Netflix’s hit documentary series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” introduced the world to the jaw-dropping true story of Joe Exotic, the controversial, now-imprisoned former owner of a private zoo.
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, founder and director of a wildlife preserve known as The Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species, is featured prominently at the beginning of the show. He’s credited with inspiring Exotic’s own work with animals.
He and his son spoke to In The Know for an episode of “My Unconventional Life,” a series that profiles individuals throughout the country who lead quirky lives and celebrates their non-conformity.
Doc Antle touts his son Kody as the “real-life Tarzan.”
“He’s been my sidekick this whole time, and I raised him to be Mowgli [from “The Jungle Book”] — to be a guy that has tiger cubs in his bed, chimpanzees as his best friend, traveling around with our elephant,” he said. “This is the life that he was raised to.”
Kody Antle opened up about his unusual upbringing and hanging out at his dad’s wildlife preserve alongside tigers, lions, chimpanzees and elephants.
“I realized my life was unique because what I wanted and what other kids wanted was so different,” he said. “I always had a deeper connection to animals, and I just wanted to be naked running around with tigers.”
Kody Antle says the bond he shares with the animals he lives with is closer than that of a brother or sister.
“You can make them into this incredible character that they’re going to be when they grow up, so they can be the stars that they really are,” he said.
Doc Antle said his son is unlike anyone else on earth.
“If there is a real-life Tarzan, it is certainly Kody,” he said. “He may be the only person in the world living like this”
Kody Antle said he’s noticed how widely admired his father is — but he’s also noticed how unusual their animal-loving family is compared to “regular people.”
“Feels like we’re from a different planet,” he said.
But Kody Antle certainly does not have a problem with being different.
“Many people don’t have that connection to animals … and that’s all I feel. There’s nothing else left for me. This is where I’ll be for the rest of my life,” he said. “I was born to do this. Born to be Tarzan.”
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