Where Are Joe Exotic's Tigers and Animals Now?

Tiger King is back with a second season, despite the man himself, Joe Exotic, currently serving a 22-year sentence behind bars.

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage (né Schreibvogel), was convicted of arranging a murder-for-hire plan to kill his rival Carole Baskin alongside several animal abuse charges.

In addition to leaving behind his beloved G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, Exotic also parted ways with his animals—of which there were over 200.

Newsweek has everything you need to know about what happened to Joe Exotic's tigers and animals.

Where are Joe Exotic's Tigers and Animals Now?

Joe Exotic worked as the owner and operator of G.W. Zoo for over 20 years, housing a range of tigers, alligators, lions, and other big cats.

For several years, G.W. Zoo was visited by animal welfare investigators and was cited multiple times by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violations of Animal Welfare Act standards.

Alongside his conviction of murder-to-hire in January 2020, Exotic was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse including killing five tigers and illegally selling tiger cubs.

Exotic's remaining tigers and other animals were eventually moved to a sanctuary in Colorado.

Speaking to Netflix, Tiger King director Rebecca Chaiklin praised the sanctuary Exotic's animals are now looked after, but ultimately believes they belong in the wild.

She said: "For me, even though the sanctuary is far superior to almost any other facility in the country, in the end, we're hoping that what people understand is that these animals really belong in the wild.

"Our focus needs to be not on supporting sanctuaries, but actually protecting their natural habitats and supporting the surrounding communities so that they don't poach, or encroach on the lands."

Co-director Eric Goode echoed Chaiklin's sentiment, saying: "What's important to know is the reality that these cats are just being released into larger pens. They can never hunt. They can never breed. They can never raise their young. They're still in a cage.

"It's a little bit of a feel-good moment, but the solve is still deeply flawed. Tigers have home ranges that encompass hundreds of square miles and don't lend themselves to being caged. There are many other exotic animals that are much more compatible with captivity. But apex predators like tigers are definitely not one of them. I hope what people takeaway is that sanctuaries are not the answer and they should try to support organizations like re:wild and WWF who are protecting wild tigers."

After Exotic's arrest in September 2019, G.W. Zoo fell into the hands of his former colleague Jeff Lowe, but his license to run the zoo had been suspended by the USDA in August 2020 as back in May 2020, Federal judge Scott Palk of the Western District Court of Oklahoma, ruled ownership of the zoo be transferred to Exotic's long-term rival Carole Baskin.

Lowe was also instructed he had 120 days to vacate the property.

In Louis Theroux's recent documentary Shooting Joe Exotic, Baskin revealed by the time Lowe vacated the property there were three tigers, 11 wolves, and two bears in the park when she took ownership.

Today, G.W. Zoo remains permanently closed and, since his incarceration, Exotic has stated he believes "no animals belong in a cage."

Speaking to journalist Mariana Van Zeller in an episode of her National Geographic series Trafficked, Exotic said he never would have opened a zoo if he knew what being locked up in a cage was truly like, referring to his time in prison.

Exotic is currently serving his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth.

Tiger King 2 is streaming on Netflix now.

tiger king season 2 netflix
Joe Exotic in "Tiger King" Netflix


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