Joe’s Tigers: The Lives and Welfare of Abused and Exploited Tigers in Oklahoma
History of Joe’s Tigers
Joe Exotic, the former owner of the now-defunct G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, housed over 200 animals, including 100 tigers. Visitors were attracted to the park’s tigers, where they could cuddle with tiger cubs, ride on the back of adult tigers, and watch tiger shows.
Behind the scenes, however, the park faced allegations of animal neglect and abuse. In the end, the government seized the park, and Joe Exotic was sentenced to prison. The fate of the tigers, unfortunately, remained uncertain.
Where Are They Now?
Most of the tigers in Joe’s zoo were transferred to animal sanctuaries for proper care, attention, and welfare when the park was shut down. The Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Tampa, Florida, founded by Joe’s rival Carole Baskin, rescued several of Joe’s tigers, where they now receive adequate medical attention and diets in natural spaces. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit sanctuary in Arkansas, also rescued several of Joe’s tigers and offers them natural habitats in their unexploited lives.
Several other sanctuaries such as Lions Tigers & Bears, Wildcat Ridge Sanctuary, and Carolina Tiger Rescue have taken in other big cats previously living in G.W. Exotic Animal Park, where volunteers ensure permanent sanctuaries for these wild animals rescued from fur farms and other exploitative facilities.
Future of Joe’s Tigers
The future of Joe’s tigers and other big cats is currently uncertain. While many have been rescued from their exploitative past, others remain in captivity or have been transferred to zoos with unclear animal welfare practices. However, supporters of animal welfare continue to campaign for the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which aims to ban the private ownership of big cats and prevent their breeding, trading, and selling. With this bill’s introduction, advocates hope to protect big cats from further exploitation and abuse.
Joe’s tigers, once exploited and mistreated under unfortunate circumstances, have now been rescued by several sanctuaries dedicated to animal welfare. While many have found new homes, others remain captive in facilities with unknown animal welfare practices. Especially in times like these, when animal welfare and conservation is of utmost importance, it is essential to support legislation such as the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which aims to protect big cats from exploitation, abuse and give them the rights they deserve.