Doc Antle, former mentor to Joe Exotic, says his animals in Myrtle Beach are safe from the coronavirus, and they've been that way since long before a Bronx Zoo tiger tested positive ... and Carole Baskin's confident her Big Cat Rescue felines are fine too.
Doc, who, of course, was one of the 3 stars of 'Tiger King,' tells TMZ ... his Myrtle Beach Safari is a much different setup from that of the Bronx Zoo. He says he and his 25 employees all live onsite, making for a much more controlled and self-isolated environment.
He says he put his facility on lockdown immediately after the government released guidelines to stay at home and practice social distancing. Doc says his staff has been under strict quarantine since then. No visitors or physical contact with outside groups allowed.
While we humans have had "wash your hands" drilled into our heads ... Doc says his big cats are also bathed and cleaned regularly. He adds, specific caretakers are assigned to the animals, and that doesn't change ... thereby limiting potential exposure to the coronavirus.
If one of his big kitties somehow contracts COVID-19, Doc says it will be treated like a person and placed in self-isolation for 14 days to keep it from spreading it to other animals. Still, he says there's a very low chance of that.
Joe's nemesis, Carole Baskin is equally confident about the well-being of the animals at her tiger rescue outside of Tampa. Folks down there tell us they're monitoring the animals closely and none have shown any symptoms.
As we reported ... the Bronx Zoo tiger is the first animal in the U.S. known to have contracted the disease, but she's expected to recover, and experts say animals can't spread the disease to humans.