Tiger King Zoo Permanently Closes Following License Suspension and Animal Welfare Violations

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The tiger zoo made famous by the Nextflix docu-series "Tiger King" has permanently shuttered its doors after its license was suspended for multiple animal welfare violations and several repeat violatons, according to Fox News.

The current owner, Jeff Lowe, who was prominently featured in the popular documentary "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness," along with its previous owner, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in June.

Federal and local authorities visited the zoo after being tipped off about the park's conditions by a whistleblower, who leaked images of lions that appeared to be suffering from a skin-eating disease called flystrike.

The visit prompted the USDA to suspend Lowe's license following citations for inadequate veterinary care and other zoo conditions.

Lowe's ownership of the 16-acre park will be transferred to its new owner Big Cat Rescue Founder, Carole Baskin in September. 

Baskin, an animal rights advocate has a long history with the exotic animal park and its former owner, Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Their relationship plays out like a soap opera,  as Maldonado-Passage, known by show fans as Joe Exotic, was sentenced in April to 22 years behind bars for a murder for hire plot against his rival, Baskin.

Among the violations cited, inspectors found a broken refrigerator truck used to store animal food that zoo officials said they had fixed. When inspectors asked for invoices for the repairs, they were handed an invoice for a tractor repair, said CNN.

Once the suspension hit, Lowe didn't waste any time and took to social media to share the zoo's closure with fans.

The park's Facebook post claimed animal rights groups have targeted the zoo. 

"The very agency that has given my facility five consecutive perfect inspections has now folded to the pressures of PETA and continue to make false accusations against me," the post read.

Another post to the park's Facebook page said that there would be a new park in the foreseeable future that would be a private film set for "Tiger King" related television content for cable and streaming services.

The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, sometimes called the G.W. Zoo, is situated on 16 acres and began as a shelter for endangered and exotic animals in 1999. The park is home to over 50 species of animals and 200 big cats, such as tigers, lions, pumas, ligers, and tigons.

PETA Foundation's deputy general counsel for captive animal and law enforcement, Brittany Peet, said in a statement: "PETA looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals as the G.W. Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility." 


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