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Al Oeming: Man of the North.

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  • Al Oeming: Man of the North.

    Long before Netflix's Tiger King, Canada had 'Noah of the North'

    Local Edmonton legend, Al Oeming blazed a trail of wildlife preservation and education.

    Long before Netflix brought people into the underworld of big cat breeding, a man and his own big cat roamed Canada's prairies.

    The Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has become the latest Netflix special to captivate audiences. The docu-series follows one man's path from being an attention-seeking zoo owner to a convicted criminal.

    A man and his pet cheetah

    Oeming served in the navy during World War II, as well as studied zoology at the University of Alberta. After leaving the Navy, he went on to become a professional wrestler and promoter.

    He sold half of his Stampede Wrestling promotions company to longtime friend and business partner Stu Hart — father of famous wrestlers Bret and Owen Hart — and in 1959, he took that money to buy land for his Alberta Game Farm.

    Oeming went on to start a successful exotic species breeding program. To supplement his income to pay for upgrades to the farm, he began travelling across Canada with his trusted cheetah Tawana in tow.

    Companies would do promotions and say "come on down and meet a live cheetah," drawing crowds to see Oeming and Tawana everywhere from malls to schools. Oeming would use his platform to talk about conservation and protection of endangered species.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.