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Steve Sipek, Who Played 'Tarzan', Fundraising To Get Wildlife Returned To Loxahatchee Facility

Tiger

First Posted: 03/12/2012 9:38 am Updated: 03/12/2012 9:42 am

Just two weeks after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators seized Steve Sipek's tigers and leopard, the former Tarzan actor is trying to get them back.

Sunday, Sipek and Melanie Boynes, who helps out at his Tarzan Big Cat Sanctuary, held a fundraiser at Sipek's Loxahatchee residence so that Lepa, a female tiger; Bo, a male tiger; and Oko, a leopard, can return.

In late February, Sipek was arrested on misdemeanor charges of possession of a Class 1 animal without a USDA permit and possession of a Class 1 animal as a pet.

Sipek and Boynes were hoping to raise $8,100 in order to comply with FWC's strict requirements for keeping Class 1 wildlife, which include high, strong fencing and at least 35 feet between the caged animals and the property line.

Back in 2004, Bobo, one of Sipek's tigers, got loose and was shot by the FWC.

To raise the necessary funds to upgrade their facility, Boynes and Sipek offered $20 photo ops with Leon Lion, on loan from Dade City's Wild Things, and Sipek, a former actor who played Tarzan in six films.

By the end of the day, they raised nearly $7,000, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Donations to Tarzan Big Cat Sanctuary are still being accepted at any TD Bank.

"I vowed to protect the species after a lion saved my life when he pulled me out of an accidental fire on the set of Tarzan," Sipek told CBS 12. "And I promised myself if I ever live, I'm going to take care of all the animals that come along."

Originally from Croatia, Sipek was forced to move from Miami to Palm Beach after neighbors learned he was keeping a lion in a residential neighborhood.

Click below for footage from last month's search of Sipek's facility:

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Filed by Amanda McCorquodale  |