Animal Protection Groups Urge Dirk Arthur to Retire Big Cats From Las Vegas Magic Show

Posted on March 29, 2016

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Keepers of the Wild Sanctuary Offer Assistance in Rehoming The Big Cats

For Immediate Release


tiger-article-image-230pxLAS VEGAS, NV — The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the nation’s leading legal advocacy organization for animals, and Keepers of the Wild, a big cat sanctuary located in nearby Valentine, Arizona are formally urging Dirk Arthur to retire the big cats he has been using for his Wild Magic show in Las Vegas. This request comes in the wake of Westgate Hotel and Casino’s confirmation that Wild Magic has been suspended.

Earlier in March, SeaWorld announced that it will halt its orca breeding program and phase out the use of captive orcas completely. Ringling Bros. Circus also recently announced its intent to cease forcing elephants to perform in its traveling circus by May 2016 rather than 2018, as initially scheduled. Magicians like Las Vegas-based Rick Thomas and Missouri-based Kirby Van Burch, have continued to entertain without the use of big cats, who have all been rehomed.

“It’s clear the landscape of animals being used for entertainment is changing,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “As education spreads, patrons of these types of shows increasingly recognize that stages and transport cages are no place for wild and endangered animals.”

In a letter sent on March 29, 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Keepers of the Wild offer their help to rehome the big cats to a sanctuary where they will be able to live out the rest of their lives in a naturalistic habitat. Keepers of the Wild is the sanctuary where magician Rick Thomas rehomed the tigers he formerly used in his show.

“With the Wild Magic show closed until June 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Keepers of the Wild believe this is the perfect opportunity for Dirk Arthur to follow Rick Thomas’ lead and retire the big cats to a reputable sanctuary,” says Wells. “Frankly, the use of wildlife in entertainment shows is going extinct—and best for Dirk Arthur and the Wild Magic show to follow suit.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently won an Endangered Species Act lawsuit against a roadside zoo in Iowa, in which four tigers and three lemurs were ordered by the court to be rehomed. Additionally, ALDF has a pending lawsuit seeking the release of a tiger from a Pennsylvania roadside zoo so she can be placed at a reputable sanctuary, and recently delivered a letter of intent to sue for the release of three African lions in Iowa. ALDF has also been pursuing legal and legislative strategies to free a tiger from a Louisiana gas station for several years.

About the Animal Legal Defense Fund

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.

About Keepers of the Wild

Keepers of the Wild is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of abused, neglected, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, and to providing the best standard of care and helping enforce the humane treatment of all animals. Its website is

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