Former 'Tarzan' actor Steve Sipek loses a leopard, two tigers in FWC raid

Sipek's Loxahatchee home raided Monday

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - The man who once portrayed 'Tarzan: King of the Jungle' is without his real-life wild animal pets. Two tigers and a leopard were removed from the Loxahatchee home of Steve Sipek on Monday. Authorities said the former actor did not have the appropriate permits to house such animals - at least for now.

Sipek is already planning to appeal to get his animals back. He is speaking with a lawyer and a petition has been started online on his behalf.

Gates and walls surround Sipek's home in the 3300 block of C Road in Loxahatchee. Inside, Sipek says, part of his 'family' is now gone after a raid by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

"They came and took my animals away from me," Sipek said while crying.

Three of Sipek's big cats - two tigers, Bo and Lepa, and a leopard, Oko - were hauled off by wildlife officials Monday. Sipek himself was hauled away as well - to the Palm Beach County Jail.

Now, Sipek is facing misdemeanor charges for lacking proper licenses to house the wild animals.

"We've given him several opportunities to comply with the rules and regulations that we have set forth as well as the federal government," said Jorge Pino with FWC. "He has not been able to comply with those rules."

Tears streamed down Sipek's face hours after he was released from jail.

"I have an animal who needs help right now," he said outside the jail. "She needs medication twice a day. They took her away from me."

The animals are now more than two hundred miles away from Loxahatchee in Largo, on Florida's gulf coast. They were transported Monday afternoon to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

Sipek said the distance between him and his animals is much too great.

"They are not going to get away with this," said Sipek.

The facility in Largo will house the animals until employees there are told to do otherwise. Sipek has 60 days to submit an appeal, the first legal step in attempting to get his tigers and leopard back.

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