Tiger King: The Park may be Closed, but the Drama Continues


Zoos change ownership for various reasons. Sadly, it is not unheard of for prior owners to lose their positions due to charges of animal cruelty. Unfortunately, the Greater Wynnwood Exotic Animal Park is no exception. Animal rights activist, Carole Baskin, has been trying to force the zoo to close for years. This hatred between her and previous owner, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is the main topic of the cable and Netflix series entitled “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.” This is no ordinary rivalry for exotic animal care, however, and this zoo closed for a much more sinister reason. Maldonado-Passage, (who is now better known as Exotic Joe since the airing of the Tiger King documentary,) is currently serving 22 years in prison for hiring someone to murder Baskin!

In Exotic Joe’s absence, Jeffrey Lowe took over zoo operations. Although PETA has been making complaints against the animals’ care for years, Lowe boasts that he had five consecutive USDA inspections that found no fault. He claims that the USDA succumbed to PETA’s pressure. The USDA, though, has record of numerous violations throughout the years, including repeat offenses. One complaint, an inadequate refrigeration system for the cats’ raw meat, was not fixed. When the USDA inquired about proof of repairs, zoo officials tried to cover their neglect by showing invoices for other equipment. The most recent USDA inspection came to an emotional halt when they found a thin and lethargic young lion in dire need of veterinary care. In the wake of Lowe’s forfeiture of his exhibitor license, the USDA called to inform Lowe that they were suspending the license themselves. Later, the state of Oklahoma ironically awarded ownership of the Greater Wynnwood Exotic Animal Park to Joe’s most hated rival: Carole Baskin! It appears as though Joe improperly transferred ownership to Lowe before going to prison. Therefore, Lowe received 120 days to vacate the premises.

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