As some of you may recall, I previously wrote (May 8, 2003) about Joan Byron- Marasek, also known as the “Tiger Lady,” and her court battle to permit her to continue to keep 24 Bengal tigers on her twelve acres of property in Ocean County, New Jersey. As I noted then, she had come to the attention of the state when a 431 pound tiger was found to be wandering around a residential neighborhood near her home (She denied that the tiger belonged to her). At that time, a state court ordered that the big cats were to be taken away from the Tiger Lady and sent to an animal sanctuary in Texas.
Finally, yesterday, fully six months later, after a federal judge denied the Tiger Lady’s last-ditch effort to stay to stat court’s order to remove the animals, New Jersey animal welfare officials, including biologists and veterinarians, showed up to remove the tigers.
Martin McHugh, director of the state Fish and Wildlife Division, was highly critical of conditions at the facility. The tigers were wallowing knee-deep in a mix of water, mud and feces covering the floor of their compound and some appeared malnourished, he said.
The animals were loaded onto a special truck for transport to the Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio, Texas.
However, It may well be that the Tiger Lady has something up her sleeve, because a state inspection of her property this summer revealed that two of the tigers had given birth, and the cubs were not located yesterday. This led Carol Asvestas, executive director of the Wild Animal Orphanage, to speculate that the Tiger Lady may have hidden them. “”We don’t know where the cubs are, and it worries me,” she said. “I’m afraid that in five years we’ll be back here or wherever she goes.”
Well, this year in New Jersey we gassed a couple thousand geese, got rid of a couple dozen tigers, and next month we will unleash several thousand hunters to reduce the black bear population in the state. Who would have ever thought of New Jersey, the most densely populated of the fifty states, to be a regular Wild Farookin’ Kingdom?
Jersey…..Ya gotta love it.