-acre estate outside town; and at Jungle Palace, their $10 million Spanish-style home in Las Vegas. Why is it that no recent images of their cats appear anywhere other than at the Mirage where they are still having to earn their keep by being held captive for a live audience of drunken gamblers?
Siegfried & Roy’s show ended October 3, 2003, after Mr. Horn was mauled by a 400-pound white tiger named Mantecore, which dragged him offstage before a stunned capacity crowd of 1,500 at the Mirage. According to Las Vegas Magazine, many of the tigers and lions that appeared on stage with the duo — plus leopards and panthers — are now kept at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, an attraction at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nev., the same casino where Siegfried and Roy performed from 1990 to 2003.
Distractify reports that Siegfried & Roy were still breeding tigers in 2015 saying, “The habitat welcomed four tiger cubs in 2015, as the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: Liberty, an all-white female; Maharani, a white female with stripes; Hirah, a golden female with stripes; and Justice, a golden male. Unfortunately, Liberty and Justice both died of kidney failure later that year.” WHAT?!? Kidney failure in baby big cats?
According to USDA Records:
S & R PRODUCTIONS at 1639 NORTH VALLEY DRIVE CLARK COUNTY LAS VEGAS, NV 89108 USDA license 88-C-0006 Siegfried & Roy S & R PRODUCTIONS – MIRAGE HOTEL
2019-07-31 census showed 18 big cats including 2 lions, 6 leopards, and 10 tigers
2018-08-14 census showed 20 big cats including 4 lions, 6 leopards, and 10 tigers
2014-2017 no census was recorded by USDA
In 2015 https://animalfair.com/2015/10/19/siegfried-roy-tigers-now/ reported, “(The Secret Garden) is home to nearly 40 striped white tigers and a number of leopards, lions, and panthers.
2011 census showed 19 big cats
2004 census showed 45 big cats
When ABC did a piece on 20/20 about Siegfried and Roy they claimed there were 52 big cats at the five acre Secret Garden, but they only ever showed five of them or so. There was so much wrong with that report that I’ll just link to it here: Big Cat Rescue exposes Siegfried & Roy. News outlets reported annual revenue of $1,800,000 and that they employed a staff of approximately 30. Given the way these two have been lionized and idolized, I think they should have to account to the public for where all those lions, tigers and leopards went over the years and especially after Roy Horn died in May of 2020 and Siegfried Fischbacher died in January 2021. Who actually holds the USDA license now that they are deceased?
So, back to my opinion. I think these two caused more pain and suffering in the lives of big cats than any other people in the history of the planet because they perpetuated the myth that white tigers were “Royal White Bengal Tigers” when in fact there is no subspecies by such a name and the white coat color comes merely from inbreeding; along with many other birth defects. They used magic and deception to make people think they were supporting conservation by attending their shows and supporting their lifestyle.
They were so financially successful at this that they inspired animal exploiters around the world to keep perpetuating the lies. White tiger breeders including Kevin Bhagavan “doc” Antle, Joe Exotic, Jeff Lowe, Tim Stark, Mario Tabraue, Kathy Stearns, Dennis Hill, Josip Marcan, Nergers Tigers, Kay & Clay Rosaire, Jim Broaddus, Larry Wallach and Robert Baudy to name a few. These backyard breeders produced thousands upon thousands of cubs trying to create “perfect” white coats and to supply their endless demand for selfies by a public who had been misled into thinking they were supporting real conservation.
It was the cast offs (the “throw away” golden coated) tigers who then became the first breeding stock for tiger mills in China where they are bred like cattle and then starved to death to “harvest” their bones, teeth and claws for sale to the wealthy. As this market expands, as have the tiger mills, to Laos, Thailand and other places, including the United States, it expands the demand for these illegally traded items. That puts even more pressure on wild populations because those who can afford it will always want the premium product; the wild tiger.
If we don’t pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act in 2021 to ban cub handling and phase out private possession of big cats, the tiger will disappear in the wild in your lifetime and I believe the blame can be laid directly upon the feet of Siegfried Fischbacher, Roy Horn and everyone who enabled them and those who followed their example.