Federal authorities have seized nearly 70 big cats from the Oklahoma zoo featured in the 2020 Netflix documentary series “Tiger King,” the United States Justice Department announced on May 20.
The Justice Department said it has seized a total of 68 big cats — 46 tigers, seven lions, and 15 lion-tiger hybrids — and one jaguar from Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe’s Tiger King Park in Thackerville for ongoing violations of the Endangered Species Act.
During the three inspections conducted by the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service since mid-December 2020, the Lowes received citations for “failing 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,” according to the Justice Department.
According to the affidavit, officials found that the animals have bone diseases due to deficiency of calcium and other necessary nutrients from eating a boneless meat diet.
A court also recently found the Lowes in contempt for failing to comply with court orders that required them to employ a qualified veterinarian and establish a veterinary care program to ensure that the animals receive the care required by the Animal Welfare Act.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas McQuaid said in a statement that the Justice Department will work to ensure that the animals will go to “responsible animal preserves where they can be safely maintained rather than exploited.”