The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, featured in the controversial Netflix documentary Tiger King, is now closed “effective immediately,” according to a now-deleted Facebook post by owner Jeff Lowe, whose U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) license to operate was recently suspended.
The decision to permanently shutter the park follows an investigation in June by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Numerous complaints about the animals’ welfare also prompted the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife to inspect the park, where injured animals were found, isolated, and given veterinary care, according to a Facebook post by the Garvin County Sheriff’s Office.
At around the same time, PETA released gruesome whistleblower images of several ailing lions at the park who appeared to suffer from severe “flystrike,” a painful ailment typically associated with unsanitary living conditions, in which flies bite and lay eggs on animals and maggots eat away at their skin.
Following the investigation, the USDA suspended Lowe’s exhibitor license for 21 days.
Lowe, who claims he voluntarily forfeited his license amid the suspension, accused animal rights groups and activists of targeting him and levying false allegations against him, Fox Business reported.
On June 1, before the recent USDA investigation, a federal judge granted control of the property to Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue. Lowe was given 120 days to vacate the property and reportedly plans to relocate hundreds of exotic animals, including lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, lemurs, snakes, a sloth, and more.
This is a developing story. We will continue to monitor this case and additional details will be provided when available.