Something the ICARUS group repeatedly talks about is the method of hands off conservation. It is one of the foundation stones of our ideology, which focuses on keeping wild animals wild. No, not every animal that is rescued or saved can be returned to the wild. Many are habituated to humans, and would never survive in their natural environment, and others, tragically, have no environment to even be returned to, were it possible. One reason that the ICARUS group is so vehemently against the handling of wild animals (as usual, excluding the handling necessary to rehabilitation and to medical attentions) is because it is impossible to justify handling in one instance, and condemn it in another. It is also why we so strictly consider only GFAS accredited sanctuaries as being genuine sanctuaries. The public has proven time and again that it is incapable of watching someone handle wild animals, and then refrain from engaging in the same behavior if given the opportunity to do so.
After reading the best article to date calling out Black Jaguar White Tiger, by Jacalyn Beales, I decided to write an ICARUS article on the subject. My articles are not nearly as analytical–though I do research them– and instead my writing contains a more visceral component. One which is intended to set the reader back and make them think about what they’ve just read. Perhaps if several articles are released closely together, we can do better than making page 7-8 on a Google search regarding the failings of the foundation.
Major case in point: The vastly growing empire that is Black Jaguar White Tiger. Within the span of just two years, this foundation has become a world wide phenomenon touted as the leading edge of conservation, endorsed by dozens of celebrities, and monopolizing social media to the point of being able to shut down sites like Instagram just with the traffic associated with their account. If you Google the foundation including words like ‘abuse’ or ‘criticism’ or ‘controversy’ be prepared to flip an average of 7-8 pages over through your search before you find any article that actually contains legitimate criticisms about the foundation, rather than bait and switch wittily worded endorsements of it. Instead, what you’ll find is a “sanctuary” which only meets the barest minimums required by Mexican law.
The terrifying part of all this support and lavish praise? It’s all in regard to a man who raises lion cubs in his walk-in closet and allows them to run rampant inside his house. No, I haven’t accidentally started talking about Siegfried and Roy, I haven’t accidentally referred to a retired circus performer who hoards ‘rescued’ big cats in his central Texas cape cod home. I’m not being sarcastic, or overly dramatic.
Eduardo Serio, the owner and founder of Black Jaguar White Tiger keeps newborn big cat cubs in his walk in closet so that they can receive ‘around the clock care’ from him personally. Once they’re a few weeks old, they move from the closet into a ‘communal area’ in the main section of the house wherein they’re all fed together–something that can often result in dangerous fighting, and even mortal wounds in larger animals. Eduardo talks candidly about his grossly incorrect handling of his animals, and shockingly, the public hangs on his every word. In fact, people pine for the chance to visit the foundation and join in the glorified mishandling.
A master of selling ideas, Eduardo runs multiple social media accounts followed by millions of people all over the world and they worship him for his exploits.
I mentioned the other day to someone that my personal house cat, Ari, who is dealing with end stage heart failure, now sometimes has trouble making it to the litter box. The person wrinkled their nose in disgust and suggested that it was ‘probably time to put him down, then, because he could live comfortably for months, yet, and think of the mess.’
However, Eduardo posted this video with the caption ‘And of course, Ayrton’s signature pee on my wall…’ and within two weeks, it’s received 64,500 likes. Aytron is a wild animal trapped inside a house spraying on walls–repeatedly, and everywhere–to mark his territory, and in 14 days 64,500 people have liked the video and inundated it with comments like ‘That boy is so spoiled.’
Spoiled indeed. As well as continually mishandled.
Similarly, in the summer of 2015 Dade City Wild Things came under severe fire (and rightly so) for allowing guests to swim with tiger cubs. Meanwhile, Eduardo posts videos like this and is rewarded with 30,500 subscribers to his YouTube channel. Often, his commenters compliment his “sanctuary” without realizing that it’s not actually an accredited GFAS sanctuary because of how he houses and exploits his animals.
Article after article after article lavishes praise on Eduardo and his Black Jaguar White Tiger foundation, all of them overlooking the simple basic failings of the situation. This article, dated in May of 2015 states that Eduardo has purchased 100 acres to house his growing group of rescues. However, this article, dated October of 2015 states that ‘Stage 3’ of Eduardo’s ‘rehabilitation program’ is ‘in the making’ and will eventually offer ‘thousands of acres’ for the cats. This same article lists ‘Stage 2’ as 8 acres where the older animals can run and play. This article also mentions that ‘Stage 3’ is ‘in the works’. But it also states that Black Jaguar White Tiger currently has 152 big cats in its care.
On 8 acres.
You can’t properly care for 8 horses on 8 acres, never mind 152 wild big cats. Every article I have cited, thus far, was published in 2015 and according to these articles the number of animals in Eduardo’s care varies (and let me remind you, Eduardo himself is giving these interviews) from 45 animals, to 152 animals. Meanwhile, Black Jaguar White Lion’s own website claims to have rescued and be houses 180+ animals. On, let me repeat this one more time, 8 acres. And one house.
If I told you that an Arizona housewife living on 8 acres had 180 house cats, you’d suggest I call animal control because she couldn’t possibly care for all of them properly. Even if she had help, there just isn’t room in one house and 8 acres for 180 house cats. But Black Jaguar White Tiger claims to be ‘rescuing and properly caring for’ over 180 200-500+pound exotic cats, inside a house that’s lived in by humans, and with just 8 acres of land. Yet, the praise and hero-worship continues in articles like this.
Aside from Jacalyn’s article, I was able to find only one other article (I did not include articles I’ve written for ICARUS) that cited the problems and misplaced trust in Black Jaguar White Tiger.
‘What if someone told you that animals treat us as equal as long as you give them love?’
‘And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.’
Both of these are inspirational quotes, provoking a deep reaction of unity with the world around us.
The first one is a summary of Eduardo Serio’s beliefs about big cats, taken from an article that goes on to wax poetic about the kindnesses he’s done for the 180+ animals crammed on 8 acres and how love is the end all when it comes to helping animals. The article ends with this purple prose humdinger: ‘All you need is a few minutes on the Black Jaguar, White Tiger Instagram account to feel like a better person. Eduardo and his team share moments of love, between feline and human, that we never thought were possible. He shares the stories of each lion, tiger or jaguar that lives in the organization, showing us time and time again that all is possible with love.’ And, of course, there’s a link for donations!
That second quote, such a mirror image to the first in proclaiming that we’re all one and the same with love? Yeah, that’s from one of Jim Jones’s sermons. If you’re under the age of about 35, you’re going to have to Google Jim Jones. I’ll save you some time and put in a link here. But if you don’t want to even bother with that, I’ll give you the high points.
Jim Jones was a preacher who did something no other church in his time (mid 70s) had done. He ran a church wherein everyone–literally everyone–was equal. I’m talking black, white, illegal immigrants, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transexual. Everyone was welcome and seen as equal in the People’s Church. The entire point of Jim’s ideals were that we were all the same inside, just like Eduardo claims we’re all the same. It was great. Up until Jim Jones lost his shit and orchestrated the largest mass suicide you’ve probably never heard of. 914 died that day, 5 of them shot to death as they tried to escape via airplane to warn the government of what was happening. 909 people died because they drank the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid Jim Jones told them to drink.
I can almost hear your eyeballs rolling around in your head now–those of you who support Black Jaguar White Tiger, anyway. You’re thinking ‘How could 909 people be so stupid as to listen to one guy telling them to kill themselves?’ Meanwhile Eduardo’s supporters are sharing the photos and videos and every other social media shareable thing of a man who has anywhere from 45-180+ captive big cats crammed onto 8 acres of land the location of which is a closely guarded secret. They might as well be giving money to the government to help feed the aliens living at Area 51. They’ve got the same level of proof that the cats in Eduardo’s care are alive and well as they do that aliens are hiding at Area 51.
This is the danger of social media in 2016. If enough people–especially wealthy, celebrities– say something, then it must be true. So a few dozen celebrities have gone down there to Black Jaguar White Tiger. *If* they saw abuse, how many of them do you think are going to come back up here and announce that a man who basically owns Instagram, among other social media outlets, is a liar and fraud? Do you really think these celebrities are going to ruin their careers over this? How many celebrities have kept silent for decades about sexual assaults or worse because the perpetrators were people in high places who could ruin their careers?
It’s up to us as individuals to not get sucked into the social media frenzy. Think of Instagram as the supermarket tabloid of the internet. Not everything you see on the cover is the truth. Now go read Jacalyn’s article again, and think twice about sharing that oh-so-adorbs photo of what’s-her-fabulous-face cuddling a baby lion or tiger at Black Jaguar White Tiger.
26 thoughts on “Black Jaguar White Tiger, The Jim Jones of The Conservation World”
Another great, well-explained article. It’s scary how true it is, too. BJWT turns against their faithful followers with such hate it’s incredible anyone even buys their excuses anymore. Even their followers are unbelievably vile when someone mentions the huge amount of flaws this foundation has.
Thank you for this article! The more exposure, the better!
Exactly, Tanja. This is also precisely the reason why we say “hands off” and bring Kevin Richardson to task. How is the average person going to be able to see the difference. If it’s ok for one, why not the other? They both claim to be the next big cat messiah. The bottom line is that we can not muddy the waters of conservation. There are standards for a reason. Every time Richardson says ” people know they are not me, that they don’t have the “bond” I do” I have to roll my eyes. 1) because that’s ridiculous and 2) because it gives charlatans like Eddie a platform to stand on and spread his lies.
I absolutely love the comparison between Jim Jones and Eduardo Serio. It was spot on! His followers/groupies/minions blind faith makes me worry about the world in general. I can feel an overdose of Kool-Aid is in the near future for all of them.
Thank you so much for your piece on this deranged madman. It is about time many of us speak up. I particularly liked your comparison to Jim Jones because it depicts exactly how this Pimp of Mexico is able to fool and mesmerize is brainless minions to accept his unethical antics. Thank you so so much. Please don’t take your eyes of him……..
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Eduardo Serio is the perfect storm of narcissism and ignorance. Tragically, the animals are paying with their lives for his megalomania. Tragically, Sr Serio is ensuring the prosperity of big-cat breeders and roadside photo-cub concessions that supply breeders with cubs who’ve outgrown “cute.” He is perpetuating the cycle of cruelty and exploitation that genuine animal lovers are fighting to stop.
This is an accident waiting to happen. Newsflasild animals belong….IN THE WILD.
brillIant comparison. have you caught his latest posts “responding”, if you can call it that, to his “haters” in his vague manner that the Mexican government supports him. he even tagged their Instagram accounts which look like something Eddie or his followers made themselves.
this group relentlessly harasses me and my family and friends because I critiqued his practices on Instagram. they posted pictures of my friends, as a call for other fanatics to harass them and even threatened legal action. they’re a very scary cult which encourages animal abuse and I’m so comforted to know other people feel this way. this behavior has to come from the top down. it’s sad that it’s going to take someone being hurt or killed for the whole thing to get shut down.
Unfortunately, the ICARUS team knows exactly what it feels like to be targeted by BJWT followers. But we will continue our efforts in shedding light onto the true nature of this pseudo-sanctuary.
Eduardo Serio is involved with mexican drug lords and corrupt politicians, just investigate a bit and you will find the scary truth !!
I have been investigating and can not find anything relating to this, where are you ginding this information?
Actually, it’s not just “interesting” that Jacalyn’s article has disappeared, it’s a prime example of how Eduardo Serio reacts to anything and anyone who legitimately questions what he’s doing. At the time that Jacalyn’s article was published, BJWT was NOT a 501(c)3 company. However, after her article was shared, Eddie flipped out threw a public tantrum and threatened her with legal action, literally threatening her until she had little choice to remove her article. Meanwhile, as he was acting like an asshole publicly, Serio managed to file for 501(c) status and subsequently post the paperwork in an attempt to show that he was, in fact registered. However, the dates on the paperwork are LATER than the publication of Jacalyn’s article, proving that she was correct, and in no way lied. We mention that fact here: Cubs Cubs Everywhere, And With Them Oh The Funds We’ll Snare – The I.C.A.R.U.S. Foundation
This is stereotypical Serio, threatening others while going behind the scenes and changing his own foundation in an attempt to seem more legitimate.
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I commented on a video on an animal video account of Eduardo incorrectly bottle feeding a lion cub while three other cubs climbed all over and chewed on him. I mentioned how I didn’t like bjwt and gave reasons why, invited others to research about him before crooning over his actions. I was not surprised when one of Eduardo’s friends immediately jumped to his defense, called me a moronic imbecile, and invited her friends to gang up on me. One of these friends has 64k followers and works at bjwt. Another was bjwt itself. Only two of those people actually responded to me, the one with 64k followers and some other guy. That they actually take the time to attack anyone who criticizes bjwt astounds me. Anyway, they of course told me not to believe what “unaccredited journalists” say, and that “Eddie” doesn’t “rescue” these animals for anyone’s approval. I said that I didn’t just go off what articles say, that I get a negative vibe in general from the foundation. Then the one with 64k mentioned to the original lady who attacked me that trolls are so quick to criticize but yet have never cared for or rescued an animal in their life. I just had to laugh at that, because I am hoping to be a vet and volunteer at a shelter. Fast forward a little, the original lady who attacked me told me that he only blocks idiots in order to maintain his page, and wished me well in my pursuit of being a vet and to “learn from this and prove them wrong”. I replied that if by idiots she means he blocks anyone who criticizes him for anything then yeah. I thanked her for her well wishes and told her to have a good night. Honestly, the whole time this was going on I was laughing because I knew that there was no way they would ever take the criticisms to heart. Just one way bjwt is extremely unprofessional and to me it only exemplifies how shady this foundation is.
Okay honestly where do you want these unwanted, abused animals to go? I would much rather have a BJWT organization be able to take them in and offer them safety and love than have them paraded in circuses or used as photo opportunities. Yes in a perfect world animals would be living happily and free in their natural habitats but unfortunately for them humankind is making sure we whittle away their homes for our golf courses and resorts and their skins for grotesque coats and their body parts for sad sad souvenirs. Personally I couldn’t care less about whether or not corrupt politicians or drug lords are helping with funds, about time they used their money for something good is all I can say. As for Jacalyn Beales, she is someone who has a bee in her bonnet with respect to BJWT and will never have a decent thing to say about this organization. I wish that as humans we would leave animals at peace but until that day comes if there are a few individuals out there with the ability to give these animals some sort of life then I stand with them. If these animals can’t be rehabilitated would you rather have them euthanized? This is not a man who is taking this lightly. He works with the proper authorities. He has vets care for these animals daily and you make it sound like he lives in an apartment. His stages for these animals are large and growing larger. He is doing it as quickly as he can in the most legal way so have some patience. Your comparison to Jim Jones………sickest thing I’ve heard of. By referring to BJWT and the People’s Temple Cult you destroyed any credibility you MIGHT have had.
Honestly? We’d like the animals of BJWT to go to a legitimate sanctuary where they’re allowed to live in settings which replicate nature as closely as possible without human interaction or being forced to perform for videos and photos. Yes, forced to perform. You’re description of “unwanted and abused” is somewhat of a stretch. Serio claims that every animals at BJWT has been “rescued” from various places, but Serio also regularly changes his own stories, sometimes telling entirely different stories, and there is little proof of where any of the animals came from. The fact that the large majority of them arrive as extremely young cubs points more toward buying them from breeders than of rescuing them, especially because in the exotic animal trade, the cubs hold the most value. Serio himself bought the first three animals he ever had. Of course, in his very early Instagram posts, he presented Cielo as the pet he’d purchased her to be, but by now, his story of attaining Cielo reads like a dime store action book, with him sweeping in and saving her from certain death. In a recent post, he discussed Voltan and how “each fang” was going to be sold for $500 US, and how the lion’s hide was going to be sold for $5,000 US, but Serio talked the sellers out of doing it, and rescued the lion. Inside sources participating in Mexican conservation confirm that Zoltan is a former circus cat, relinquished when the ban went into effect. Not only that, but the first time Serio tried to pass the lion off as a rescue, he stated only the cat’s teeth were being sold, and all of them for a total of $700 US. These are not small details, they’re different lies being told about the cats.
Supporter of BJWT consistently fail to grasp the fact that Serio himself, uses all of his animals as photography props on a daily basis, including inviting guests (and many more than the “handful” he claims) to hold the cubs and play with them. Until one of our early articles, coming and playing the cubs was actually listed on the BJWT as a “reward” for a certain monetary donation. This is, literally, cub petting. So you see, these animals are being used, on a daily basis for photo opportunities. And beneath every post, you’ll see dozens of comments by fans stating how their goal in life is to do exactly what Serio is doing–hold, pet, and play with captive big cats. This does nothing for conservation, and instead damages it.
As for Jacalyn Beales, I’m not really sure why you even mention her. She wrote two very excellent (and completely vetted and factual) articles which she subsequently chose to remove after Serio pitched one of the most immature and ridiculous temper tantrums (on social media, like a child, I might add) and since then, Jacalyn has made no public comment on BJWT at all. So while you’re entitled to think whatever you want about Ms. Beales, it’s completely irrelevant to your comment here.
The idea that Serio doesn’t take what he does lightly, is both misplaced, and outright absurd. The only thing Serio takes “seriously” is his empire of social media stardom. He literally lists having 6 million followers as “proof” that BJWT is a legitimate sanctuary. That’s like saying that a well loved foot ball player who has a huge fan following is somehow guaranteed to be a good player. It simply isn’t true. There are excellent sanctuaries which don’t even participate in social media. How many other conservation groups, rescues, sanctuaries, scientific foundations, and the like do you see standing up and supporting BJWT? None. The only “names” Serio has are celebrities who don’t know anything about conservation, but who visit BWTJ and play with the cubs. The vets Serio keeps on staff have run the gamut from plastic surgeons to bird specialist, but no one specializing in big cats. You say he works with the proper authorities, which is true. However, these same authorities are so corrupt, that they’ve been called out by International conservation groups, and condemned for allowing the continued trade of animals on the black market. In the same vein, Serio’s own foundation is not a sanctuary, as his claims but a legally registered zoo, licensed both to breed and use animals for public entertainment. And no, Serio doesn’t live in an apartment. He’s wealthy enough to have two residences in Mexico. He has not, however, been able to afford “Stage 3” despite promising that “Stage 3” has been “in the works” for the last three years.
My comparison to Jim Jones is spot on. You don’t have to like the analogy, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate. The fact that you came here and left a long comment, that you clearly have not done any independent research on, but rather have pulled all of your information directly from BJWT social media platforms only validates the comparison to the People’s Temple. BJWT followers and fans could find most of the information in my articles on their own if they simply researched the facts. But all they do is repeat what Serio has stated, insisting that the information is “fact” even when Serio changes these “facts” right in front of his followers.
beautifully written response 👍
I don’t support or vilify Serio but I will take a moment to say that your comparison of him & the 900+ people that died at his behest is absolutely insane. If you want to write convincing argument you can’t compare a guy whos rescuing cats (in a good or bad way, im not saying which, I don’t know) to someone that moved to the jungle & killed almost a thousand people just because they both believe in the “power of love conquering all”. I’m paraphrasing there, but that’s the jist of what you say unites these 2. That’s a very broad & general belief that many people have had or believe in. It doesnt make them similar. I really just don’t know what else to say, I mean your completely minimizing the deaths of 900 people by saying some big cat rescue guy is just like an insane religious leader
What’s the only thing 2 animal rescue organizers can agree on?…. That the 3rd one is doing it wrong
My mom’s a vet and all of my animals growing up & all but one of my animals in adulthood have come from rescue organizations. I’ve volunteered at shelters & big dog rescues & if there’s one thing I can fully endorse it’s that 99% of the people who run them are bat crap bonkers. They always think the other guy isn’t doing ethically or he’s in it for the wrong reasons or he doesn’t screen people enough, he feeds his dogs too much, he feeds them too little, he spends too much on dog food, he spends too little on dog food, he solicits too much funds, u get the point. Unless this guy is hurting the cats, making them emotionally or mentally distressed, he’s buying from breeders & therefore promoting the big cat trade or allowing cats to breed on his property, then who cares if he takes too many pictures of them? Who cares if he posts 5 times a day. And he doesn’t own Instagram, he’s got 6m followers, that’s not even top 1000, so grow up & stop exaggerating, it’s another reason u invalidate ur own argument because u say dumb subjective stuff like that. “He owns Instagram”, He’s just a little fish compared to others.
Like I said, I don’t know enough to fully support him & I don’t see enough evidence to vilify him. But give me proof that he’s doing any one of those 5things I mentioned and I’ll be the first to say he should give his cats up. But just cause he’s not running his organization exactly how you would doesn’t mean it’s bad. As long as his cats are healthy both mentally, physically & emotionally, then who cares about all the extraneous stuff.
And I just read in a vanity Fair or vogue article he literally just bought an entire litter of Cubs from a breeder. But that’s only to prevent them from being sold into a bad situation. Smh, dude, ur a moron. U buy these from the guy & it just finances his next litter of cubs, my guess is he’ll even call serio & be like “hey, u wanna rescue another half dozen cubs? U can rescue at good price. Rescue 5 & the 6th is rescued for free”
I have been a BJWT follower for years then I saw Eddie had his own IG account and realised the man he truly is … says alot about a man by his compassion for others. My sensores went off when people critisied him for letting the Kardashians visit while wearing clothing made from animal skin and his fierce defense of them … then the not mentioning certain cubs and very suspicious deaths …. Even his so call advocacy of animals when he blatantly ignores certain problems …. Then the polictics thing today really kicked me off .. Spearding false news about a country you don’t live in and showing no compassion for the Middle East crisis got lots of ua blocked obviously now we know our gut was right and he is fake a bigot and a very dangerous narcissist Im gutted that Lewis Hamilition is so involved in this foundation but that def says something. I hope more people wake up to his lies … thank God I have never despite wanting to alots of times … donated to this mess … Great article …
what’d he do now!? he blocked me back like a year ago for asking why he and his following thought it was hilarious that wolf pup he had had managed to eat a couch and that that could cause serious health issues. then, after he claims Karma died from chewing on wood, why was he letting that litter of white lion cubs and all the others he’d “rescued” live in his closest and chew up all the treated wood shelving.
Thank you soooooo much for this article! Similar experience on IG when I merely stated that these animals should be free entirely if even for a short while and without fences one of his videos is playing with lions, and was immediately dismissed with a comment that sounded like I was ignorant. I have had a sinister feeling about him from the beginning and have recently begun to not agree with ANY of it. I understand the rehabilitation concept, however containing them furthers their inability to even try and thrive in the wilderness, especially for cubs. The goal is to reintroduce these poor animals back into nature where they belong at some point, not breed them in there which I also had not even considered until researching. Definitely need a better alternative to this “organization”!
What can we do to stop this organization from further endangering these animals? All I’ve been able to find is a closed change.org petition.
It’s a very long, and arduous task. There are numerous ongoing investigations into BJWT and Eduardo Serio. The problem is, in part, because he’s so marketable, and he has so many contacts within government agencies and the Hollywood elite. It will happen, though. It’s just a matter of time.
I just learned about this organisation today on Facebook. My first impression was that there is something wrong and I started searching to find more about it. I think the most shocking is, that so many people are so uncritical they just don’t think. That shows how easy people can be manipulated and I also saw at the comments that they really defend him with claws and teeth if somebody says something negative – that is really frightening! I saw a video with those wild cats in enclosures too little and with nothing in it. Too many babies how can that be (and they will all become adults!)? No pictures of rescues he says he is doing? Photos with the animals (as it should really be known now that it is animal abuse),
Your article has confirmed my concern…