When federal officials confiscated all the big cats at Tiger King Park, Thackerville, OK, this week, they left numerous animals behind. The animals may not be receiving proper care and several of the animals have been released. Jeff and Lauren Lowe have left the property and neighbors say they have not returned.
Steve Hindi, President of the animal welfare organization SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), said his group was flying their drone over Tiger King Park while federal officials confiscated 68 big cats earlier this week. The big cats were the only animals at the park that authorities were authorized to confiscate because they're protected by the Endangered Species Act. Hindi said after officials loaded the big cats on Tuesday, they left the rest of the animals behind. The animals remaining at Tiger King Park include wolves, tortoises, emus, a camel, horses, burros, a goat, monkeys, caracals, bobcats, foxes and others.
“While we were there, we only saw one guy giving any care, briefly, with one white bucket, throwing some food around very haphazardly,” Hindi said, referring to Tiger King Park employee Erik Cowie.
SHARK’s drone captured footage of a camel that was lying down nearly the entire time the group was obtaining footage at the park on Tuesday, which made them concerned about the animal’s welfare.
At Jeff and Lauren’s February USDA inspection, officials recorded 86 big cats and 64 other animals at Tiger King Park. Several species that are unregulated by the USDA were also at Tiger King Park, such as reptiles, birds, horses and donkeys. Those animals were not counted at the February USDA inspection.
Drone images captured May 18 at Tiger King Park. Images provided by SHARK.
Some animals at Tiger King Park have been released into the surrounding properties. Neighbors have reported seeing an albino raccoon, a porcupine and a peacock.
“It is a real mess and we are very concerned,” Hindi said.
Justin Hicks of the Wynnewood Zoo: Information Sharing Facebook page said the situation has been called in to the Sheriff’s Office, but officials refuse to take action.
“We’re trying to get bigger organizations involved,” he said.
Hindi said the sheriff has not been responsive to requests in the past.
“The sheriff won’t even respond,” Hindi said. “He won’t respond to the neighbors. He is either completely worthless or he is in Lowe’s pocket which would make him no better than worthless.”
SHARK is concerned the animals may not have food and water and his organization has been unable to get any confirmation that the animals are being cared for.
“If we’re being told over the next couple days here that these animals are not getting care, we’re going to head back down there,” Hindi said. “We are not going to let these animals be allowed to rot while they’re still alive.”
The Wildcat Sanctuary, an accredited facility in Minnesota, has offered transportation and placement for any of the wildcats remaining at Tiger King Park.