The exotic cat zoo made famous by Netflix docuseries Tiger King has permanently closed.
In a Facebook post to the page of the now-named Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, current owner Jeff Lowe (nemesis of incarcerated Tiger King star and former owner, Joe Exotic) said the zoo is closed to the public “effective immediately”.
“The Tiger King phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways,” the post read.
“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. As of today, we have decided to close the old zoo effective immediately.”
Lowe added that due to the park’s permanent closure he has now voluntarily forfeited his United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) exhibitor’s license. He also noted that the USDA, who had previously awarded his facility “five consecutive perfect inspections”, have now “folded to the pressures of PETA and continue to make false accusations against me”.
David Perle, a representative for PETA, told NME, “This rare step of a license suspension follows another unprecedented move by the USDA: In June, it halted its inspection of the facility and ordered Lowe to seek immediate veterinary care for a juvenile lion named Nala, who was lying in mud, lethargic, depressed, and thin.”
PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet said in a statement, “Jeff Lowe’s license has been suspended, a permanent revocation should be next, and his tiger-terrorizing days may soon be over.
“PETA looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals at the G.W. Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility where it won’t take federal intervention for a sick cat to receive veterinary care.”
Lowe wrote, “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.
“In the state of Oklahoma, exotic animal ownership is perfectly legal. Rest assured that all the animals will continue to have excellent care, and consequently will no longer be subject to USDA inspections or PETA spies.”
Lowe’s post also alluded to a Tiger King spinoff starring himself and wife Lauren Dropla, which the couple first mentioned in June. “Our 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 said.
The news comes after Exotic’s arch-enemy, Carol Baskin, was awarded ownership of the zoo by a federal judge in Oklahoma. Given 120 days to vacate the property, Lowe said of the decision, “I expected it a year ago. We knew that the writing was on the wall.”
Exotic called the decision a “treachery that has to be challenged”.
Earlier this month it was reported that Baskin was seeking a £1 million fee for the second season of Tiger King. Baskin denied the report saying, “There is no amount of money that would cause me to trust the producers again.”