Since Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness was released in March, fans have wondered if Joe Exotic’s park is still open. Netflix’s Tiger King—which followed the rise and fall of Joe Exotic, the owner of Oklahoma’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park—released its eighth and final episode on Sunday, April 12. In the episode, host Joel McHale interviewed several of the main players from the seven-episode docuseries—including Jeff Lowe, who took ownership of the G.W. Park after Joe went bankrupt and was sentenced to 22 years in prison for murder-for-hire and animal abuse.
“The zoo is shut down, obviously, right now because of the pandemic?” Joel asked Jeff and his wife, Lauren Lowe. “Yes,” the couple confirmed. The comedian then asked the couple if the tigers are “keeping six feet away from each other” amid the coronavirus crisis, to which Jeff responded, “You know, most of them do. But every once in a while, you’ll hear some hanky panky going on out there. So some of them are breaking the rules.”
While the park is closed now, Joe wrote on his Facebook that the zoo “two of the busiest days this park has ever seen” the weekend after Tiger King‘s release. He also wrote that on the Sunday after the docuseries’ premiere, there was a line of cars half a mile down the road to get into the park. However, the fandom didn’t last long. In his Facebook post, Jeff stated that he would not reopen the park that following Monday until he received the go-ahead from Oklahoma’s governor. “We are a licensed agricultural entity, but the crowds have been huge since the Netflix show and we have difficulty in controlling that much traffic at one time,” he wrote. “We want to accommodate everyone, it just might not be possible to do safely.”
Jeff’s accounts differ from Tiger King director Eric Goode told Entertainment Weekly about the park’s success following Joe’s imprisonment. “All I can tell you is that he is basically operating on fumes. No one is going now and there’s no source of income, and that’s been going on for a long time,” he said. “But I think that it’s very sad what’s happening to these animals. Some will be placed but I would suspect a lot of them will die from starvation, and probably be put down.”
As of now, the zoo is home to more than 250 tigers and lions. Before its closure, it was open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, 365 days of the year with a $15 general admission ticket. It’s unclear what will happen to the park after coronavirus, though there are reports that Jeff may close down Joe’s old park to open his own zoo.