Carole Baskin, the Big Cat Activist and Founder of Big Cat Rescue
Carole Baskin has been a controversial figure in recent years, thanks to her appearance in the popular Netflix documentary series “Tiger King”. While the documentary mainly focused on her feud with rival Joe Exotic, it also raised questions about the source of her wealth and the disappearance of her second husband, Don Lewis.
A Mysterious Disappearance
Don Lewis was a millionaire businessman who married Baskin in 1991. He was heavily involved in the breeding and selling of big cats and supported Baskin in her animal rights activism. However, Lewis vanished without a trace in 1997, sparking questions and rumors about what might have happened to him.
One of the most significant questions surrounding Lewis’s disappearance is the origin of his wealth. Lewis had made his fortune through a chain of used car dealerships; he was known for his frugality, but rumors suggest that he may have been involved in secretive dealings.
Theories abound regarding Lewis’s business practices. One theory is that he could have been involved in money laundering through his car dealership, purchasing cars for cash and then reselling them to international buyers as a way to launder money. Another theory is that he could have been involved in the illegal wildlife trade.
However, these theories are speculative, and there is no concrete evidence to support them. Lewis’s disappearance remains a mystery, and there is no evidence to suggest that Baskin was involved in any way.
Activism and Wealth
While the source of her wealth is straightforward, Carole Baskin has been involved in activism for decades, advocating for wild animal rescue and against the private ownership of big cats and other exotic animals.
Baskin inherited her first husband’s estate in 1981 after he died in a plane crash. She used the funds to start a small animal sanctuary, which eventually became Big Cat Rescue. Since then, Baskin has become a prominent animal rights activist, speaking out about the mistreatment of exotic animals and raising awareness of their plight.
Baskin’s involvement in the tiger trade was a significant part of “Tiger King.” Joe Exotic accused Baskin of being a hypocrite, breeding and selling big cats while advocating for their protection. But Baskin denies these allegations, claiming that she only rescues and cares for big cats that have been mistreated or abandoned.
While Baskin has been a controversial figure, her activism has undoubtedly contributed to awareness of the exploitation and mistreatment of big cats. The private ownership and breeding of these animals remain legal in some states, leading to widespread abuse and neglect. Big Cat Rescue, the sanctuary that Baskin founded, provides a sanctuary for rescued big cats, offering them lifelong care and protection.
Carole Baskin’s appearance on “Tiger King” and the controversy surrounding her and her late husband, Don Lewis, have brought increased attention to the problems faced by big cats in captivity. While questions persist about Lewis’s disappearance, Baskin’s wealth comes from the straightforward source of her inheritance from her first husband. Baskin’s activism has helped raise awareness of the challenges faced by these animals, and Big Cat Rescue remains a vital sanctuary for rescued big cats. Regardless of the controversies that have arisen, Carole Baskin remains an impassioned advocate for animal rights and a vital voice in the movement to protect big cats and other exotic animals.