Large cats seized from Tiger King Park taken in by sanctuaries

All of the big cats that federal agencies recently seized from Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe’s Tiger King Park have been accepted by accredited sanctuaries across the country, according to the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota. The sanctuary announcement comes days after the Justice Department announced the seizure of 46 tigers, 15 lion-tiger hybrids, seven lions and one jaguar from Thackerville Park, Oklahoma.

The Lowes, who are accused of mistreating their animals, are best known for appearing on the popular documentary series “Tiger King”.

“I am grateful for the coordinated efforts of several respected sanctuaries and federal agencies to ensure these cats are safely removed,” said Tammy Thies, founder and executive director of Wildcat Sanctuary, on Facebook.

📣BY TAMMY: “The Wildcat Sanctuary has hosted several big cats including tigers, lions and hybrid big cats 🐯🦁🐾 …

Posted by Wildcat Sanctuary on Monday May 24th, 2021

The Minnesota Sanctuary said several of the confiscated animals are being looked after at their rescue facility while the government requests permanent confiscation. It also offered to transport and care for each of Tiger King Park’s smaller cats as needed.

Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina announced Tuesday that four of the 69 animals confiscated are being cared for at their facility. Two more big cats will be housed at the Lions Tigers & Bears Sanctuary in Alpine, California.

“With several accredited sanctuary teams working with federal officials, it has been an efficient and smooth operation,” Lions Tigers & Bears Founder and Director Bobbi Brink said in a statement.

For years, the Lowes operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, which previously belonged to the documentary series star Joseph Maldanado, also known as “Joe Exotic”. But Lowe’s Animal Welfare Act exhibitor license was suspended in August for “inadequate” and “improper” care and handling of animals, prosecutors said. The couple then moved to Thackerville, Oklahoma, where the 33-acre Tiger King Park is located.

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As of December 2020, the Lowes’ Tiger King Park has undergone three inspections by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Phytosanitary Inspection Service, which have resulted in allegations of harm and molestation to their animals. Prosecutors also said the couple failed to comply with court orders requiring them to employ a qualified veterinarian and establish a veterinary care program in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. The Lowes were recently found in disregard of that order, the DOJ said.

“The animals of the Lowes suffered and continue to suffer from easily preventable or treatable diseases, which in some cases have led to the premature death of animals,” said the Justice Department’s November complaint. “Indeed, in the past two years, many animals have not been seen and / or treated at all by a veterinarian.”

Brink – who criticized the docu series for failing to fully portray the suffering of big cats in facilities like the Lowes – said the health of the relocated animals was critical to the sanctuaries they have taken in.

“Our priority has been to move these big cats to approved shelters where they will receive adequate veterinary care, nutrition, shelter and living space while the court decides what comes next,” she said.