An unannounced inspection of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park by the USDA has revealed some unsettling findings. The roadside attraction, which was featured prominently on the Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, showed then-owner Joe Exotic (whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado) and his questionable practices with the park's large cats and other assorted animals.
The park is currently under the management of Jeff Lowe and uncovered numerous animal welfare violations, as well as several injured and sickly animals that were kept in dangerous, dismal living conditions. The issue of the animal's well-being was touched on throughout the six-part series, particularly by Exotic's nemesis, Carole Baskin, who ran a big cat sanctuary and was a vocal critic of the Animal Park's condition. Exotic, meanwhile, is serving out a 22-year prison sentence for two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and numerous counts of animal abuse.
The June 22 report echoes what recent visitor Will Mayo encountered while on a recent road trip. Though he doesn't consider himself an animal activist, he described the zoo as an "abandoned house's overgrown backyard," and went downhill from there. "Everything just looked shriveled and dry and not taken care of," including an animal was leaning against the fence "because it almost seemed like it didn't even have the energy to walk around." Here's a rundown at what the USDA found.
A pair of old, arthritic wolves were found that apparently never received proper bedding or medication that had been prescribed.prevnext
Another discovery was a lethargic lion cub that was suffering from severe flystrike as well as a respiratory illness that was left untreated.prevnext
There were also some malnourished, anxious bears, that were exhibiting neurotic behaviors conducive to captive psychosis.prevnext
Lions Tigers & Bears Statement
Bobbi Brink, the founder and director of Lions Tigers & Bears accredited animal sanctuary in Alpine, CA, spoke out about the conditions these animals were found in. "Those who have paid to take a selfie with or pet a tiger cub have unknowingly contributed to animal abuse and exploitation at facilities like the G.W. Exotic Animal Park," Brink said. "It's cub petting that brings in money, and once they've outgrown their petting 'prime,' it's heartbreaking to read about how they are blatantly abandoned and neglected at facilities that preach conservation. If animals are not given proper veterinary care, it's fake conservation. The animals at G.W. Zoo are suffering from this exploitative business practice."prevnext
The park once owned by Joe Exotic has been no stranger to code violations. The Netflix series revealed the park would get expired meat from nearby grocery stores to feed to its animals. As well as its customers, as that expired meat went on the pizza served to guests.
There were also recent reports of human remains on the grounds, although an investigation later revealed the remains to be animals. Although Lowe himself wasn't convinced the case was closed.prev