The zoo made popular by Netflix series Tiger King has permanently closed, following pressure by animal rights charity PETA.
The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, which was home to the popular Netflix series, Tiger King, has announced that it will be closing its doors for good.
Jeff Lowe is the current owner of the zoo and made the announcement of its closure on Facebook, saying it was because of “the pressures of animal rights charity PETA”.
This news also comes after a federal judge ordered the zoo be handed over to Carole Baskin as part of a ruling in a $1 million (£800,000) trademark dispute. The order means that any current operators will have to be out in 120 days. Jeff Lowe is the former business partner of Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot and animal abuse.
In his Facebook post, Lowe mentions how “the Tiger King phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways”. “It has, and probably will continue to make us a target of every nutjob and animal rights loon in the world, but we are prepared,” he added.
Lowe has also mentioned that he volunteered to forfeit his United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) exhibitor’s license. The license allowed him to buy and sell animals. Lowe also believes the USDA has “given in to the pressures of PETA” as he reports they have been making false accusations about himself.
BBC News reports that Lowe said: “Suspiciously, less than 24 hours after I contacted the USDA to voluntarily forfeit my license, they notify me that they are suspending my license for 21 days for a litany of falsehoods.”
Brittany Peet, who works on the captive animal team at PETA, called for Jeff Lowe’s license to be permanently removed. In a statement, Peet said: “Peta looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals at the GW Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility where it won’t take federal intervention for a sick cat to receive veterinary care.”
Speaking to The Vegan Review, animal justice activist Harley McDonald-Eckersall said: “I purposely haven’t watched the Tiger King documentary, knowing that I’d feel a lot of pain seeing the way that a lot of the animals have been kept.”
“Of course we should be looking to shut these kinds of places down, but it’s not enough to close them. There has to be a complete reform and complete shift in the way we think about animals.”
Mcdonald-Eckersall believes we shouldn’t just be shutting these types of zoos down because they are “mistreating animals” but because they are “confining” animals.