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The Director of T.I.G.E.R.S.
Bhagavan Antle

Bhagavan Antle - Director of T.I.G.E.R.S.

Dr. Bhagavan "Doc" Antle is the founder and director of T.I.G.E.R.S., The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species and the R.S.F., The Rare Species Fund. He grew up on a vast cattle ranch in Arizona, where his great love for wild and exotic animals began and from a very young age he began raising and caring for every amazing animal he could get his hands on. As a young man he had many great opportunities to travel and explore the world and this eventually brought him to China where he studied for and received his Doctoral degree in medicine. He then interned as a traveling Doctor throughout many villages in mainland China and other parts of Asia. He returned to the United States in the early 80's and located in Buckingham, Virginia, where he co-created and ran Integral Health Services; an alternative drugless therapy clinic utilizing meditation, diet and exercise programs.

In 1982, the clinic was visited by a zoo director who introduced Doc to a Siberian tiger cub. He was so amazed by the presence of the tiger that he asked if he might use it at the end of one of his lectures, to demonstrate how even the most powerful animals were greatly affected by their environment. The presentation was a great success and after it was over an impressed audience member introduced himself as the local head of Exxon Oil. He asked Doc if he would present the tiger and his message of the dangers of environmental damage at an upcoming Exxon Convention. Needless to say, they were blown away and an amazing partnership was born between Doc Antle and the big cats of the world. T.I.G.E.R.S. was soon created as a wildlife education organization, dedicated to promoting global conservation with informative, educational, and entertaining interactive programs. It's animal ambassadors are important living examples of current worldwide environmental issues, helping to educate the world about the importance of conservation and global biodiversity. Today, Doc is widely recognized as one of the foremost animal trainers in the world, having worked with thousands of animals, and traveled the globe promoting the education and conservation of some of our planet's most rare and endangered species.

T.I.G.E.R.S. and the R.S.F. (Rare Species Fund) are based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and operate four public education exhibits; Two "Preservation Stations" in Myrtle Beach, SC, "Wild Encounters", located at Jungle Island in Miami, FL as well as yearly productions in the Boston, MA area of the highly acclaimed show "The Tale of the Tiger".

At our Preservation Stations, the wildlife ambassadors; the great apes, big cats, elephant and a stunning group of other highly interactive animal ambassadors, offer our guests a collection of experiences that can be life changing. While at the preserves, the participants senses are awakened to a whole new world; feeling the leathery hide of our elephant, the soft touch of a lynx, the sweet smell of a binturong and the heart pounding sound of tigers running at 55 miles per hour. Our visitors see animals they know and love displaying their spectacular natural talents and have encounters with new ones they never even knew existed. During these encounters our guests connect with wildlife in a very intimate way which personally involves them in the lives of these amazing animals. They then walk away into the world with a desire to save these creatures and help preserve their environments.

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Our guests wondrous experiences live on for a lifetime in the hundreds of individual and group high end professional photographs and video we take of them on this once in a lifetime journey. They leave Preservation Station with images that only a few privileged photographers and explorers on safari have captured after years of travel; a tiger or cheetah running at full speed or swimming across a clear pool, the great apes sliding through the canopy or a large tusked elephant just a breath away. You can tell from their pictures and the letters they send us how it has changed them. With us this experience happens every day.

The Rare Species Fund was established to provide funding to critical, on the ground, international wildlife conservation programs, thereby complimenting the educational messages and field research of T.I.G.E.R.S.. The Fund receives its financing base through a percentage of revenues taken in by T.I.G.E.R.S., the generosity of donations from exhibit guests, and the general public. Specific projects where our funding has made a real difference include:

1. We have helped fund the Matabeleland Leopard and Cheetah project in Zimbabwe that uses radio-collars to track problem animals that had been trans-located. Established GPS locations of animals home range movements are created for establishing lower hunting quotas.

2. The Rare Species Fund supplies funding to the Raptor Research Program of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa.

3. Our staff works closely with the Cheetah Foundation in South Africa preparing captive bred cheetahs for wildlife education programs. The staff of T.I.G.E.R.S created a cheetah run program establishing a much more thrilling and unique program for the guests who see the cheetah running at full speed right in front of their eyes. This up-close uncaged experience gives them a deeper appreciation and better understanding of the real beauty, power and grace of the amazing cheetah. It is hoped this lure chasing program along with other unique projects will start the cheetah on the long road back to eventual release into the wild.

4. We hand delivered seven tigers and oversaw the creation of their habitat in the Samutprakam Wildlife Park in Thailand. This group of trained and uniquely colored tigers is the first of its kind to be established anywhere in Asia. These tigers are used to draw attention to issues of international conservation while stressing the importance of saving wild tigers in a part of the world where tigers still live naturally but are highly endangered.

5. A National Geographic research team used our trained animal ambassadors to learn how to fit grizzly bears and lions with video collars so that, for the very first time, research could be carried out from the animals point of view on its routines.

6. The fund supports Thailand's Khao Yai project by providing in-country teams with the means to purchase equipment and learn Anti-Poaching techniques. The project focuses on training and capacity-building efforts with The Carnivore Conservation Project in Northern Thailand to secure the population of wild tigers in the Khao Yai National Park.

7. Jaguars from T.I.G.E.R.S were used as key characters in the film "Jaguar, Year of the Cat" made by "Nature" for international broadcast. This program included the only film clips in the world of a mother Jag and her cubs in a wild setting. This was made possible due to the great relationship the female and her cubs had with Doc Antle and the staff of T.I.G.E.R.S.. Images of wild jaguars seemed almost impossible to get at this time and only by using the trained wildlife of T.I.G.E.R.S. was it possible to make such a landmark documentary and bring the magnificent jaguar to millions of people around the world.

8. The RSF has invested in the planting of trees to replenish the rainforest located in Central Indonesian Borneo as part of the Orangutan International's Forestry Restoration Program.

9. T.I.G.E.R.S. helped The Smithsonian Institute to take battery operated televisions into the South American rainforest to show remote villages and rural populations a short film of the beauty of jaguars and other South American mega fauna. This film was part of a widely heralded project to enlighten the native people about this magnificent cat. Due to habitat destruction, millions of children and adults who inhabit this region will never see these animals in the wild. The film was shot using Inca, an adult male jaguar raised at T.I.G.E.R.S.. He has such a close bond with his trainers that he was allowed to swim and play freely along rivers in South Carolina for the production of this beautiful film.

Today, Doc is widely recognized as one of the foremost animal trainers in the world, having worked with thousands of animals, and traveled the globe promoting the education and conservation of some of our planet's most rare and endangered species.

Please join us in our worldwide education and conservation efforts at www.Tigerfriends.com.