The Tiger King saga continued long after the 2020 Netflix series ended. Fans and true crime aficionados followed updates on Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, in prison, Jeff Lowe’s updates on his Greater Wynnewood Zoo, and Carole Baskin’s takeover of said zoo. Tiger King 2 attempts to follow the continuing story, and Baskin has her own update in discovery+’s Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight. In an interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Baskin describes the state in which she found the zoo.
Baskin spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Nov. 19 about Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight. She detailed the state the Greater Wynnewood Zoo was left in, including some things you can’t capture on television.
When courts awarded Baskin the Greater Wynnewood Zoo, she knew she wanted to sell it. Francisco and Nelly Vazquez bought the zoo for $140,000 under the condition that it would not house exotic animals for 100 years. But, getting the property ready for the Vazquezes was no small matter. Baskin expected to raze the property, but there was more.
“The problem was it was just all of those ratty cages that had to be torn down,” Baskin told Cheat Sheet. “He had dug up all of the property and just had stagnant water.”
Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight shows Baskin spending her last 72 hours on the Greater Wynnewood Zoo property looking for evidence against Maldonado-Passage. She finds remnants of Maldonado-Passage’s breeding and display programs. What television couldn’t capture is the smell.
“When we took over, oh my gosh, they had spread raw, rotting chicken over the entire property to the point where all of the neighbors were contacting us and begging us to clean it up because it was bringing in so many flies for their horses,” Baskin said. “Just to make it difficult for us to even go in there. You could smell that place from a mile away. It was the smell of decaying flesh for it seemed like miles around there. It was just unbearable.”
Baskin couldn’t be sure whether it was Lowe or Maldonado-Passage or someone else who left Greater Wynnewood in that state. Lowe kept the tigers and transported them to his new location in Thackerville.
Mario Tabraue could be the most dangerous person in this entire wildlife trafficking network.
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“I don’t know what was going on before they moved the cats,” Baskin said. “I know that they were having a terrible problem with fly strikes and that was part of what got Jeff Lowe in so much trouble was that the conditions there were so filthy that the flies were so thick they were just eating the ears right off of the cats.”
In the first episode of Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight, Maldonado-Passage’s niece, Chelsea Putman, helps Baskin find the spots where her uncle buried dead animals. Baskin uncovers tiger bones and bones of other animals. Her husband, Howard Baskin, sends them to a university to be dated. If they’re less than two years old, Carole says, they’d implicate Lowe since Maldonado-Passage has been in prison.
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“I have not yet, and I don’t know the status on that because my husband is the person who has dealt with the professor there,” she updated us.
We’ll have more with Baskin here on Showbiz Cheat Sheet.