WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Seizes Protected Big Cats from Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe’s Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Okla., For persistent Endangered Species Act (ESA) violations.
The Justice Department confiscated up to 68 protected lions, tigers, lion-tiger hybrids, and a jaguar from the Lowes. The Lowes became famous in Netflix’s popular documentary, Tiger King, last year.
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The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Phytosanitary Inspection Service has conducted three inspections of Tiger King Park since mid-December 2020. During these inspections, the Lowes received quotes for failing to provide the animals with adequate or timely veterinary care and nutrition, a shelter that protects them from weather and space large enough to engage in normal big cat behavior.
The Lowes have recently been despised after months of violating court orders requiring them to hire a qualified veterinarian and establish and maintain a veterinary care program that meets the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.
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The United States claims that these ESA protected animals violations are also ESA violations.
“This seizure should send a clear message that the Department of Justice is taking very seriously suspected harm to captive-bred animals protected under the Endangered Species Act,” said Jean E. Williams, Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources of the Ministry of Justice.
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“This vital animal rescue operation of nearly 70 endangered and allegedly abused lions, tigers and a jaguar shows how effective civil decay can be when used in conjunction with laws such as the Endangered Species Act,” said Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Department.
The case is being investigated by the USDA and the Department of the Interior’s FWS. The US marshals were instrumental in executing the warrant and securing the property, which enabled the animals to be removed quickly.
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