In a bit of odd news, an Oklahoma court has awarded Carole Baskin control of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. Also known as the GW Zoo, it was once the property of one Joe Schreibvogel, better known as Joe Exotic, the “Tiger King”. Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin’s long-lasting feud is the topic of a mega-popular docuseries on Netflix, aptly named Tiger King.
In the series, Exotic and Baskin battle over the practice of breeding and keeping big cats in cages for profit. The GW Zoo was a popular destination for cub petting, where handlers would pull baby tigers away from their mothers for visitors to pet.
Baskin was a staunch opponent of Exotic’s, arguing that he was neglectful of the big cats in his zoo. Joe was arrested in 2018 for allegedly paying someone to kill Baskin.
Strange Saga Unfolds on the Small Screen
The very bizarre tale was seemingly tailor-made for television. Exotic, a very outspoken and flashy person, seems at home in front of camera crews throughout the documentary.
Baskin, herself an internet celebrity for her work as the CEO of Big Cat Rescue, is also very compelling. The show’s timing, coming right as most states closed businesses due to the coronavirus, made it a huge hit in the US.
The critical point in the story comes when Joe Exotic gives $3,000 to Allen Glover, his zoo’s handyman. Prosecutors in the case alleged that Exotic paid Glover to kill Baskin. Exotic himself insists that the money was a donation so that Glover could leave the zoo behind.
Glover himself states the money was to kill Baskin, but he had no intention of actually committing such an act.
In the end, Exotic was found guilty on some 19 criminal counts and is currently serving out a 22-year prison sentence. Adding more drama and twists to the tale, Baskin is now the owner of the GW Zoo.
An Oklahoma federal judge awarded her control of the zoo after Exotic handed ownership of it off to his mother. The judge ruled that this was an attempt to avoid an earlier judgement that he owed Baskin some $1 million in damages.
Baskin, now the owner of the GW Zoo, has won the victory she so desired. Now, the practice of cub petting in the zoo will come to a close. The ruling also calls for all of the animals on the premises to be moved somewhere else within 120 days. Baskin has stated that her Big Cat Rescue stands “ready to assist” if the animals need to be rehomed there.