Environment

A Brasília animal trafficking ring to rival Netflix’s Tiger King

When a vet student was bitten by a venomous cobra earlier, police uncovered a wide-reaching criminal scheme of raising and selling exotic animals

animal trafficking brazil tiger king
The cobra that unveiled an animal trafficking scheme. Photo: Ivan Mattos/Brasília Zoo

A worldwide hit during Covid-19 isolation, Netflix series Tiger King is a bizarre and immersive depiction of the world of exotic animal enthusiasts in the U.S. The eponymous big cat monarch at the center of the show is Joe Exotic, the eccentric 50-something zoo owner with a love for all things feline. Behind the dramatic — and often ludicrous — twists and turns of the seven-part series, light is cast on the shady illegal market of buying and selling exotic animals. And in Brazil, soon after the Tiger King zeitgeist faded, news of a man being bitten by a...

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