It’s All In How You Put On The Show

A month ago, I wrote an article for ICARUS about Eduardo Serio and his newest “rescue” a horribly damaged tiger cub he named Achilles. I have since gone back and added numerous addendums to the article linking to videos as posted by Serio. In my original article I stated that no rational vet would have suggested pursuing treatment in a cub that had 10 fractures throughout all four limbs, as well as other fractures, calcium deficiencies and spinal problems.

Let me be clear, at no point in my first article did I say that the cub should be euthanized because it would not live. The reason I said that euthanasia was the more responsible choice (and that is presuming that the cub actually had all of the injuries and issues Serio claimed that it had) is because should it survive, it would suffer from constant pain, would not live a natural lifespan, and would never have what the ICARUS team considered to be a “quality of life”. Just as the ICARUS team believes in hands off conservation, we also believe that the quality of a rescued animal’s life is of utmost importance.

There are times where an elderly long-suffering animal is rescued, and GFAS accredited sanctuaries have the chance to provide for that animal and give it a comfortable existence until the end of its life-which often comes much sooner than the animal deserved. However, in cases where a young animal is facing a lifetime of suffering, along with insurmountable defects or conditions caused by malnourishment, or injuries, we believe that it is the job of the rescuer to make the decision which will bring the most peace and comfort to that animal, not the decision which will drum up the most publicity. Yes, there are horrible cases in which an animal might make a full recovery. There are also cases in which the animal will never have a normal life, or even a comfortable one, and in those cases it is self-serving for a rescuer to keep that animal alive simply so they can say that they rescued it.

In the case of Achilles, Eduardo Serio has intentionally used the sleight of hand he’s known for with his “miracle” recoveries, acting not in the best interest of the animal, but in whatever manner will make him look like a savior able to heal anything “through love and positive thoughts”.

When Serio first posted photos of Achilles 5 weeks ago “just after his arrival” Achilles appeared to be about 2 months old. In the most recent videos wherein Serio and his followers are proclaiming Achilles’ “miracle recovery” and ability to “walk” the tiger cub looks–at least in body–to be approximately 6 months old. Achilles’ head, however, seems abnormally large for his body. This could mean that he’s actually even older than 6 months, and that his body is so shriveled due to lack of nutrition early on that it’s permanently stunted.

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We can’t know for sure, and details like that are brushed aside by Serio as inconsequential, and anyone who tries to find them out is labeled as a “hater” and blocked from his accounts. But nonetheless, something does not fit with Serio’s timeline of Achilles arriving, and only 5 weeks later appearing 4 months larger and older. Again, we can’t know the cub’s true age, because it’s something Serio doesn’t consistently admit to. It is just one more coin under the cups he constantly shuffles, revealing only what he wants the public to know. Serio’s lack of accountability is something well documented, and pointed out by others, like Jacalyn Beales.

By and large, the fact that Achilles can perform a sort of shuffle-limp-walk for several yards before collapsing has been lauded as a “miracle” by Serio’s followers, and accepted as proof that Serio can cure the ravaged with only the power of his love. The fact is, animals are indomitable in their drive to find some way of functioning, no matter how much pain it takes to do so. I have personally witnessed, during my years in the field, animals–both wild and domestic–walking on stumps of bone, functioning while missing entire portions of their skulls, with multiple broken bones, and with entire lower jaws blown off by shotgun blasts. These animals lived, sometimes, for years, with these catastrophic injuries, and without the aid of human intervention. The mere fact that Achilles is capable of attaining a walk-like gait for a few yards, or that he can slither-crawl onto a low mattress, does not indicate that he’s no longer in pain. Just as the fact that the cub has “been under the care of a veterinarian” does not indicate that he’s being treated by a vet who specializes in big cats, instead of one who specializes in, say, exotic birds.

While Serio’s followers are elated to see these videos, the ICARUS team aches inside, knowing all too well what sort of future problems Achilles is still facing. Problems he’ll have no choice but to suffer through as Serio continues to tout him as evidence of his own superiority. Unlike a proper tiger’s conformation–with prominent shoulders, vertical, straight, forelegs, a long flat back, powerful haunches, and well angled hind legs–

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Achilles’ forelegs lack muscle development, his right foreleg sports visible deformities to the bones, and that foot turns under unnaturally, his back is prominently bowed in the center, and never flattens in a smooth line as it should, his hind legs show visible atrophy of the musculature and are extremely sickle-hocked, and he walks in a hunched manner, on his heels, rather than up on his toes as he should.

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This motion puts strain not only on all of his joints, but also on all of the connective tissues. The more Achilles moves in this fashion–and he likely can’t move any other way, due to his injuries and deficiencies–the more his muscles will develop incorrectly, and the more permanent these deformities will become. These are not things which can be corrected by love, no matter how much of it you give to him. He will continue to grow heavier–eventually reaching 500-700 pounds, and his own weight will continue to crush the deformed bones that are barely–infrequently–able to support the weight of a cub.

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In his first posts about Achilles, Serio mentioned multiple times that the cub had pins which had been incorrectly placed in his hind legs, pins which were causing some of his problems. He stated more than once that “in about 10 days” Achilles would go into surgery to remove the pins, as they were causing more harm than good. 5 weeks on, and no mention of any surgery has been made. We don’t know if the surgery has happened, if it’s not needed, if it’s still going to happen. All that Serio is talking about is how he “cried like a baby” when Achilles first did his walk-shuffle, and how his follows should continue to “think blue” and help heal the tiger cub. Again, the lack of transparency with Serio’s “rescues” and how they receive treatment raises more questions than it offers answers. To be honest, we don’t even know that Achilles actually had all of the fractures and problems that Serio said he had. It would not surprise me if some of the problems had been fabricated simply to make the “recovery” seem more miraculous. After all, the fact that Serio publicly lies, is something I’ve discussed before. The point is, scientific details aren’t something Serio cares about, and since BJWT isn’t accredited by GFAS, it’s not something they’re required to care about.

What Serio cares about is looking like a hero.

We will never know if Achilles has actually been at BJWT for months unable to walk, before Serio first posted videos of him, whether Serio waited to make sure the cub would live before revealing him to the public as if he’d just arrived, or whether Serio overplayed what was actually wrong with the cub, just so he could later defend himself against “haters” like us, and “prove” that his love could heal an animal not actually that badly injured. The unanswered questions about Achilles’ injuries and physical inconsistencies seen between the much younger looking animal in the first videos, and the much older looking one we see now, are just more shadows over the pseudo-sanctuary Serio takes such extreme pride in.

Achilles’ future looks no brighter. The best case scenario is that he’ll live for a while, dragging himself through Serio’s videos and acting as a poster child for a man who swears he can heal the sick and injured just by loving them (or perhaps “recover” completely because in truth his issues did not involve permanent bone damage) at the worst, he’ll disappear from BJWT’s social media accounts, just as numerous other cubs have.

The only sure thing about Achilles, is that we’ll never really know the truth about him.

We’ll only know what Serio wants us to think.

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I decided to come back and put an addendum on this post, as Serio just put up a new video on Instagram wherein “The Starving Union” as he dubs them, “visits” Achilles while he’s eating. Our problem with Serio’s feeding situations aside, this offered a prime comparison between Achilles, who seems so much larger than his portrayed age would suggest, and two cubs who are approximately 5-6 months old, as per their appearance and introduction on Instagram by Serio. Shortly after Khloe Kardashian’s prominent visit to BJWT (wherein she learned all about the plight of wild lions and tigers, by bottle feeding and lying on the floor with newborn cubs) back in mid October of 2015, several new cubs appeared, and one was named after her. That would make the tiger cub in this photo, Khloe, between 5-6 months old. Yet she and the Sonny, the lion cub are dwarfed by Achilles, who is actually, according to the presentation on Instagram, supposedly younger than the other two. More questions without any answers. This is one of the ways in which cubs are shuffled and disappear, at BJWT, because ages are a never given, and thus cubs seem to come and go without being able to track their growth or lifespan. Again, something that’s enabled by the lack of GFAS accreditation.

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6 thoughts on “It’s All In How You Put On The Show

  1. When I found my adopted kitten from a ditch on my way back home one beautiful day, her hip was broken. She was limping and her leg was twisted, yet she insisted walking around and following us. She didn’t cry or complain; she was determined to move around even when she was in horrible pain. That’s how animals are. Just because they “walk” (in this case you can’t really call Achilles’ movements “walking”) it doesn’t mean they don’t feel any pain anymore. ANY certified vet could tell you that and that’s what my vet told me. I had to keep my cat in a ridiculously small bird cage for one whole MONTH to prevent her from moving too much. That way her bones healed and now she’s back to normal. Achilles is trying to crawl around, but that’s as far from “being cured” as it could possibly get. That’s what my kitten looked like when her hip was shattered. That’s what she was like BEFORE her treatment. It sickens me how blind BJWT’s supporters can be. Anyone with the slightest amount of common sense can see this animal is suffering. PLEASE send him to a proper sanctuary so he can get REAL medical attention! In fact, please send every single one of the cats away from that horrible place and the people who don’t have any idea what they’re doing!

    Please sign and share this petition!
    https://www.change.org/p/black-jaguar-white-tiger-foundation-send-achilles-to-a-real-sanctuary-with-real-vets?recruiter=28473386&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-share_petition-no_msg&fb_ref=Default

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  2. Denine Mishoe

    Dear God, can’t anyone get this poor cub, Achilles, away from this egotistical maniac!!? I can hardly watch the videos of him trying to walk, knowing what pain it is costing him! I can only imagine what they use to prompt him to walk across the room… perhaps he doesn’t eat until he walks to it… Dear God PLEASE SOMEONE get this baby out of there and to a real certified vet hospital!!!

    Isn’t there government officials in Mexico that would listen if shown all these posts?! You would have to be a simpleton to not see what pain and torture is going on here with this poor baby tiger… it breaks my heart!!

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    1. We couldn’t agree more on how urgent it is to have Achilles properly attended by a big cat specialist, Denine. Check out the petition below (as well as the next article ICARUS is going to post tonight) and share both with all of your friends. If we work together, just maybe we can make a difference.

      https://www.change.org/p/black-jaguar-white-tiger-foundation-send-achilles-to-a-real-sanctuary-with-real-vets?recruiter=534466016&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

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  3. Especially that first video he put up of Achilles “walking” with that techno music, that was so corny and egotistical of Serio..Taking 2 steps and laying down is not walking smh sad. At first I supported his movement but realized right away that if you dont kiss up to him he will lash out if if question him. That kind of behavior is one who abuses drugs and he admitted to taking painkillers just to go to stage 2 last week otherwise he would have stayed in bed. That means he has an addictive personality.

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  4. jack

    You guys love trash talking, but don’t have proof. Achilles looks like he’s doing great now, why is that all the animals don’t try to kill him? Is it not important for him to be able to get donations from people with money aka celebrities? Have you ever gone through physical therapy? They don’t just shoot you up with drugs and tell you to rest, because you get muscle atrophy. Second of all if no pressure is applied to bones guess what happens… they get weaker. You might know that if you had an education that didn’t revolve around pseudo-communication.

    I’m not gonna go ahead and start name calling, because i’m not opposed to the fact that i could be wrong. But if you’re going to say something you better have evidence, just looks like you want traffic to your site. P.S. everyone knows big cat rescue is pure exploitation. not sure why i’m even bothering with you.

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    1. Hello, Jack.

      We don’t trash talk here, we simply point out facts–often facts which have been taken verbatim from the sources we’re discussing. That said, I’ll try to address your concerns, and misconceptions.

      Proof. We have the evidence provided by both hands-on experience, along with the videos and photos posted by BJWT themselves. Achilles is more mobile than he was when he first arrived. That said, he still walks in a very hunched fashion, is still unable to stand “on his toes” like a normal tiger, and he remains weak. While he’s often shown running, no one seems to notice that he runs only a short distance, and then immediately lies down. He is is not “cured” as Serio claims, and in fact remains grossly undersized for his supposed age, something that the other cats pick up on every time Serio tries to introduce him, and why they have to continually be separated.

      Your second sentence is somewhat garbled, but I think you’re referring to the the fact that Serio has never been mauled (that we know of). Siegfried and Roy worked for decades without their tigers trying to kill them. Until one day something went wrong. Just because an animal hasn’t “tired to kill” Serio does not mean that what he’s doing isn’t dangerous, or that they might not do so. In addition, several videos posted by BJWT (and quickly deleted) showed what appeared to men holding assault type rifles around the perimeters of the enclosures, indicating that Serio understands exactly how dangerous his “angels” can be.

      Donations. Yes, donations are important. However, in Serio’s own recent words he has “unlimited money” with which he’ll sue those who speak out against him. In addition, he has an entire line of merchandise, an app, multiple donation pages, and according to at least several commenters, monthly donations equally hundreds or thousands of dollars. When you consider that he’s got 5.4 million followers, he could easily be bringing in millions a year in donations, which are never disclosed to the public. Not to mention supporters like those who “power” the foundation on social media, etc. Donations are important, but you don’t need to invite high profile guests onto your property and allow them to play with the animals, nor do you need to post dozens of videos a day of yourself playing with them.

      Rehab. All of us at ICARUS have gone through rehab personally, and we’ve aided multiple large animals in going through rehab. I’m not sure where you’re going with the rest of that, because we’ve never asserted that any animal be “shot up with drugs and told to rest” as you’re implying. We do all have excellent educations, thank you. Those educations allow us to see through the pseudo-communication of Eduardo Serio, who does not answer direct questions, and thrives off of providing misinformation, rather than scientific information, to his masses of followers.

      I’m glad you haven’t called anyone names, and that you’re willing to admit that you might be wrong. As for evidence, I’m not sure how much more “evidence” you’d like. We use direct quotes from Serio, comparing them with known scientific facts, as well has comparing his own answers to questions when he’s offered contradicting information. When you’re dealing with an institute that regularly and repetitively lies–and is often caught in those lies, “evidence” is something we work very hard to attain.

      Finally, as I have done with so many others who obviously have not actually read our material, I’ll inform you that we are in no way affiliated with Big Cat Rescue. Serio continues to imply that we are somehow connected and this simply is not true.

      I will go so far as to defend BCR here, though, because the idea that they “exploit” their animals is laughable. Yes, visitors can pay a fee and take a guided tour–in which they might not even get to see a cat because the cats are not displayed for the public. BCR does not, however, invite celebrities to come pet and play with young cubs, take incredibly young cubs onto live television, post multiple videos a day on social media portraying people playing with and holding big cats and big cat cubs, buy cubs from breeders and private zoos, or offer contests in which the winners get to come visit and play with big cat cubs. BJWT has done all of the latter, Serio has admitted it himself in his own videos.

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