Authorities seize 68 big cats from Oklahoma’s Tiger King animal park

Tiger, photo: carlosvilchis via Canva
Tiger, photo: carlosvilchis via Canva

The United States Justice Department said Thursday that it had seized 68 lions, tigers and lion-tiger hybrids and a jaguar from the Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Prosecutors said the owners, Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, had repeatedly violated laws requiring appropriate care for the animals and had not complied with an order to hire a qualified veterinarian.

“This seizure should send a clear message that the Justice Department takes alleged harm to captive-bred animals protected under the Endangered Species Act very seriously,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jean Williams of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The Netflix true-crime series Tiger King, set in the world of private zoos and their eccentric owners, became a worldwide phenomenon when it was aired last year.

It told the story of flamboyant Oklahoma zookeeper Joe Exotic, his rivalry with Florida big cat rescue activist Carole Baskin and his imprisonment for hiring a hitman to try to kill her.

The Lowes became the new owners of the park when Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, went to prison.

Last August, Jeffrey Lowe said he was closing the park’s doors permanently because of pressure from animal rights activists and inspectors.

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