A Studio City man was charged with illegal possession and mistreatment of a baby tiger cub at his home on Dec. 5 after a YouTube video featured the same tiger cub in a video last year, said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
According to a statement from Feuer’s office, four criminal counts were charged against 32-year-old Nicholas Perkins, including two counts of illegal possession of a tiger, mistreatment of a tiger, and possession of anabolic steroids. Perkins could face up to two years and six months in jail and $4,000 in fines if convicted.
Authorities said it was initially a picture on Instagram that led to the investigation, followed by by a YouTube video posted by online star Logan Paul.
Wildlife Trafficking Wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) in October 2017 received an anonymous tip saying there were pictures of a model posing with a tiger cub on Instagram.
Investigators with DFW later identified Nicholas Perkins and the tiger cub through references in the Instagram post.
In addition, investigators verified that the tiger cub and the location where the tiger was believed to be kept were consistent with what appeared in the video by YouTuber Logan Paul. The video featuring the tiger cub posted on Oct. 21 received over eight million views.
Finally, a search warrant to seize the cub was executed at the defendant’s home on November 9, 2017. The authority found the tiger cub along with extensive evidence of the animal’s poor living conditions and the presence of anabolic steroids. The defendant was allegedly feeding the tiger cub kitten milk replacement formula with a baby bottle.
“California has some of the strongest restricted species laws in the country. They’re designed to protect exotic animals from neglect and improper care and serve to protect the public from these animals, many of which can be dangerous,” said David Bess, Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division of DFW.
“Our Wildlife Trafficking Team, working with the City Attorney’s office, are sending a message that exotic species like tigers don’t belong as pets in people’s homes,” Bess added.
The tiger cub was taken into custody and placed in a large cat rescue facility in north Los Angeles County. It has made a full recovery, according to Feuer’s office.
RIP champ. Thank you for showing the world what it means to imagine, dream & believe 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/LCSvheNJm7
— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) November 12, 2018
YouTuber Logan Paul built up his popularity by making viral video content that he shared on the internet video service Vine since 2013. In 2016, he started his video blog on YouTube and now has about 18 million subscribers.
However, in 2018 Logan Paul was widely criticized after he posted a video showing what appeared to be a suicide victim while he and his friends visited the Aokigahara forest, which is a common site for suicides in Japan.
He can be seen making jokes in the video before it was taken down, and according to the BBC, viewers called it both “disrespectful” and “disgusting.”
Logan Paul later made several apologies through YouTube and other social media. He was also given multiple punishments by YouTube including lowering his advertising rate, which means he will not be able to make as much money per clicks as before.
Although the punishment brought Paul about $3 million in losses, he can still earn nearly eight figures a year if everything else stays the same, according to a report from The Epoch Times.