The Tale of Joe’s Tigers: Where They Are Now
In the late 1990s, Joe Exotic, a self-proclaimed tiger breeder and zoo owner, started acquiring tigers via illegal means, using his roadside zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, as a front. Joe’s Tigers became famous, and he used the animals to attract visitors to his zoo, which had a reputation for animal abuse and poor living conditions.
What Happened to Joe’s Tigers?
After Joe Exotic’s arrest, the federal authorities took over his zoo and its animals. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that the authorities decided to move Joe’s tigers to a more suitable location—the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that provides a habitat for rescued big cats from abusive situations. The sanctuary covers 789 acres of land, allowing the animals to roam free in the open space. The organization’s mission is to rescue large carnivores from captivity and provide them with a better quality of life.
The Relocation Process
The process of relocating Joe’s tigers was a massive undertaking, as the sanctuary had to create habitats for each animal. The tigers had to undergo medical exams and receive vaccinations before leaving Oklahoma. They also had to be trained to use their new habitats, which simulate the tigers’ natural environment.
The Tigers in Their New Home
Joe’s tigers arrived at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in November 2018. According to Pat Craig, the sanctuary’s executive director, the tigers were in good health and had a smooth transition to their new environment. The tigers were named after fictional characters from the movie The Lion King, and they now live in a protected area with plenty of space to roam.
The tigers’ new habitats provide them with opportunities to engage in natural behaviors such as chasing food, climbing trees, and swimming in lakes or pools. They receive daily enrichment activities, including puzzle feeders, ropes, and toys that encourage natural behavior.
The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance
The Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA) played a crucial role in the transfer of Joe’s tigers. The BCSA is a group of nonprofit big cat sanctuaries dedicated to moving large carnivores from captivity to accredited sanctuaries. The BCSA works to ensure that big cats receive the care and respect they deserve while in captivity.
Joe Exotic’s tigers were once a source of wonder and entertainment for thousands of zoo-goers, but their living conditions were far from ideal. Fortunately, the federal authorities stepped in and moved Joe’s tigers to a more suitable environment where they can be free to roam and engage in natural behaviors. Thanks to the Wild Animal Sanctuary, Joe’s tigers now have a better quality of life, and they can live their lives as naturally as possible. The sanctuary’s staff provides the tigers with care and enrichment activities that encourage natural behavior, allowing them to thrive and be happy. Future generations will benefit from the action taken to rescue and house these incredible creatures.