Feds Seize 68 Big Cats From 'Tiger King Park' of 'Tiger King' Fame
Just months after the pickup truck limousine meant to escort Tiger King's Joe Exotic from his Texas prison left empty following then President Trump's decision to not offer the reality star a pardon, it seems the universe has issued yet another blow to the world of big cats. Throughout the past month, 68 lions, tigers, and other animals, including a jaguar and a few ligers (which apparently do exist outside of the Napoleon Dynamite Extended Universe TM) were seized by federal agents from Tiger King Park, which appeared in the beloved Netflix series, NPR reported.
The park is currently the property of Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, who the Justice Department sued for purportedly violating the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act back in November, accusing the couple of several instances of wrongdoing, including showing animals without a license and not giving the animals proper care. Since December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has inspected the park on three separate occasions, allegedly finding that the animals' diet wasn't nutritionally sufficient and that the cats weren't receiving timely veterinary care or proper shelter to protect them from the weather, according to an affidavit.
During one of these visits in December, inspectors reportedly learned that the animals were fed a diet exclusively consisting of boneless chicken and a horse weight gain supplement, which as anyone who has ever done ketamine and/or attempted the Joe Rogan carnivore diet can tell you, does not exactly do a body good, a sentiment that also applies to big cats, according to authorities. However, it seems the effects of an alleged poor diet were seemingly evident, with the affidavit claiming the animals experienced a myriad of ailments including lesions, stunted growth, and even neurological problems.
"The Lowes have consistently failed to provide their Big Cats with a diet containing the necessary nutrients to allow them to grow properly and thrive," the legal document reads.
However, Lowe seemingly disagrees with these findings, noting the reality show's alleged involvement of the seizures. “We all know that this has nothing to do with the care of animals. This is the direct result of Tiger King exposing the failures," he said in a statement adding that "The USDA is in damage control and engaging in a smear campaign against us."
Earlier this month, a judge found the Lowes in contempt for allegedly not following court orders regarding the animal's care. “This seizure should send a clear message that the Justice Department takes alleged harm to captive-bred animals protected under the Endangered Species Act very seriously,” Jean E. Williams, who is the acting assistant attorney general for the department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, explained.
So folks, although the series may have aired a year and change ago, it seems the world of Tiger King is still as dramatic as ever.