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Authorities Remove 68 Large Cats from Tiger King Park

Credit: Unsplash

When the pandemic isolated people in March 2020, Netflix released Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. The show highlighted the eccentric Joe Exotic, a tiger owner, and his conflict with wildlife advocate Carole Baskin, garnering widespread attention. Despite Joe Exotic’s imprisonment, his park, now managed by Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, cashed in on the show’s fame to attract more visitors. However, this surge in interest prompted increased scrutiny of their operations, culminating in a recent law enforcement raid.

Federal authorities raided the park, armed with a search warrant and an affidavit alleging mistreatment of the animals in the Lowes’ care. A total of 68 large cats were seized from the park, including 46 tigers, 15 lion-tiger hybrids, seven lions, and a jaguar.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams emphasized the seriousness of alleged harm to captive-bred animals protected under the Endangered Species Act, stating, “This seizure should send a clear message.”

The affidavit’s author, who chose to remain unnamed, disclosed that the animals suffered from contaminated food, substandard living conditions, and inadequate veterinary care. Additionally, park staff endured verbal and physical abuse from the Lowes, creating a hostile environment. This mistreatment even extended to law enforcement officers during previous search warrants.

The affidavit highlighted the dangerous situation faced by law enforcement due to the hostility and obstruction encountered on the property, emphasizing the risk of injuries or loss of life during such high-risk operations.

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