US officials have seized 68 big cats from the zoo featured in the Netflix series Tiger King.
The animals were seized as part of a case against Jess and Lauren Lowe, the zoo’s owners, who have allegedly violated the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
According to a press release by the Department of Justice, the confiscated animals included 46 tigers, 15 lion-tiger hybrids, seven lions, and one jaguar.
The release further stated that the Department of Justice had “conducted three inspections of Tiger King Park in Thackerville, Oklahoma, since mid-December 2020.” During the inspections, the Lowes were issued multiple citations for failing to properly care for the animals.
According to the release, the zoo owners failed “to provide the animals with adequate or timely veterinary care, appropriate nutrition, and shelter that protects them from inclement weather and is of sufficient size to allow them to engage in normal behavior.”
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After failing to comply with the court orders that required the Lowes “to employ a qualified veterinarian and establish and maintain a program of veterinary care that meets the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act,” officials decided to remove the big cats from the location and care of the Lowes.
A federal affidavit further noted that upon inspection, it was discovered that many of the animals had bone disorders associated with an inadequate diet.
Beyond neglecting the animals in their care, the affidavit additionally stated that the Lowes harassed the government employees conducting the inspections, and Lauren even threatened to kill one of them.
In the press release, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, Jean E. Williams of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said, “This seizure should send a clear message that the Justice Department takes alleged harm to captive-bred animals protected under the Endangered Species Act very seriously.”
According to a post by the Animals, Tigers, and Bears big cat and exotic animal sanctuary in San Diego, California, the animals confiscated from the zoo were transported to three different animal sanctuaries.Whizzco