Siegfried & Roy’s Last Tigers and Lions Leave Las Vegas for Sanctuaries

Posted on: July 3, 2023, 04:24h. 

Last updated on: July 4, 2023, 12:24h.

The last surviving white tigers and lions belonging to magicians Siegfried & Roy have left Las Vegas. This leaves the Strip without a single exotic cat appearing, performing, or residing there for the first time since 1967.

Siegfried & Roy
Siegfried & Roy perform with one of their white tigers on stage at The Mirage during the heyday of both their magic act and of the acceptability of exploiting wild animals for entertainment purposes. (Image: Shutterstock)

The animals were already relocated by The Mirage, where they had been residing — at least in part — at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden for the past 30 years, to two animal sanctuaries. According to a statement released from The Mirage after the fact, WildCat Ridge Sanctuary in Scotts Mills, Ore. and In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, Tex. were chosen after an “extensive search process.”

The Mirage did not state how many cats were relocated or what specific types of cats were relocated to each sanctuary.

“The facilities chosen for the cats’ forever homes demonstrated the ability to continue the same quality of care with thoughtful attentiveness to the well-being of Siegfried & Roy’s animal family as they have received at The Secret Garden,” the press release stated.

Since Strip resorts don’t alert the media to highly controversial events in which things can go wrong, there were no photographs available of the exotic cats leaving The Mirage in Las Vegas. So asked Bing’s ChatGPT AI to create one. (Image: Bing ChatGPT)

According to The Mirage, both sanctuaries have “deep experience in providing for the long-term care for exotic cats with their experienced animal care teams and excellent facilities that provide a peaceful home to a wide range of wildcats.”

Now They’ve Disappeared for Real

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn were the performers to bring white lions and tigers to the Strip in 1967. So it’s fitting that their big cats were the last to go. You won’t find a big-cat show on The Strip anymore, and you aren’t likely to find them in the future.

Whereas big cat shows and zoos were once seen as an acceptable way to educate the kiddos about wildlife and conservation, public attitudes have changed about the benefits of exploiting animals raised in captivity.

The career-ending attack on Roy Horn by his white tiger, Mantacore, during the duo’s magic show in 2003 served as a defining moment for the world to rethink its position.

Horn died from complications of COVID-19 in 2020. Fischbacher died  the following year from pancreatic cancer.

Hard Rock International, the new owner of The Mirage, permanently closed Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden last year and announced that all its animals would be rehoused.

The departure of the exotic cats follows the departure of the last three dolphins from the property in May to CoralWorld Ocean Park’s Sea Sanctuary at Water Bay in St. Thomas.

PETA Reacts

After today’s relocation news, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals e-mailed the following response.

“Champagne corks are popping at PETA,” said organization spokesperson David Perle. Added Debbie Metzler, the organization’s director of captive animal welfare: “Kind tourists today won’t go anywhere near cruel and archaic animal acts like those from Siegfried & Roy, and these dangerous spectacles have all but done a disappearing act from the Strip.”