WYNNEWOOD, Okla. (AP) — Federal officials are investigating an Oklahoma zoo made famous in Netflix's “Tiger King” series after an animal rights group accused it of neglect.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park after a whistle blower provided them with photos and video of animals suffering from flystrike, according to the nonprofit's release.
Flystrike is a condition in which flies, usually drawn to uncleared animal waste, bite animals and lay eggs on them. The maggots eat away at their skin, HOKH-TV reported.
An investigation is underway with U.S. Game & Fish, State Wildlife, the USDA and Garvin County Sheriff’s Department.
Jeff Lowe, who operates the zoo, has not returned the TV station’s request for comment. Garvin County Sheriff Jim Mullet said that Lowe is cooperating with authorities.
Lowe took over the zoo in 2016 to assist Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year federal prison term for killing five tigers and plotting to have his rival Carole Baskin killed. Earlier this month, a federal judge awarded ownership of the zoo to Baskin.
Injured animals are receiving veterinarian care and the USDA is monitoring them, according to the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department’s release.