Nearly 70 tigers and other big cats are no longer suffering in captivity at the ‘Tiger King Park’ in Oklahoma after federal authorities raided and seized the animals.
Jeff Lowe — star of the notorious Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness — owned and operated the park, which never opened to the public and now thankfully never will. He moved the big cats to the new location in Oklahoma after shutting down the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park — previously owned by Joe Exotic of Tiger King fame — in August.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) started a case against Jeff Lowe and his wife Lauren after reports surfaced of inhumane treatment and illegal breeding of the big cats on their property, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and Animal Welfare Act.
Investigators found several cases of abuse and neglect at the park — including Nala, a depressed and emaciated lion cub, who was so lethargic she couldn’t even stand up. She also had noticeable injuries on her ears, eyes, and nose, and a veterinary exam found she was also suffering from dehydration, a urinary tract infection, fleas, parasites, and fly strikes — a painful condition where flies continuously bite at animals’ open wounds and lay their eggs inside them.
The helpless lion cub, who has now been transferred to a sanctuary to live her life in peace, will forever live with chronic fracture and lameness due to severe malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, according to the DOJ. As horrible as Nala’s injuries were, she was just one of the many animals found to be suffering under the “care” of the Lowes. While United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revoked Lowe’s animal exhibit license after the investigation, he continued to keep, breed, and exhibit big cats, often giving tours to film crews while Lauren charged viewers for virtual visits with the cats via her OnlyFans account.
Of the nearly 70 big cats rescued by federal authorities in the most recent raid, at least two were pregnant.
When born into captivity, cubs are usually ripped from their mothers at early ages and forced to interact with park visitors for petting and photo opportunities. The big cat industry is big business in America, and despite its inherent cruelty, remains largely legal.
“When cubs grow too large to be handled by the public, some end up in accredited zoos and sanctuaries, but most endure poor living conditions in backyards and unaccredited facilities, lacking proper nutrition, housing, and veterinary care,” said Elizabeth Brentano, of BBC’s Discover Wildlife. “Worse yet, some disappear, and with the loopholes in current U.S. legislation and a lack of records, it is impossible to know where they go.”
While Lady Freethinker (LFT) is happy to see these 68 big cats rescued from miserable captivity, many more suffer throughout the United States. We must do all we can to end this torture. Sign LFT’s petition urging U.S. Congress to support and pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act to outlaw ownership of big cats by private individuals and ban public contact with these wild animals.
SIGN: Save Tigers and Lions from Miserable Captivity As ‘Pets’