TV Shows and movies always have the main character buy a tiger to symbolize wealth and power. Law & Order: SVU, Narcos: Mexico, and even Scarface come to mind. Buying big cats isn’t something strictly reserved for fiction, though. Purchasing these deadly animals is apparently a community. A wildly protective and backstabbing community that will do anything they can to ensure their money makers are not taken from them. That is why a documentary series like Tiger King is an absolute must-watch. Not only do you get an inside look at the world of big cat owners, but you have a front-seat view to the Joe Exotic show.
Joe Exotic formally operated the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, which was more of a backyard with big cats than it was a zoo. As a breeder of tigers, his rag-tag team of misfits and former convicts take care of tigers, lions, and yes, even bears. It’s hard to know at first if Joe really ever cared about his animals. While Joe claimed to love these ferocious animals, there were also claims of abuse, overbreeding, and even killing his own animals. Plus, these kinds of animals don’t belong in cages and Joe didn’t see anything wrong with this.
Too Wild to Believe
And he wasn’t alone. Other owners of similar parks had no problem exploiting their tigers and lions. In some cases, some would kill their big cats when they weren’t at the age where they could be played with by guests. There were a few common themes in Tiger King. Not only the abuse of animals, but the manipulation of those around them. While other park owners would essentially control multiple women at a time, Joe Exotic had his thumb on several men. What I can say is, these people are essentially cult leaders. Joe would sink his teeth into the downtrodden and manipulate them into being with him. For one man, the ending was especially tragic.
On the other hand, you had Carole Baskin – a wildlife conservationist who vehemently opposed Joe and people like him. Carole and Joe’s feud would eventually lead to Joe’s current incarceration. Every time you thought that Tiger King couldn’t get any crazier, it did. Joe Exotic was a character, but you really didn’t find yourself laughing a lot. Mostly, you’ll be asking yourself “what the f*ck” and going “oh my god”. It’s a wild documentary series that you cannot peel your eyes away from.
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