EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge says it had a hand in rescuing 68 big cats from Jeffery and Lauren Lowe’s Tiger King Park previously owned by Joe Exotic.
The wildlife refuge said in a press release a federal judge in January ordered the Lowes to surrender all big cat cubs in their possession under the age of one year as well as the mothers of the cubs to the U.S. government.
The release says a judge found that the Lowes had violated the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
The big cats were seized after the Lowes were deemed non-compliant with court orders to increase the quality of care they were providing their animals, according to the release.
Turpentine Creek says it was contacted by the Department of Justice to assist in the rescue. Team Members made two trips to Oklahoma, bringing back 13 animals total. The release says the refuge assisted in the transport of 8 animals to other sanctuaries and facilitated the placement of other cats at refuges within the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance.
The cats are undergoing medical examinations by Turpentine Creek’s staff veterinarian, according to the release.
Turpentine Creek President Tanya Smith has been working with the DOJ and BCPSA for months on the rescue. Smith says she is grateful the animals are safe at proper facilities.
Smith views the court’s ruling and DOJ’s seizure as a win not only for the case that were affected, but for other big cats who may benefit from the precedent set by the case.