Netflix’s true crime miniseries, Tiger King explored the life of zookeeper Joe Exotic. Now, the Oklahoma zoo featured in the hit documentary is closing to the public.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, previously owned the park. Jeffrey Lowe, who was also featured in the Netflix documentary, now operates the zoo. Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for wildlife violations and a murder-for-hire plot. Yeah, it’s complicated.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park announced it would be closed to the general public “effective immediately.”
The post also revealed that, due to the zoo’s permanent closure, Lowe would be forfeiting his USDA animal exhibition license.
“Tiger King” Exposed
In addition to following the life of Joe Exotic, Tiger King helped expose the dangers and animal-rights violations of big cat breeding. The documentary drew national attention to the issue of animals in captivity.
The park said that 24 hours after its request to forfeit its animal exhibition license, the USDA suspended its license. The USDA cited a number of animal welfare violations for the suspension.
The park revealed that the agency had previously given the zoo “five consecutive perfect inspections.” But now, it says, the USDA has “folded to the pressures of PETA.”
The animal rights group had previously urged the USDA to revoke Lowe’s license and confiscate the zoo’s animals.
In a statement, Brittany Peet—PETA’s deputy general counsel for captive animal law enforcement—said the USDA should permanently revoke Lowe’s license. “PETA looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals at the G.W. Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility,” Peet said.
Although the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park closed to the public, it says it will be opening a new park.
According to the Facebook post, the new park will “be a private film set for Tiger King related television content for cable and streaming services.”
The zoo said its “animals will continue to have excellent care” despite its closure and “will no longer be subject to USDA inspections or PETA spies.“