Proving that no one is above the law when it comes to illegally keeping exotic wildlife, Tarzan, King of the Jungle (ret.) was recently arrested and charged with unlawfully owning three big cats.
From this story in the Palm Beach Post:
Former Tarzan movie actor Steve Sipek was released from jail this afternoon after authorities arrested him on misdemeanor charges related to the two tigers and one leopard he kept on his property.
While he was being processed at the jail, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators sedated and removed the cats from Sipek’s property in the 3300 block of C Road. Sipek’s USDA permit to keep the three large cats at a Loxahatchee facility that he maintains with Melanie Boynes has been revoked, said FWC spokesman Jorge Pino. Sipek now faces misdemeanor charges of possession of a Class 1 animal without a USDA permit and possession of a Class 1 animal as a pet. No one else was on the property.
“…Sipek, a Croatian man who was known during his acting career as the “Spanish Tarzan”, has a long-standing affinity for big cats. He has more than once told the story of how in 1975 a lion dragged him out of a fire on a movie set, which made him a big-cat fancier on the spot. In 2004, he was the subject of worldwide media coverage during a 26-hour hunt after a 600-pound tiger named Bobo escaped from Sipek’s Loxahatchee compound.
_Bobo was found and shot five times with an AK-47 assault rifle by a wildlife officer. In 2005, after suffering from a string of setbacks including a house fire and the death of his 22-year-old cougar, Missy, and his 22-year-old lion, Elvis, Sipek paid $3,200 for two tiger cubs named Bo and Little Bo, according to a Palm Beach Post story written at the time. It is unclear if these are the tigers that wildlife officials are collecting this morning. Just last fall, Sipek told a Palm Beach Post reporter that he lets his tigers sleep with him in the house. “When it’s cold like last night, they are very warm to cuddle up to,” Sipek said at the time.
Jane, Tarzan’s former mate, could not be reached for comment. According to tabloid reports, the couple allegedly split years ago over Tarzan’s refusal to seek fully-clothed acting roles in the wake of the Tarzan franchise’s waning popularity. Tarzan’s former simian sidekick, Cheetah, who now runs a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, told reporters he was “saddened and troubled” to see his old friend in trouble with the law. “I warned Tarzan about this years ago,” said Cheetah. “That swinging on vines and wrestling with big cats was so 1950’s, and he needed to hang up the loincloth. I recognized that. He didn’t, and this is the result.”