Zoological Wildlife Foundation (aka “ZWF Miami”), operated by Tiger King villain Mario Tabraue and his partner, Maria Tabraue, forces numerous species of primates and other animals into cruel photo ops, despite its history of injuries to members of the public. ZWF Miami was one of the last remaining tourist traps in the U.S. using big-cat cubs for distressing photo ops before the Big Cat Public Safety Act made doing so illegal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued Tabraue an official warning—a rare enforcement action taken by the agency—after a guest was bitten by a lion cub during a photo op. And a construction worker’s finger was once even bitten off by a tiger at a facility owned by ZWF Miami.
In 2020, a juvenile chimpanzee named Limbani bit a child, prompting a warning from state authorities for ZWF Miami to end all encounters with the great ape. Since this action, the greedy roadside zoo has shamelessly been trying to profit off Limbani on social media. When it’s not treating him like an Instagram prop, the roadside zoo dumps him into solitary confinement (pictured above), which is devastatingly neglectful to a chimpanzee, who should be living in a large family. In 2021, the USDA cited ZWF Miami for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act when it had no available plan for promoting the psychological well-being of primates.
For this hellhole, callously forcing primates and other animals into cruel photo ops is business as usual. In the late 1980s, Tabraue was found guilty on racketeering charges after he was busted for a drug-smuggling enterprise that used an exotic-animal business as a cover. Now, he’s up front about his scheme to profit from animals’ suffering—by using them for lucrative public encounters.
While Tabraue’s days of running a criminal operation that allegedly stuffed bricks of cocaine into live snakes may be behind him, he hasn’t really changed his stripes since his drug kingpin days—he’s just found new ways to torment animals, including by thrusting them into the arms of strangers for a few clicks on Instagram, all while keeping ZWF Miami’s pockets lined with cash. It’s the epitome of exploitation, and treating animals like props is a form of speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.
Please urge ZWF Miami to end its cruel public encounters and send the animals to reputable facilities where they can live in peace and get the care that they deserve.