More Exotic Cats Seized From Tiger King Park Now Living In CO
If you've ever seen or followed the hit 2020 Netflix show, Tiger King, you might've heard about the 68 big cats that were recently removed by federal officials from a private zoo in Oklahoma - one of the center focuses of the popular streaming saga.
The majority of the exotic animals seized this year by federal agents from the Oklahoma park made infamous by the Netflix docu-series have been relocated to Colorado.
According to Pat Craig, executive director of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, since January, his facility has taken in 50 animals from the Tiger King Park in Thackerville, OK.
Among the 50 rescued animals include 10 tiger cubs with four mothers that were seized in January, and 36 adult lions, tigers and ligers — a hybrid lion and tiger — that were seized earlier this month.
The Denver Post reported that Wild Animal Sanctuary was already home to 39 tigers and three bears previously moved from the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, which had been previously owned by Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a.k.a. Joe Exotic, who starred in the popular Netflix series.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary was in charge of physically removing all of the animals seized in this most recent raid, including ones that went to other sanctuaries, Craig said.
A total of sixty-eight big cats were seized in May, as per reports from NPR.
Located on a 789-acre tract of land in Weld County, the Wild Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that began housing animals rescued from the Oklahoma park, formerly owned by Maldonado-Passage, since as early as 2017.
After Maldonado-Passage aka 'Joe Exotic', the former owner of Tiger King Park, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in a murder-for-hire plot, Jeff and Lauren Lowe took over all operations at the exotic animal park; The park was eventually closed "under disputed circumstances" to which Lowe then announced plans to open a new park in Thackerville, near the border of Oklahoma and Texas.
NPR says the Justice Department sued the Lowes last November for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. The couple is accused of exhibiting the animals without a license and failing to adequately care for them.
An affidavit read, “inspectors found that the animals were receiving a nutritionally deficient diet, inadequate and untimely veterinary care, and insufficient shelter from the weather” during welfare checks conducted since December of 2020, according to NPR.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary, which also operates the Wild Animal Refuge on more than 9,600 acres in Springfield, as well as the Wild Animal Sanctuary on 41 acres in Texas, currently cares for more than 650 lions, tigers, bears and wolves.
Colorado's Wild Big Game Populations