Minnesota wildcat sanctuary takes in seized Tiger King cats

A Minnesota animal shelter has taken in several of the nearly 70 big cats seized last week by the Department of Justice (DOJ) from an Oklahoma zoo featured on Netflix’s popular “Tiger King” series.

The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota, announced in a Facebook post on Monday that it had accepted “Several large cats, including tigers, lions, and large hybrid cats” acquired by the DOJ from Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe in Thackerville, Okla, in a seizure of Tiger King Park.

The seizure was part of an agreement to settle a DOJ complaint against the couple accusing them of repeatedly violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of illegal removal, possession and transport of protected animals as well as the animal protection law through “exhibition of animals without a license for the public and endangering the health of animals”

The Minnesota Sanctuary said that all 68 big cats “have been accepted by accredited sanctuaries in the United States, including The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota, which houses and cares for several tigers, lions, and large hybrid cats while the US Department of Justice seeks loss of the animals. ”

The sanctuary added that it has offered to transport and permanently house smaller cats that may be waiting to be housed.

Tammy Thies, founder and CEO of The Wildcat Sanctuary, described the seizure of the cats as “historic and important” in a statement in Monday’s Facebook post.

“I am grateful for the coordinated efforts of several respected sanctuaries and federal agencies to ensure these cats were safely removed,” Thies wrote, adding that ESA “is a federal act to protect endangered animals and myself and the entire accredited sanctuary community.” , I am very relieved that these big cats are receiving the care and nutrition they desperately need and deserve. “

Carolina Tiger Rescue, a North Carolina big cat sanctuary, also announced on Facebook that it will temporarily care for four of the big cats that have been removed from Tiger King Park.

Pam Fulk, executive director of the Pittsboro Sanctuary, said in the statement, “We are delighted that the Justice Department is working hard to improve the lives of big cats in captivity, starting with Tiger King Park.”

“We thank everyone who was involved in this operation,” added Fulk.

In announcing the seizure last week, the DOJ said the Department of Agriculture (USDA) The Animal and Phytosanitary Inspection Service had conducted three inspections of Tiger King Park since December, during which the Lowes received “citations for not providing adequate or timely veterinary care, adequate nutrition and protection from inclement weather to the animals of sufficient size to so that they can behave normally. ”

The Lowes opened Tiger King Park after it closed its in Wynnewood, Okla., Following a USDA license ban.

Wynnewood Park and its former co-owner Joseph Maldonado Passage, better known as “Joe Exotic, “Were featured in the documentaries” Tiger King “.