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Tiger King Joe Exotic’s zoo has been shut down for good

RIP

Cast your mind back 4,957 years to the beginning of lockdown and, if you concentrate hard enough, you might recall the brief moment we all became obsessed with batshit Netflix Original Tiger King

Telling the story of Oklahoma-based G.W. Zoo owner Joe Exotic and his big cats, his feud with arch-nemesis Carole Baskin, and his struggle to keep the attraction afloat, the series came to a close with Exotic being thrown into jail after being found guilty of 17 charges of animal cruelty and hiring an assassin to take out Baskin (as you do). 

In the time since, the zoo has been left in the hands of Exotic’s former business partner turned rival Jeff Lowe, before last month, it was handed over to Baskin after a court forced Lowe to relinquish it to her. With 120 days to wrap things up and vacate the premises, Lowe revealed today he is shutting the zoo down earlier than anticipated, citing mounting pressure from animal rights organisation Peta as a big factor in his decision.

“The Tiger King phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways,” he wrote in a Facebook post today. “It has brought us more attention than any human deserves, good and bad. It has, and probably will continue to make us the target of every nutjob and animal rights loon in the world, but we are prepared.” 

Lowe also forfeited the license that allowed him to purchase and sell animals, as well as exhibit them within the zoo, with Peta campaigner Brittany Peet calling for it to be permanently revoked. For now, though, the charity sees the closure of the attraction as a long-awaited victory. “Peta looks forward to seeing every one of the long-suffering animals at the G.W. Zoo be transferred to an appropriate facility where it won’t take federal intervention for a sick cat to receive veterinary care,” she wrote in a statement. 

Though the zoo might have shut its doors, we’ve definitely not seen the last of Joe, Jeff, Carole, and co. With Netflix reportedly having secured the rights to a second series, a dramatised spin-off, starring Nicolas Cage in the lead role – as part of what is probably the most genius casting ever known – is also on the way.