The Oklahoma zoo featured in Netflix’s Tiger King documentary has closed after US officials investigated it for alleged maltreatment of animals and suspended its license.
- US officials investigated the zoo after receiving a formal report
- It included photos showing a lion with its ears covered in flies and another with the tips of its ears covered in blood
- Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park owner Jeff Lowe said his exhibitor license was suspended over a “litany of falsehoods”
The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park closed to the public after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday (local time) suspended the exhibitor license for owner Jeff Lowe for 21 days.
The zoo, previously run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage — also known as Joe Exotic — became famous after being featured in Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.
The Garvin County Sheriff’s Office and USDA investigated the zoo after receiving a formal report that documented photos showing a lion with its ears covered in flies and another with the tips of its ears covered in blood.
But Mr Lowe said in a statement on Tuesday that his license was suspended over a “litany of falsehoods”.
He said he planned to open a new park for private filming for television and streaming services, local news organisation KFOR-TV reported.
Officials at the animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the photos included in the report showed lions suffering from flystrike.
In this condition, flies are usually attracted to uncleared animal waste, bite other animals and lay eggs on them, resulting in hatched maggots eating the skin.
“PETA looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals at the GW Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility where it won’t take federal intervention for a sick cat to receive veterinary care,” said Brittany Peet, the PETA foundation’s deputy general counsel for captive animal law enforcement.
An Indiana district court recently ordered Mr Lowe to provide veterinary records for the lions allegedly not being treated appropriately.