Inside derelict zoo where Tiger King Joe Exotic and his animals roamed

Inside derelict zoo where Joe Exotic and his tigers roamed: Animal park from Netflix smash hit is now run down and ramshackle after closure two years ago

  • Joe Exotic became famous – and infamous – after Netflix series chronicled exploits of Oklahoma zookeepers
  • Exotic’s GW Zoo shut for good two years ago after he was convicted of paying for a hit on rival Carole Baskin
  • Incredible video shows abandoned, filthy GW Zoo after torrid ownership by Jeff Lowe followed by Baskin
  • Baskin vowed to never allow the site to become a tourist site again and sold the land, which is now disused
  • Hateful and violent graffiti targeted at Baskin is strewn across buildings, where dirty merchandise piles up
  • Now cancer-stricken, Exotic was moved from federal prison in Texas to  a medical center in North Carolina

Eerie new video shows the appalling state of Tiger King Joe Exotic’s infamous GW Zoo in Oklahoma two years after fierce rival Carole Baskin closed it for good.

With filth flooding the site and violent graffiti about Carole Baskin adorned on the grey walls, the Greater Wynnewood Zoo is a shadow of its former self.

Exotic, 58, and his wacky but controversial tourist attraction shot to fame after featuring prominently in the Netflix smash hit true crime series ‘Tiger King’.

The series followed eccentric Exotic and his fiery rivalry with fellow zookeeper Carole Baskin, who Exotic and others accused of murdering her ex-husband Don Lewis in the late-Nineties.

As Covid swept the world in spring 2020, viewers on both sides of the Atlantic were hooked by the pair’s petty exploits. But it culminated in Exotic hiring a hit squad to kill Baskin, the Tiger King’s conviction and imprisonment, and the closure of his zoo for good.

Stunning drone footage shows the filthy and vacant site of GW Zoo, previously a tourist haunt owned by Tiger King Joe Exotic

Once a bright green animal center in rural Oklahoma, GW Zoo is brown, decrepit and derelict, newly shot drone video shows

Exotic, pictured with one of his beloved big cats (left) and in a prison mugshot (right), is behind bars after being found guilty of 17 federal charges including two counts of murder-for-hire and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act

Visitors are pictured interacting with big cats at the once-luscious and well looked after GW Zoo in southern Oklahoma

Once a green and pleasant environment – at least for humans – GW Zoo was owned and operated by eccentric Exotic (left)

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, attempted to bribe an FBI agent to murder Baskin. He was recorded saying: ‘Just like follow her into a mall parking lot and just cap her and drive off.’

After the Netflix series became an unlikely phenomenon, Jeff Lowe tried to exploit the zoo’s newfound fame, reopening the zoo as ‘Tiger King Park’ in May 2020. 

But within weeks an Oklahoma judge handed Baskin, 60, control of GW Zoo altogether. She vowed never to reopen it or any other tourist site on the complex. 

The site is now covered in graffiti alleging Carole Baskin murdered her husband Don. He mysteriously disappeared in 1997

Under new management: Carole Baskin (pictured left and right in Tiger King), who owns nearby sanctuary Big Cat Rescue, is now sole owner of GW Zoo

Baskin and husband Howard found the park flooded with rotten meat, graffiti alleging she murdered her ex-husband and filth in every corner. Since their takeover two years ago, it has been laid to ruin.

After rumors spread that the site was haunted, a crew from Netflix series Ghost Adventures even filmed their Halloween special at the vacant, vandalized site.

Exotic now has ‘aggressive’ prostate cancer and was moved in late 2021 from federal prison in Texas to a health center in North Carolina. 

Despite pleas for a presidential pardon by Joe Biden and compassionate release, he is still serving a 21-year sentence for two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of violating the Lacey conservation act, and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act.

Even when his zoo was open, Exotic was criticised for the animals’ cramped cages, small feeding portions and the questionable welfare of his zookeepers.

Once a relaxing cabin for GW Zoo animal trainers, buildings on the site are now filled with garbage, leaves and filthy mold

Dirty old merchandise, broken furniture and plenty of bad smells are all that can be found in the GW Zoo complex these days

He is now focused on fighting cancer. Exotic said in November that he had a CT scan with discouraging results. ‘They are concerned it is in my stomach and pelvis. I have not had any treatment or anything since May. I puke when I pee – the pain is that bad’, he told The Sun.

‘I’m losing weight all the time and the pain in my hip and pelvis hurts. I limp to walk. And my stomach has hurt for over a year.’

The Netflix star said that he hoped to be taken to a specialist medical center for ‘many tests’ including a ‘biopsy of my prostate and bladder, colonoscopy and endoscopy.’

It’s not known how Exotic’s condition has progressed since he entered the North Carolina medical center five months ago.

Exotic, pictured tussling gently with one of his many big cats, was imprisoned partly for violating the Endangered Species Act

Exotic hired attorney John Phillips to pursue compassionate release because Mr Phillips represented the family of Baskin’s missing husband Don Lewis. 

Added to Exotic’s passionate rivalry with Baskin, who owned a nearby zoo, was his conviction Baskin had ordered a hitman to kill Mr Lewis. Mr Lewis disappeared in 1997 with the case still unsolved.

Tiger King co-stars Jeff Lowe and his wife Lauren recently avoided jail time for drunk driving after reaching plea deals. 

Ex-GW Zoo owner and Exotic’s business partner Lowe wrote on Instagram in February: ‘Our unfortunate choice to drink too much last year and get into a vehicle is one we deeply regret … please don’t drink and drive, ever.’

The eerie new footage also shows vandalized rooms which appear damaged on purpose. Jeff Lowe denies any wrongdoing

Jeff exhibited ‘unsteadiness on his feet and his inability to follow the directions’ during a field sobriety test the officer administered, police said, and later registered a 0.18 blood alcohol level on a breathalyzer test, which was twice the legal limit.

Officers said that Lauren ‘was unsteady on her feet’ and exhibited ‘thick slurred speech’ in the incident.

Meanwhile Exotic recently filed divorce from husband Dillon Passage a year after they separated.

The former animal trainer said he is hoping he and his ex, 25, ‘can both move on with their lives and divorce quickly and amicably,’ his lawyer, Autumn Blackledge told TMZ.

The news came twelve months after the bartender reportedly pulled the plug on their four-year marriage via a phone call to the Fort Worth, Texas prison.

New owner Carole Baskin has left the site to rot and promises it will never become a tourist attraction ever again

Rusting cages and cramped animal sanctuaries have been neglected, with no plans to house any animals inside again

Passage reportedly called it quits with Joe because he grew lonely during his husband’s time behind bars and wanted to date again.

In July 2021, he posted a picture of his new boyfriend John, who he called his ‘rock’ and said has helped him ‘get through it all’ during some ‘hard’ times.

Four months prior, Passage detailed his and Joe Exotic’s breakup in a social media post, which read, ‘To answer the main question the public wants to know, yes, Joe and I are seeking a divorce.’

The couple initially tied the knot December 11, 2017, weeks after Exotic’s previous spouse Travis Maldonado, 23, died after accidentally shooting himself October 6, 2017.

Tiger King has now prompted a sequel series by Netflix, a spin-off show about fellow Oklahoma zoo rival Doc Antle, and Joe vs. Carole, a comedy-drama series starring Kate McKinnon and John Cameron as the central duo.

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