Four months before Joe Exotic was arrested on murder-for-hire charges, and two years before Netflix’s Tiger King became a viral sensation, Animal Planet was given exclusive access to his G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma for its “Wolves and Warriors” series. Along with damning footage of animal abuse, the crew also filmed an interview with Mr. Exotic that never saw the light of day. Until now.
In a new trailer for Surviving Joe Exotic, an upcoming Animal Planet documentary that features the big cats who were forced to endure the conditions at G.W. Zoo, the unearthed Exotic interview from 2018 shows the Tiger King star waxing poetic about his love for animals and how he’s not in the zoo business to make money. However, Exotic’s words are juxtaposed with footage of him specifically saying “they’re my f*cking tigers, I’m gonna sell them, and it’s my money.” He also pulls a gun and shoots it at a bird when it interrupts the interview, and that’s where the focus of the show kicks in.
While Exotic was putting on the front of being an animal lover who lived for taking in unwanted tigers and lions, he was really running a big cat breeding business that was built on fast cash more than properly caring for the exotic animals as he peddled them to the next buyer. Surviving Joe Exotic will update audiences on how those animals are doing now that Exotic is in prison, and the documentary hopes to shine a light on the “endless cycle of neglect and mistreatment” in the world of big cats trade.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Animal Planet sits down with former staff members who worked side-by-side with Joe; including former employee Gaylynn Eastwood and former manager Saff Saffery, who lost an arm to one of Joe’s tigers. Most importantly, viewers will follow the touching and inspiring journeys of the animals who survived from under the direct care of Joe Exotic.
We’ll meet Kryxis and Kadira, two visually impaired tiger littermates whose vision was restored after their rescue from the G.W. Zoo through surgery at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Indiana. Viewers will also meet Chobe and Kariba, two lions found traumatized by the pain of inbreeding and spending their lifetimes in a small enclosure, who are relocated to Wildcat Ridge Sanctuary in Oregon.
Surviving Joe Exotic premieres July 25 on Animal Planet.
(Via Animal Planet)