Branson magician sends 5 big cats to sanctuary

KSN News (file)
KSN News

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) – A southwest Missouri magician has sent three tigers and two leopards into retirement after downsizing his show, much to the delight of a nearby animal sanctuary.

All five cats were born in captivity and trained to be an integral part of illusionist Kirby VanBurch’s show on the Branson strip.

The animals arrived at the National Tiger Sanctuary between Springfield and Branson last week.

Sanctuary executive director Abbie Knudsen applauded VanBurch’s decision to stop using exotic animals and says the change marks an end to a chapter of Branson’s history.

The not-for-profit sanctuary now has 27 big cats and is raising up to $100,000 to build new habitats for each new animal. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

blog comments powered by Disqus