- The new owners of the “Tiger King” zoo have been ordered to surrender all its lion and tiger cubs.
- A federal judge said the new owners Jeff and Lauren Lowe have violated the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
- In a statement, acting assistant attorney general Jonathan D Brightbill said: “The Lowes have showed a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law.”
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A federal judge has ordered Jeff and Lauren Lowe â€” the new owners of Joe Exotic’s “Tiger King” zoo â€” to surrender all tiger cubs and their mothers to the federal government due to animal welfare abuses.
The order was issued against the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma last week after the couple was found to have violated the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act by failing to provide safe conditions, proper nutrition, and timely veterinary care, which resulted in harm to a number of animals, including the death of two tiger cubs.
In a statement, acting assistant attorney general Jonathan D Brightbill said: “The Lowes have showed a shocking disregard for both the health and welfare of their animals, as well as the law.”
The court also ordered the Lowes to hire a veterinarian and provide up-to-date records that account for all the animals purchased and disposed of since June 2020.
Jeff Lowe is the former business partner of Joseph Maldonado-Passage â€” also known as Joe Exotic â€” and featured alongside the eccentric zookeeper in Netflix’s infamous “Tiger King” documentary. The court has also barred the Lowes from further exhibiting their animals without an official US Department of Agriculture licence.
“This decision sends a clear message to both licensed and unlicensed exhibitors of the Animal Welfare Act’s reach,” said the Department of Agriculture’s Acting General Counsel Tyler S. Clarkson.
As shown in the Netflix documentary, Maldonado-Passage signed over the zoo to Jeff Lowe due to money and legal troubles. He is now serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted of plotting to murder his “Tiger King” rival Carole Baskin, as well as several counts of animal abuse.
The zoo in Oklahoma was later awarded to Baskin as part of a court order filed in June 2020 but it is still being managed by Lowe.
Last year, Insider spoke with Will Mayo, an amateur photographer who documented his recent visit to the zoo. Mayo told Insider that his visit to the zoo was “incredibly depressing” and had “derelict” looking enclosures, a dried-up pond, and animals that appeared to be sad and tired-looking.