Towards the beginning of when the coronavirus was deemed a pandemic in the United States and families were forced to quarantine at home, Netflix's Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness quickly became the topic of discussion. While people had more time than ever to sit at home and watch television, the new docuseries became a fan favorite. But now that businesses are slowly opening back up in the states, fans are flocking to Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in hopes of getting an up-close and personal experience with some of the famous faces.
While the popular zoo was allowed to re-open, they were given guidelines to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's protocol of social distancing and wearing face masks. However, according to pictures revealed by the Daily Mail, fans and workers were doing anything but. Previously owned by Joe "Exotic" Maldonado-Passage, the Wynnewood, Oklahoma, animal park is now run by Erik Cowie and Jeff Lowe — both who appear on Tiger King. In the photos, Cowie appears to be close to visitors as he presents them with animals, while Lowe and his wife Lauren are shown greeting guests at the front as they entered the park. Not only were they close to others, but no one seemed to be wearing a mask either.
Like most businesses, the zoo was forced to close their gates following the nationwide lockdown, however, since the documentary became so popular — what feels like almost over night — both Cowie and Lowe were hoping the reopening would be a fresh new start from the past. The controversy that surrounded the park wasn't good, with both Lowe and Cowie, along with others, accusing Maldonado-Passage of animal abuse, before he confessed to it in court.
"Several of the big cats would have eaten him alive if given the chance," Cowie told the outlet. He also detailed that Maldonado-Passage killed more than 100 tigers during his time as owner, with killing five felines in one single day at one point. "Joe not only told us he was HIV positive on several occasions, but told several other people. He used it to his advantage so he could scam something out of them," Lowe said. "Netflix wanted you to believe that I stole the zoo from Joe and Joe wants you to believe it as well, [but] he begged me to buy it."
Fans were so enthralled with the series, there's now a scripted show in the works. It was recently announced that Nicolas Cage will play the role of Maldonado-Passage in a new eight-episode series. Details on who will play the other names attached to the zoo is still unclear at this time.