Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge speaks out regarding ‘Tiger King’ series on Netflix


FILE – This file photo provided by the Santa Rose County Jail in Milton, Fla., shows Joseph Maldonado-Passage. Prosecutors say Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic, tried to arrange the killing of Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue. Lurors were shown a Facebook video Tuesday, March 26, 2019, that depicts Maldonado-Passage shooting a blow-up “Carole” doll in the head. Other videos show him pretending to dig a grave for Baskin and threatening to mail her rattlesnakes. (Santa Rosa County Jail via AP, File)

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs is responding to the wildly popular new Netflix series, “Tiger King.”

While the resort is not featured in the series, which centers around ‘Joe Exotic,’ a gay, gun-toting, mullet-sporting operator of an Oklahoma big cat park, Turpentine Creek says the content does “shed light on the harmful nature of the exotic animal trade and how some facilities decide to treat the animals within their care.”

“Joe Exotic is one of the many animal exploiters that Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is aware of and disapproves of. These facilities; such as those ran by Doc Antle, Tim Stark, James Garretson, and Jeff Lowe who are also featured in this docu-series, exploit animals for profit. They do not work to conserve big cats, only use them to make money,” the refuge said in a press release issued Monday.

Turpentine Creek is a nonprofit located on 450-acres about seven miles south of Eureka Springs. It says it does not buy, sell, trade, loan out or beed their animals and does not offer cub petting or other pay-to-play opportunities.

The organization provides lifetime homes for abandoned, abused and neglected big cats.

“We have been dealing with people like Joe Exotic for 28+ years. We are proud to give these beautiful animals a second chance by providing a great quality forever home where they can relax and live out their lives in big open habitats with great care every day and no one forcing them to do anything but just live,” said Miranda Smith, hospitality coordinator at Turpentine Creek.

The refuge says it also aware of Carole Baskin with Big Cat Rescue (BCR). The organization has worked with BCR in the past and says it is “also a true sanctuary.”

“TCWR plans to continue to work with BCR because they are also working to put an end to the exotic pet trade. They are an accredited facility, a member of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA), and are also accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).”

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge encourages the public to do their own research before visiting any facility that houses big cats or other animals.

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