Joe Exotic and a tiger

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Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22 year jail sentence

The exotic cat zoo made famous by the Netflix series Tiger King is closing for good.

Current owner Jeff Lowe announced the decision in a Facebook post, blaming “the pressures of” animal rights charity Peta.

It comes after a federal judge ordered the zoo be handed over to Carole Baskin as part of a ruling in a $1m (£800,000) trademark dispute.

That meant the current operators had to be out in 120 days.

Jeff Lowe is the former business partner of Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year sentence for his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot and animal abuse.

“The Tiger King phenomenon has definitely changed our lives in many ways,” he said in his post.

“It has brought us more attention than any human deserves, good and bad.

“It has, and probably will continue to make us a target of every nutjob and animal rights loon in the world, but we are prepared.”

Jeff added that his “new park” will be a “private film set for Tiger King related television content for cable and streaming services”.

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Joe Exotic’s rival Carole Baskin

Tiger King, which became a huge hit on Netflix right at the start of lockdown, tells of Joe Exotic’s colourful life and his rivalry with Carole Baskin, the owner of an animal sanctuary in Florida.

“It has also provided us with an unfathomable source of income,” said Jeff.

The streaming service has reportedly secured the rights to a second season – but the show’s popularity means there are already lots of spin-offs on the way, including Nicolas Cage starring as Joe Exotic in an eight-part series.

Carole Baskin herself hasn’t been far from the headlines since the series came out. Earlier this month it was revealed she is facing a lawsuit from the family of her ex-husband Don Lewis, who disappeared in 1997 and is presumed dead.

There are a number of theories over what happened to him, including suggestions Carole was responsible after receiving most of his £4.5m estate – something she has always strongly denied.

The series brought those theories to a wide audience, and immediately after its release Carole said the show had “no regard for the truth”.

“The unsavoury lies are better for getting viewers.”

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