Carole Baskin on Destroying Joe Exotic’s ‘Tiger King’ Zoo: ‘I Wish I Could’ve Stayed There for Weeks’
While Netflix released the second season of Tiger King, Carole Baskin had her own show on discovery+. Baskin did not participate in Tiger King 2, and even filed a lawsuit to try to prevent them from using any footage of her. However, Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight provides some closure to the saga. As Baskin prepares Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic’s zoo to sell, she gets to crush his tiger cages personally.
Baskin spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by Zoom on Nov. 19. We’ll have more with her about Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight, but here’s what she said about getting to destroy the Greater Wynnewood Zoo featured on Tiger King.
Destroying Joe Exotic’s zoo was cathartic for Carole Baskin
In Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight, Baskin searches the Greater Wynnewood Zoo for evidence against Maldonado-Passage before she transfers it to the new owners. While tearing down the cages where he kept big cats, as seen in Tiger King, Baskin got to drive the steam shovel herself. She said it was cathartic for her.
“It was and I wish I could’ve stayed there for weeks until every single one of those cages was smashed flat to the ground,” Baskin told Cheat Sheet. “Just thinking about all of the suffering that went on there, I couldn’t beat enough out of the cages to get that out of my spirit.”
There’s still more you didn’t see in ‘Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight’
Discovery+ streamed two episodes of Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight. Baskin said there’s much more to post-Tiger King efforts than those two episodes showed. Discovery+ has the material for more episodes, or you can follow Baskin’s work in real life.
“We have so much stuff,” Baskin said. “We probably filmed 100 hours of film for the two hours that people saw. So I don’t know whether or not they will continue with the series and whether they do or not, I’ll continue to do the work that I’ve always done. But there is so much good stuff that people haven’t seen yet, even just from the work that we’ve already done.”
Baskin said Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight has led to more tips on animal abusers. She also continues her pursuit of Doc Antle and Mario Tebraue, part of which features in Cage Fight.
“I always get tips about these animal abusers and things that they’re doing, so I’m always following up on those,” Baskin said. “But since Carole Baskin’s Cage Fight came out, I’m getting even more of those. So starting to try and triage, what are the most important ones where we think we can make the biggest difference are things that I’m working out in my head right now.”
Drones work predates ‘Tiger King’ and will continue
While Baskin excavates the Greater Wynnewood Zoo, Cage Fight shows she also investigates other zoos and sanctuaries who could be abusing big cats. Cage Fight shows how Baskin’s team flies drones over properties to find evidence they’re keeping big cats illegally. Baskin said this has been part of her activism long before Tiger King.
“We’ve been using drones probably since drones came out and were available to people like us, because it’s the only way you’re ever going to see behind the scenes at these places,” Baskin said. “So in this particular case, we gathered footage not only at the Thackerville zoo, but also you may have seen that we did that a bit at [Safari’s Sanctuary]. We turned that in to the USDA and the Department of Justice so that they could see the conditions there.”
Baskin said she has seen no updates in the USDA records since she provided that evidence. However, that is unfortunately normal in her line of work.
“When we report even the most egregious animal suffering, cats that aren’t getting veterinary care, it’s often six years of people filing just complaint after complaint after complaint before the government does anything,” Baskin said. “Right now there’s something like a two year backlog, so when we turned over those videos of the aerial shots, they said, ‘It’s going to be two years before anybody even looks at it.’”