Lion Cub Rescued From 'Tiger King' Star's Zoo Near Death Makes Incredible Recovery

A lion-hybrid cub has undergone a heartwarming and dramatic transformation after being rescued from a zoo that once belonged to one of the controversial stars of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King.

Nala was in terrible condition when federal inspectors first caught sight of her in June 2020 at an Oklahoma roadside zoo that Tiger King star Jeff Lowe took over from the currently incarcerated Joe Exotic, real name Joseph Allen Schreibvogel.

In fact, investigators were so horrified at what they saw, they halted their inspection of the zoo and ordered Lowe to provide her with immediate veterinary care.

A subsequent examination revealed the alarming extent of her condition. Nala was severely underweight and her ears had been eaten away by flies.

She was also nursing multiple fractures as a result of a severe vitamin deficiency while she was unable to take more than a step or two without collapsing from pain and exhaustion.

Nala was facing a bleak future but her fortunes changed for the better in September 2020 after PETA claimed a vital court victory against Lowe's former business partner Tim Stark, who also featured in the documentary series.

It was Stark who had illegally transferred Nala to Lowe. The court ruling gave PETA the right to rescue her from her miserable existence in the roadside zoo.

Fast forward just over a year and Nala's transformation is a sight to behold.

Once confined to a cage, Nala is now free to explore the vast habitat of The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado where, thanks to the facility's expert care, she is positively thriving amongst a pride of fellow PETA-rescued felines.

Meanwhile, as Tiger King 2 revealed, thanks to a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit and some help from PETA, Lowe no longer has any big cats in his custody and has agreed never to exhibit animals again.

PETA played an integral role in helping the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seize 69 protected big cats from Lauren and Jeff Lowe's Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

The DOJ's search and seizure warrant was based in part on evidence obtained by PETA—including testimony regarding big-cat breeding in violation of a court order and evidence regarding the appalling condition of lions rescued by PETA from the Lowes in 2020.

"This cub's dire condition in Lowe's cage and her wonderful recovery at The Wild Animal Sanctuary illustrate exactly why roadside zoos need to be shut down," says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet.

"PETA will be watching to make sure Lowe and his ilk never get their hands on another wild or exotic animal."

Nala the lion cub.
Nala the lion hybrid cub before and after - Nala was rescued from Tiger King star Joe Exotic's former zoo. PETA