The Tiger King saga has been a long and admittedly, weird one, to say the least, as the drama surrounding the rise and fall of Joe Exotic just doesn’t seem to be going away. With Exotic currently serving a 22-year prison sentence, Jeff Lowe received ownership of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. But Exotic’s rival, Carole Baskin, gained control of the grounds after a judge ruled that the property was “fraudulently transferred,” stemming from a copyright lawsuit previously filed by Baskin.
Jeff Lowe, who vowed to leave the property in shambles for Baskin, was required by law to vacate the area and remove all of the animals within 120 days of the ruling. Now, a new development seems to have sped up the closure of the park. Not only that, but it sounds like Lowe’s plans for his new park in Thackerville, Oklahoma have changed.
In a now-deleted post from the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park’s Facebook page, Lowe confirmed that the park will be closing for good, effectively immediately. The park’s closure comes after the US Department of Agriculture suspended Lowe’s exhibitor license. Despite the closure, the zoo operator is already looking ahead to the future. Lowe explained (via CNN) that the new park will serve as a private, film set, where Tiger King-related content will be produced for cable and streaming services.
The suspension of Lowe’s license comes after a USDA inspection found multiple violations, like animal food not being sufficiently refrigerated. Inspections also reported that animals appeared to be malnourished. Lowe claims he’s being targeted by animal groups and that the USDA is only folding to pressure from activists.
Before the inspection, the zoo was already in danger of closing as, earlier this year, the Oklahoma Tax Commission asked a judge to shut down the park due to delinquent tax sales. Reports claimed that Lowe and the park owed tens of thousands of dollars in taxes. Lowe was asked to cease all business operations after this, but he kept the park open, which is considered a misdemeanor punishable by fine or jail time.
Joe Exotic originally brought Jeff Lowe into the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in an attempt to improve the park. However, their visions for the park’s future soon clashed, and Exotic would accuse Lowe of trying to push him out of his business. But that didn’t stop Exotic from putting the park in Lowe’s name due to his own personal set of legal problems.
With the park closed, Lowe doesn’t seem to have any regrets, as he’s even previously spoken about his desire to leave the park behind and start anew. It’ll be interesting to see what’s left of the grounds when Carole Baskin officially takes ownership.
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