Paws Up! To the USDA for finally shutting down Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma.
August 19, 2020
While “Tiger King” Joe Exotic, who was made famous after a blockbuster Netflix documentary series that aired this spring, currently serves his twenty-two years in prison for animal abuse and hiring someone to murder the owner of Big Cat Rescue in Florida, the USDA has shut down his roadside zoo.
After making an announcement on Facebook, current zoo owner Jeffrey Lowe told followers that due to multiple animal welfare violations discovered by the USDA, he has forfeited his exhibitors’ license and closed down the zoo. Lowe plans to use the property privately for future film endeavors, according to Forbes. It is unclear what will become of the animals currently living at the zoo.
For several years, lawmakers have been trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to pass legislation that would limit the unnecessary exposure of wild animals to the public for financial profit, which is a major form of income for roadside attractions such as the G.W. Exotic Animal Park. These parks will offer the public opportunities to “play with” or pet tiger or lion cubs for a fee (sometimes hundreds of dollars). Once the cubs are grown, they are no longer profitable to the facilities, so they often sell them to other zoos, sell them on the black market, or just euthanize them. Read more about the exotic pet trade.
U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) introduced H.R. 1380, or The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would impose more restrictions on the trade of big cats such as tigers, lions, cheetahs, and cougars, as well as restricting direct contact between the public and these wild animals.
Take Action: Please contact your representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1380, The Big Cat Public Safety Act, to ensure that abusers like the owners of The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and other roadside zoo establishments can no longer profit off of the mistreatment of exotic animals!