Jeff Lowe From 'Tiger King' Permanently Banned From Exhibiting Animals

Jeff Lowe, the former owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma—the exotic animal park featured in the Netflix docuseries Tiger King—has been permanently prohibited from exhibiting animals.

The prohibition was handed down last Thursday by a federal judge in the Eastern District of Oklahoma. The prohibition is part of a consent decree that resolves charges brought against Lowe and his wife, Lauren Lowe.

Federal authorities had accused the Lowes of violating the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), due to their alleged mistreatment of animals at the park and in their care. The consent decree will move the last of their animals out of the couple's care, to be rehoused elsewhere.

The decree will also forbid the Lowes from suing the U.S. in any future action regarding this settlement and their previously owned animals.

Authorities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suspended Jeff Lowe's exhibitor's license last year. However, he and his wife continued to exhibit animals, both in person and for compensation, via online platforms, the DOJ said.

As a result of the consent decree, the Lowes are now permanently forbidden from taking possession of, delivering, carrying or transporting "any ESA-protected animals that have been unlawfully taken" or exhibiting such animals to the public.

On Jan. 15, federal authorities obtained a preliminary injunction requiring the Lowes to give up all animal cubs in their care under the age of 1 year. The couple reportedly failed to provide records about other animals in their care. Since May 2021, U.S. authorities have seized a total of 146 animals from the couple, National Geographic reported.

"The DOJ had no option but to drop all charges against us," Jeff Lowe told the aforementioned publication. "That's what happens when the evidence doesn't support the allegations," he said, accusing authorities of using "a pack of salacious lies to justify stealing my animals."

Jeff Lowe Tiger King banned wild animals
Jeff Lowe — the owner of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma — has been permanently banned from exhibiting animals. The park became well known after the premiere of the Netflix docuseries, "Tiger King." In this photo, a tiger looks out from behind a chainlink fence. Cheri Alguire/Getty

Lowe's park came under investigation in late June 2020 after animal rights activists shared videos of juvenile lions allegedly living at the park and suffering from medical neglect.

Photo and videos provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) showed lions suffering from severe "flystrike," a condition in which flies bite animals, lay eggs on them and let their hatched maggots eat away their skin. The egg-laying flies are often drawn to uncleared animal waste.

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigated the park. The USDA said that it found numerous instances of animal neglect and abuse.

The USDA said that the corpse of a 17-year-old male tigon—a tiger/lion hybrid—was left partially burned and rotting near a woodpile alongside another tiger corpse, leaving "a foul odor of decomposing flesh and many flies."

Investigators also found two old, arthritic wolves that developed pressure sores after being forced to sleep on concrete floors. They also found two starved grizzly bears exhibiting "captive psychosis," a mental condition that occurs when enclosures are too small or the animals aren't mentally stimulated.

Lowe came into possession of the Oklahoma park after Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the park's previous owner known as "Joe Exotic," accepted Lowe's offer to help resolve financial troubles. The park fell into financial despair after Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist, sued Maldonado-Passage for copyright infringement.