Tiger King star Carole Baskin is calling attention to the grave risk to animals at the now closed theme park at the centre of the Netflix docuseries.
The licence for the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park was suspended this week and the place will remain closed for at least the next 21 days after an inspection by United States Department of Agriculture officials exposed the neglect of animals at the hands of owner Jeff Lowe.
But Baskin insists the closure means the animals remain in danger, as inspections will no longer be routine.
“Jeff … closing the GW Zoo to the public unfortunately does nothing to relieve the animals of the serious mistreatment documented in recent USDA inspections,” Baskin said in a statement. “Now that USDA will no longer inspect the facility, the animals are at even greater risk.”
After news broke of the shutdown, Lowe took to the park’s Facebook page to reassure followers the animals are safe.
“Rest assured that all the animals will continue to have excellent care, and consequently will no longer be subject to USDA inspections or PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) spies,” he wrote, insisting the park will continue to operate as “a private film set for Tiger King related television content for cable and streaming services.”
Jeff took control of Joe Exotic’s old animal park after its former owner was incarcerated for 22 years for plotting to murder fellow animal park owner Baskin, among other charges.
Earlier this year, Carole was awarded the zoo following a $1 million trademark judgement against Joe, real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, following years of legal spats. In early June, it was reported Lowe had 120 days to vacate the premises and remove all remaining animals from the property.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness debuted on Netflix in March and proved a massive hit with viewers during the COVID-19 lockdown.