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World Animal Protection’s newest report, Devastating Deals: How Groupon Rakes in Profits from Wild Animal Exploitation, reveals Groupon routinely partners with captive wildlife venues that exploit animals, including some of the cruelest venues in the U.S. With each deal sold, Groupon is fueling the wildlife entertainment industry while taking a cut of the profits.

Below are some examples of venues Groupon has sold to over the last five years. They include roadside zoos, pseudosanctuaries (roadside zoos that brand themselves as sanctuaries or refuges in an attempt to mislead visitors), marine amusement parks, and petting zoos, which offer harmful interactions between visitors and animals and cause immense suffering.

1. Tiger Creek Animal Sanctuary (Texas)

A pseudosanctuary with a history of big cat suffering and deaths. Nine lions and tigers have died at Tiger Creek just since 2018.

2. SeaQuest (National)

A chain of “interactive” aquariums with a litany of federal violations, animal deaths, and human injuries across its locations. Animals have been drowned, kicked, crushed, and burned to death.

3. Zoological Wildlife Foundation (Florida)

A roadside zoo owned by Mario Tabraue of “Tiger King” fame. The facility has chronic animal care violations and offers extensive interactions with big cats and other wild animals.

4. Everglades Outpost Wildlife Rescue (Florida)

A pseudosanctuary that peddles cruel alligator shows and encounters. Visitors pay to hold juvenile alligators with their mouths taped shut, giving the animals no opportunity to retreat

5. Miami Seaquarium (Florida)

A marine amusement park with numerous animal care violations and animal deaths. Miami Seaquarium holds Tokitae, a female orca, without orca companionship in what is reportedly the smallest tank in the world.

6. Endangered Ark Foundation (Oklahoma)

A pseudosanctuary founded by the Carson & Barnes Circus that offers cruel interactions with elephants through the company Oklahoma Awesome Adventures.

7. Suncoast Primate Sancutary (Florida)

A pseudosanctuary where dozens of nonhuman primates are housed in barren cages. Though it portrays itself as a refuge for nonhuman primates, the facility lost its federal license and later rebranded as a sanctuary.

8. Debbie Dolittle’s Indoor Petting Zoo/City Goat Farm & Zoo Inc (Washington)

A petting zoo that offers wild animal interactions, Debbie Dolittle’s has a substantial number of public safety incidents and a history of poor animal care. Malia, a sloth, and a young tamandua both died due to the facility’s ignorance of animal care.

The Bottom Line

The venues listed above are only the tip of the iceberg. Groupon deals are time-limited, meaning venues and offers change constantly. Historically, Groupon has done business with some of the most infamous wildlife exploiters in the country, including G.W. Exotic, the facility owned by Joe Maldonado, aka the Tiger King, as well as multiple circuses that used elephants in dangerous and harmful performances such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

World Animal Protection U.S. and our supporters are urging Groupon to prohibit running deals for venues that offer interactions with wild animals or captive wild animal performances. We’re also urging the company to make this a public policy that encourages transparency and accountability. Join us and help us move Groupon to protect animals, not exploit them.

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