Care2 Success! Kalahari Resorts Will Stop Abusing Tiger and Lion Cubs

What does the name “Kalahari Resorts” conjure up for you? Perhaps an African adventure, given that the Kalahari desert is a dry, sandy savannah in Southern Africa?

In parts of the U.S., the name refers to a popular resort chain with destinations in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Oddly, the Kalahari Resort in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains is far from a sandy desert; instead, visitors walk into a 220,000 square foot waterpark — the largest waterpark in the U.S.

Abusing Hundreds Of Tigers And Lions

Up until recently, while enjoying their waterparks, spas and amusement rides, guests at Kalahari resorts could take part in exploiting hundreds of tiger and lion cubs.

Taking pictures with lion and tiger cubs — one of the offerings at Kalahari resorts and other tourist destinations — may seem harmless to visitors, but Care2 activist Mary Krupa learned what happens behind the scenes of these “attractions.” 

Lion and tiger cubs are snatched away from their mothers minutes after they are born. Exhibitors and wildlife traffickers bring them to resorts like Kalahari, where they are placed behind glass and for a small fee, visitors can pet them or take a photo with them.

Krupa learned that William Coburn, who provided animals to Kalahari’s Sandusky resort, had been cited with dozens of serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and had admitted that he slaughters lions for the exotic meat trade. Meanwhile, at the Kalahari resort in Wisconsin, cubs were provided by animal broker and convicted wildlife trafficker Mark Schoebel, who sold bears to Asian medicinal markets and tigers to animal slaughter rings.

In 2015, Krupa created a Care2 petition demanding that Kalahari Resorts stop participating in the abuse of tiger and lion cubs.

Krupa was determined to stop the exploitation.

Care2 Success!

It has taken two years, but Krupa never gave up hope. She kept fighting and kept garnering more signatures on her petition, which now has an amazing 140,525 supporters.

Because she cared so deeply about the cruel treatment of these animals, she worked nonstop for their release from this terrible abuse.

Finally, in 2017, she found success. The Kalahari Resorts have confirmed to Krupa and Care2 that they will no longer display live animals in their lobbies or sell photos with tiger cubs.

A huge shout-out to Mary Krupa and all the Care2 activists who signed up to support her.

As Krupa writes:

“This is a major win for animals. Millions of people visit Kalahari every year, so this change in policy removes a large source of demand for tiger cub photos — and that means far fewer tigers will be bred, exploited, and dumped into the wildlife trade. YOU spoke up for the animals and made this happen! Thank you!”

Krupa also told Care2 that before the petition was started, activists had been urging Kalahari to stop abusing tiger cubs for ten years, but the resort refused to acknowledge their concerns.

Tiger Abuse in Tourism

Care2 has reported on several instances of the abuse of tigers in resorts, zoos, and even at a truck stop. At a zoo in Florida, visitors can pay $200 for the privilege of swimming with a baby tiger. Even when the tigers want to get out, they are forced to stay in the water. 

In Grosse Tete, La., a Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony has been kept for years as an attraction at a truck stop, where he is constantly breathing in diesel fumes.  Animal activists have been working hard to get Tony moved to a sanctuary.

A quick Google search will reveal numerous exotic animal petting zoos around the U.S., which especially favor very young animals. But since the USDA has ruled that there should be no public contact after cubs are 12 weeks old, these “photo cubs” are then discarded into the wildlife trade.

True sanctuaries, run by people who care about the animals, do not allow people to have contact with their animals.

A Remarkable Achievement For Animals

What Krupa has achieved with her Care2 petition is remarkable. As she told Care2, this policy change by Kalahari Resorts removes a large source of demand for these cub photos, and that means far fewer tigers will be bred, exploited as props, and dumped into roadside zoos or the wildlife trade. 

Congratulations to Mary Krupa for her outstanding work!

Is there an issue that you care passionately about? If so, you can start a Care2 petition, just as Krupa did. Get started by checking out these guidelines, and soon you’ll find the Care2 community signing up to support you.



Photo Credit: thinkstock


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania P1 years ago

Yay! A small step

Savanna E
Savanna Egan1 years ago

I'd like to know what's going to be done with the lion cubs that were in their possession and whether any animal abuse charges are going to be pursued against the resort and the lion-breeder they were doing business with.

Christian M
Christian Menges1 years ago

Fantastic. Thank You very much

Misbah Malik
Misbah Malik1 years ago

Let's teach our new generations respect for animals! Thanks

ERIKA S1 years ago

time was here....

Leo C
Leo C1 years ago

Thank you for posting!

Marija M
Marija M1 years ago

Hura for Care2! tks

Kalliope M
Past Member 1 years ago

Thanks for sharing - and I'm also very glad this has stopped now; they should go a step more and support protection of this beautiful animals further - they abused and exploited them for years and now it is time to give something back!

Janis K
Janis K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.