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Jeff Lowe Announces Permanent Closure Of Joe Exotic's Zoo From 'Tiger King'
Animal rights activist Carole Baskin had been awarded the park in a legal judgement earlier this summer.
The zoo formerly run by the infamous "Tiger King" subject Joe Exotic will shut its doors permanently to visitors — while Jeff Lowe claims another property will become a hub for "Tiger King" content.
Lowe, whose assumption of ownership over Exotic's park was documented in Netflix's "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," announced on Facebook in a since-deleted post that the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park has closed permanently as of this week.
Lowe also claimed he had voluntarily forfeited his exhibitors license to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which allows him to buy and sell animals.
"Do the the permanent closure of the Wynnewood Zoo, I’m forfeiting my USDA exhibitors license. The very agency that has given my facility five consecutive perfect inspections, has now folded to the pressures of PETA and continue to make false accusations against me," Lowe wrote.
The USDA, however, said it had suspended the exhibitor license for both the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and Lowe on Monday after finding multiple animal welfare violations during inspections, according to CNN.
Lowe wrote in his post all his animals will continue to be treated well.
"Rest assured that all the animals will continue to have excellent care, and consequently will no longer be subject to USDA inspections or PETA spies," Lowe wrote.
Animal rights activist Carole Baskin denounced Lowe's move, claiming in a statement provided to Oxygen.com it would actually make his animals less safe due to a lack of inspections.
"Now that USDA will no longer inspect the facility, the animals are at even greater risk," Baskin said. "Oklahoma is one of only four states that have no laws regarding ownership and treatment of big cats. We hope the suffering that USDA has documented and that these animals are likely to continue to be subjected to will motivate the State to change that and ban private ownership of big cats."
Baskin was awarded ownership of the park earlier this summer and Lowe was given an order to vacate the premises within 120 days. Baskin was not awarded ownership of Lowe's exotic animals in the judgement.
Lowe previously announced he was opening a new park in Thackerville, Oklahoma to place the exotic animals.
"Our new park will, at least for the foreseeable future, be a private film set for Tiger King related television content for cable and streaming services," Lowe said in his post.
Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of hiring a hitman to kill Baskin. The two had been in a feud for years stemming from his ownership of the big cat-centric zoo.