PITTSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro is taking in four tigers from a park in Oklahoma connected to Netflix’s “Tiger King.”
Carolina Tiger Rescue said it worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and other accredited sanctuaries to rescue 68 endangered big cats.
The animals were removed from the Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma, owned by Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe.
Jeffrey Lowe was a central figure in “Tiger King” that featured a mullet-wearing zookeeper named Joe Exotic and became a cultural phenomenon last year.
Joe Exotic, a pseudonym for Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison in Texas for his 2020 conviction on charges that he participated in a murder-for-hire plot and violated federal wildlife laws.
Carolina Tiger Rescue is taking care of the four cats while the DOJ finds a permanent home for them.
“We are glad to see the Department of Justice working hard to better the lives of big cats in captivity, beginning with Tiger King Park,” said Pam Fulk, Executive Director of Carolina Tiger Rescue. “We thank everyone who was involved in this operation.”
Carolina Tiger Rescue said it is a federally accredited big cat sanctuary and part of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
The complaint accused the Lowes of recurring inhumane treatment and improper handling of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The couple has received numerous citations for failing to properly care for the animals following three inspections of the Tiger King Park
Former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who now co-chairs the National Law Enforcement Council for Animal Wellness Action, a group that endorses policies to prevent animal cruelty, said the seizure punctuates a long series of federal actions to shut down an “unethical roadside zoo operator.”
“Joe Exotic and Jeff Lowe ran slipshod operations and the chickens have come home to roost,” Edmondson said.