This week brought more drama involving the human cast of the popular “Tiger King” series but hopefully some peace for the tigers themselves. Time is up for the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Garvin County, Oklahoma, which is now officially closed to the public after the USDA cited multiple animal welfare violations.
The park became infamous when Netflix debuted its “Tiger King” documentary series in March. The show’s behind-the-scenes look at big cat owners was wildly popular, garnering 34.1 million views in the series’ first 10 days after release. “Tiger King” introduced the viewing public to Joe Exotic, former owner of the park, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing five tigers, abusing other animals and trying to hire somebody to assassinate Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue.
But in April, a month after “Tiger King” rocketed to fame, the Humane Society of the United States released footage showing that Exotic’s successor at Greater Wynnewood, Jeffery Lowe, was also abusing tigers.
Federal judge Scott L. Palk responded by revoking Lowe’s exhibitor license and giving him 120 days to remove the tigers and vacate the premises. That 120 days is up this week. Palk also granted Baskin control of the 16 acres of land that housed the infamous zoo as part of a $1 million trademark dispute Baskin had filed against the Greater Wynnewood Development Group.
Lowe denied any wrongdoing. On a Facebook post, he accused the USDA of “false accusations” against him. He claimed the agency was “folding to pressure” from PETA.
“The ‘Tiger King’ phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways,” Lowe said. “It has brought us more attention than any human deserves, good and bad. It has and probably will continue to make us a target of every nutjob and animal rights loon in the world, but we are prepared.”
Image via Capri23auto