Tiger King zoo is closing, will become film set dedicated to 'TV content'
Do you, too, have a docuseries about Joe Exotic? Well, Oklahoma's Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, Exotic's old zoo, will probably let you film there.
Jeff Lowe, who took ownership of the park after Exotic, announced on Facebook that "the old zoo" will close "effective immediately." The "new park will, at least for the foreseeable future, be a private film set for Tiger King-related television content for cable and streaming services," he wrote.
In May, a judge ruled that ownership of the animal park would go to Carole Baskin, a rival zookeeper featured in the Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness docuseries that sparked the attention on the zoo. The judge ruled at the time that Exotic, born Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, had fraudulently transferred ownership to Lowe and that the current owners had 120 days to vacate the premises. Exotic is currently serving a 22-year jail sentence for a murder-for-hire hit on Baskin.
Lowe mentioned in the Facebook post that he's voluntarily forfeiting his exhibitors license because the United States Department of Agriculture "has now folded to the pressures of PETA and continue to make false accusations against me." Yet he also mentioned the USDA issued a "21-day suspension" on his license. As reported by CNN, the USDA found "multiple animal welfare violations" at the park upon inspection.
"The Tiger King phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways," Lowe wrote. "It has brought us more attention than any human deserves, good and bad. 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."
Follow-up TV specials have popped up since Tiger King premiered on Netflix in March and became a massive hit, no doubt fueled by the fact its first season released at the start of COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.S. This includes a Surviving Joe Exotic Animal Planet doc about the stories of the big cats kept at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and a limited Investigation Discovery series focused on the mysterious disappearance of Baskin's ex-husband. Nicolas Cage also plans to portray Exotic in a TV series, while Kate McKinnon is set to play Baskin in a separate miniseries.
When EW spoke with Tiger King producer Rebecca Chaiklin in March about the possibility of a second season, she said, "Yes, we have a crazy amount of footage and it's a story that's still unfolding. We're not sure yet, but there could be a follow-up on this story because there's a lot that's still unfolding in it, and it'll be just as dramatic and just as colorful as what has unfolded these past few years."