Former Tarzan Arrested, Tigers Taken
LOXAHATCHEE (CBSMiami) – State wildlife workers are removing a pair of tigers and a leopard from the home of a man who once Tarzan in the movies.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they have a warrant to seize the three big cats from Steve Sipek’s Loxahatchee home because his federal permit to keep them had been revoked, according to The Palm Beach Post.
The revocation was issued for a variety of issues ranging from concerns over the cats’ diet to violations concerning the animal’s cages and fences.
In order to have the cats returned, Sipek will have to appeal the decision.
“Mr. Sipek and Ms. (Melanie) Boynes were in violation of federal and state laws that are in place to keep both people and animals safe and healthy,” said Maj. Curtis Brown, leader of the FWC’s Captive Wildlife and Investigations Section. “The FWC removed the animals to protect public safety and to place them in a licensed, healthy and safe facility.”
Sipek was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of a Class 1 animal without a USDA permit and possession of a Class 1 animal as a pet.
Sipek made headlines in 2004, when another of his big cats, Bobo, escaped from the compound. After a 26 manhunt, wildlife officers found and shot the 600 pound tiger.
Sipek, who was born in Croatia, played Tarzan in the Spanish-made film Tarzan in the Golden Grotto.
During the making of a sequel Tarzan and the Brown Prince, a trained lion pulled Sipek from a fire on the set in Rainbow Springs, Florida. After that, Sipek vowed to protect big cats.