It hasn’t even been a year since Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness came roaring into our lives. But it’s hard to imagine a world where we don’t know who Carole Baskin is, or feel scandalized by the illegal Big Cat trade that targets tigers, lions, and vulnerable big cat species across the country. So as we approach the end of 2020 – the year we all came to know the Tiger King crew – what are the stars up to? Baskin wrote an update on her Big Cat Rescue website, and she’s not pulling any punches. Here’s what the stars are up to now, and what Baskin has to say.
First, Baskin wanted to clarify that she doesn’t feel the show represented events accurately. Baskin’s expose begins with, “Tiger King, Murder, Mayhem and Madness aired on Netflix on March 20, 2020 and by April Variety reported that more than 64 million households had watched it. The bizarre twist to this story of big cat exploiters being called out by me, Carole Baskin, for what I consider egregious animal abuse is that it seemed the producers failed to expose the depths of the neglect and abuse and instead decided to vilify the one person that all exotic animal abusers hate and call out by name: Carol Baskins. (yeah, they can’t get the name right either). So where are all of these exotic cat owners just a few short months later?”
Where is Joe Exotic?
Certainly one of the most memorable Tiger King characters, Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogal Maldonado springs to mind any time someone mentions the show. So what is Exotic up to these days? Not much, really. Exotic is serving 22 years in prison after being convicted of 17 counts of wildlife trafficking and animal abuse.
Baskin added a personal editorial to Exotic’s update; “He was also convicted on murder for hire charges in a plot to have me killed. What most people don’t know is that he’d been rallying his minions to kill me for nearly 15 years by saying I was coming to take their pets from them, including their dogs, cats and goldfish. Failing to motivate anyone to do it for free, in 2014 people started calling me to say he’d offered to pay them do to it. The last person he tried to hire was an undercover FBI agent. On 12/10/2020 the U.S. Department of Justice alerted Joe’s victims that an extra month has been added to his mandatory sentence, so it would appear he can’t follow the rules in jail any better than he could the rules of society.”
Where are Jeff Lowe and Lauren Lowe?
After being found to violate a plethora of animal welfare laws and violating the Endangered Species Act, Jeff Lowe and Lauren Lowe‘s license to display animals was revoked. Both Lowes are subject to a number of fines and court appearance for their behavior, and Baskin considers it a win because it’s forcing the USDA to reassess how they enforce the ESA and what they consider proper animal welfare for these rare and precious species.
Where is Kevin Bhagavan “Doc” Antle?
Kevin Bhagavan “Doc” Antle and his daughters have been indicted on several felony counts of wildlife trafficking, plus a myriad of other misdemeanors. Baskin adds, “Of all of the big cat exploiters we think he’s the smartest one, but is he smart enough to figure out that continuing to charge people to pet cubs is likely to result in fines, revocation of his license to exhibit and maybe even jail time?”
Where is Tim Stark Now?
Due to violations of the Animal Welfare Act, Tim Stark‘s license has been revoked and his animals have been disbursed to various rescue facilities.
Where is Carole Baskin?
Not wanting to leave fans in the dark about her own whereabouts and wellbeing, Baskin included an explanation of what she’s been up to recently; and it’s a lot!
“That’s me! I performed in three episodes of Dancing with The Stars during the month of September in 2020 and was in thousands of articles, TV interviews, radio interviews, podcasts and other media outlets discussing the reasons that big cats should not be held hostage in cages and why we need to save them in the wild before it’s too late. I launched the world’s first virtual reality game to protect big cats for free in the Oculus store for Rift S and for a small fee on all other headsets via Steam. This same game is broadly distributed by SpringboardVR to arcades everywhere and is called Carole Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue VR. I’m one of Cameo‘s most prolific earners, having created more than 2,300 greetings with 400+ fabulous reviews. I’ve done licensing deals with mask manufacturers and have my own Bobblehead and YouTooz dolls. I’m in negotiations for a TV show series on the work we do to end big cat abuse and to write my memoirs. I’m posting my diary entries daily at SaveTheCats.org
12/26/2020 Watch the premiere of Hidden Tiger starring Howard and Carole Baskin and a LOT of scientist, biologist, conservationists and people who are working to save the tiger in this beautifully presented film. Part of the proceeds benefit Big Cat Rescue when you choose to either rent or buy the film here.
Watch for me on New Year’s Eve on CNN with Anderson Cooper and on Fox.”
Howard Baskin is currently working to help transfer the Lowes’ animals to the Big Cat Rescue facility. Both Carole and Howard are still working together to keep the pressure on Congress to revisit animal welfare laws.
As for the Big Cat Rescue Itself?
Baskin had an update for fans about that as well. Baskin writes, “Due to COVID-19 it’s impossible to give tours the way we did in the past, where a guide would lead a small group of 20 or fewer in a close group to explain why big cats don’t belong in cages. Thankfully, our donors have really stepped up to help cover the million dollars plus per year that came from these tours. The licensing deals Howard and I are participating in helps as well. We had to let go half of our staff and still have not been able to hire them back because their roles are diminished by the lack of guest relations and on site gift shop sales. Giving Tuesday and our Wildcat Walkabout were both in November and exceeded our expectations. We were delighted to see that about 20% of our donations came from new donors.
The cats are all doing great though because all of our animal care has always been done by our amazing volunteer force of 80-110 highly trained people who are all still coming in daily to provide care. Not having tours has enabled us to tackle so many projects around the property so things are looking better than ever before. We continue to add LIVE cameras on the cats, do LIVE broadcasts daily to Facebook and YouTube, and we produce 2-4 videos per week with one being traditional high quality movies and the other in 180 3D immersive styles for VR headsets. The unmanned AR Zoos at Citrus Park and Plantation, FL are open and kept stocked with free Big Cat Times magazines and 2021 calendars at the Citrus Park location, while they last.”
We hope the big cats and their carers are staying warm this winter and hope 2021 is less eventful. Thanks for the update, Carole!