Tiger King: Producers share tragic update on Joe Exotic’s zoo ‘A lot of them will die’

Netflix has quickly become the best place for true crime documentaries over the years, and Tiger King became the platform’s latest craze when it was released last week. Viewers all over the world are still keeping up with the strange tale of Joe Exotic.

The eccentric zookeeper, musician, internet personality and budding politician became the centre of a global sensation when Tiger King was released on Netflix.

Limited series like Making a Murderer and Wild, Wild Country have pulled in major numbers for the streaming platform, and Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin’s insane investigation into the life of Joe Exotic was no exception.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, self-isolators have been desperate for new content to tide over the boredom of social distancing, and Tiger King arrived just in the nick of time.

Since it was released on Netflix on March 20, streaming fans have been going wild for the unbelievable story of zookeeper rivalries, exotic animal trade, blackmail and backstabbing, which has even drawn connections with pop star sensation, Britney Spears.


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Joe Exotic’s problematic exotic zoo, which houses hundreds of animals, including Joe’s collection of 225 tigers, has sparked some nasty reactions from viewers as the documentary exposes the issues behind the USA’s animal trade.

Filmmakers Eric and Rebecca have recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss reactions to the series, and revealed some challenging news.

With Joe Exotic currently serving a 22-year prison sentence over attempts to solicit the murder of rival zoo owner Carole Baskin, the producers speculated what could happen to the exotic park. 

Eric Goode said: “Some of these operations make a lot of money, some don’t and there’s everything in between so it all depends.

“In Joe’s case, he really struggled to feed 225 tigers. And I can only think of what’s happening right now at Joe’s old zoo under the management of Jeff Lowe.”

Now the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted public gatherings, entertainment businesses, like zoos and safari parks, will be struggling to stay afloat as the number of visitors plummets.

Independent business owners who rely on seasonal waves of clients may find it difficult to reopen once the situation has cleared, and for zoos this sadly means the animal residents could be facing a tough few months.

Eric continued: “All I can tell you is that he is basically operating on fumes. No one is going now and there’s no source of income, and that’s been going on for a long time.”

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Not only has the coronavirus pandemic damaged businesses everywhere, but it’s easy to imagine Tiger King’s exposé on Joe’s zoo tarnishing its reputation for future clients.

The producer added: “But I think that it’s very sad what’s happening to these animals.

“Some will be placed but I would suspect a lot of them will die from starvation, and probably be put down.”

Finally, he concluded that this isn’t just true of Joe Exotic’s controversial zoo, but animal parks and reservations across the States may be forced to close or find new homes for some of the residents.


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“This is probably true for a lot of operations around the country right now that keep exotic animals, and even big zoos are struggling right now to keep their animals.”

If even major zoological projects across the States are fighting for survival, it could spell disastrous news for Joe Exotic’s home for big cats.

Producers Eric and Rachel have also teased a follow-up documentary series, so viewers could be treated to an insight into the life of new owner Jeff Lowe in the coming years.

Tiger King is available to stream on Netflix.

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