Ringling Bros. lions and tigers show up in Northeast Arkansas

WEINER – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers discovered seven tigers, six lions and one leopard in cages when they responded to a call for assistance from the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office at 11 p.m. Saturday.

The sheriff’s office received an anonymous call. The large cats in the cages were plainly visible through one of the building’s open doors. Officers spoke with the owner of the animals at the shop, who said the animals were temporarily housed while waiting for shipment to Germany via Memphis International Airport tomorrow. The AGFC is trying to confirm the owner’s account with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Maj. Brad Young with the AGFC says wildlife officers will be posted around the clock at the location to ensure the animals remain contained, and will escort them to the Tennessee state line, where they will be met by TWRA personnel before they continue their journey.

Large carnivores are among animals restricted for importation into the state without prior written approval from the AGFC, according to the Arkansas Code of Regulations. Importation of such animals not only can pose risks to public safety, but also can cause unintended spread of diseases or parasites.

“Our No. 1 priority is to ensure the safety of the citizens of Poinsett County,” Young said. “The owner of the animals is with them on-site, and the animals are being taken care of. We just want to make sure they remain secure throughout their time in Arkansas.”

– Media release

A Tuesday report by the Jonesboro Sun said the animals previously belonged to the Ringling Brothers Circus. It was shut down in May.


  1. Is this the same group of animals from which one tiger escaped and was shot in Atlanta? Those were also Ringling bros./Barnum and Bailey,I read, and were also headed to Memphis.

    • Hi Dave,

      Yes, this is the same group and that tiger’s name was Suzy. Ringling/Feld Entertainment claims they have no idea how the tiger escaped. The entire group is sadly destined for a circus in Germany, despite massive opposition to it from a number of organizations and big cat experts.

      • Why won’t someone help them? Why will an organization not save them? It’s animal cruelty and it’s illegal in all 50 states. If it were a litter of puppies they would have already been rescued.

  2. What is going to be their purpose in Germany? Please don’t let them be going to another circus!! Can they go to a zoo or open range maintained safari or something? It is heartbreaking that these beautiful animals have been paraded around for entertainment. The lion looks so sad. Look at his eyes. He’s not afraid or defensive. He looks broken and depressed.

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