Joseph Maldonado-Passage, best-known as Joe Exotic, once boasted the “largest tiger collection in the world.” After becoming a local Oklahoma celebrity, Exotic ran for President in 2016, and governor of Oklahoma in 2018. Currently he is serving 22 years in prison for attempting to hire a hitman to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin in 2017. Exotic was found guilty of murder-for-hire, plus falsifying wildlife records and violating the Endangered Species Act by killing five tigers. In a January 2020 Facebook post, Exotic still maintained his innocence and voiced his plans to appeal the sentence.
The target of Joe Exotic’s murderous plot, Baskin still acts as founder and CEO of animal sanctuary Big Cat Rescue. Baskin won a $1 million civil suit against Exotic over copyright infringement, and also tried to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act that targeted exotic breeding-for-profit enterprises like Exotic’s zoo. After Exotic’s prison sentencing, Baskin stated on the Big Cat Rescue website that those around her “have all been in peril because of [Exotic’s] obsession with seeing me dead.” It was also announced that Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon would portray Baskin in a miniseries based on Robert Moor’s podcast, “Over My Dead Body.”
Bhagavan “Doc” Antle
After Joe Exotic was convicted, he claimed that Antle, the founder and director of The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.), brutally euthanized older tigers in gas chambers to make room for new cubs. While this was never proven, Antle has been investigated multiple times including a December 2019 raid on his Myrtle Beach Safari property.
Lowe purchased the G.W. Exotic Animal Park from Joe Exotic, and later accused Exotic of embezzling from the park to fund his political campaigns. Lowe cooperated with the federal investigation against Exotic to receive immunity for his own involvement in the plot against Carole Baskin. Today, Lowe still operates as CEO of G.W. Exotic.
Stark’s license was permanently revoked, and his Indiana sanctuary Wildlife in Need was fined over $300,000 for violating standards. PETA also filed a case against Stark for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act; allegations included declawing tiger cubs so guests could play with them, as well as killing a leopard with a baseball bat. During his February 2020 trail, Stark’s former employee Scott Ehley took the stand to testify about being bitten by a hyena, the poor conditions of the sanctuary included faulty cages, and a lack of employee training for handling wildlife. However, the zoo still remains open.
The former campaign manager for Joe Exotic still lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Dial witnessed Exotic’s husband Travis Maldonado accidentally fatally shoot himself in the head, marking the catalyst for Dial’s inevitable distancing from Exotic. Dial worked at Cowboy Travel Plaza before quitting in March 2020. He is still involved in politics, although has shifted to the Democratic Party, and currently fights for gay rights in Oklahoma. Dial said that Exotic has tried contacting him from jail, but Dial has refused the calls.
The former Inside Edition reporter worked as a producer for Joe Exotic TV before his footage was lost in a mysterious fire, which law enforcement believes to have been arson. Since the unraveling of Exotic’s brand, Kirkham has moved to Norway where he works as a freelance journalist. He also got married to girlfriend Kristin in April 2018.
Kelci “Saff” Saffery
Saffery lost her arm after a tiger mauled her. While she was appalled at Joe Exotic’s actions, she still works as a manager at G.W. Zoo.
Lions, tigers, and murder, oh my!
The latest Netflix true crime docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, tells the story of eccentric Oklahoma zoo owner Joe Exotic and his botched murder-for-hire attempt on activist Carole Baskin.