‘Tiger King’: What Happened to the Cubs From Jeff Lowe’s Las Vegas Party Bus?
If you’ve watched Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, you’ll remember the bit about Jeff Lowe operating a party bus in Las Vegas. The business venture linked Vegas partygoers with exotic cub-petting in an inconspicuous bus Lowe drove up and down the strip. A lot happened since then. Where are those cubs now? Here’s what we know.
Jeff Lowe once ran a party bus operation, as shown in ‘Tiger King’
As mentioned in the seven-part docuseries on Netflix, Tiger King, Jeff Lowe once allegedly ran a party bus operation — The Jungle Bus — on the Las Vegas strip.
Per a previous story via The Beaufort Gazette, Lowe advertised “two tours daily to a top-secret hideout.” The now-defunct website said customers would have “up to an hour to interact with baby lions, baby tigers, monkeys, kangaroos, and other animals.” The site added, tickets ran $100 per person.
In a deleted Facebook post, Lowe planned to expand the business before it shut down.
“We have another bus being built for other cities. To all you counties and cities that impose zoning restrictions for animal-based business? Try to zone a moving vehicle! You can either choose to work with me, or I’ll expose holes in your ordinances, big enough to drive a bus through,” the post said.
The Oklahoman noted this came after the closing of Lowe’s Neon Jungle OKC — a mall petting zoo that featured tiger and bear cubs in which customers could pose for photos.
In July, Lowe closed Neon Jungle OKC at a mall in Oklahoma City. At the petting zoo, customers could play and take photos with tiger and bear cubs.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed complaints leading Oklahoma City Animal Welfare to investigate. Lowe claimed he closed Neon Jungle due to low foot traffic.
As the new owner of The Oklahoma Zoo — Joseph Maldonado’s (aka Joe Exotic) previously-named G.W. Zoo — Lowe faced charges for “operating a business without a license” and “having no license or permit for wild and farm animals.”
What happened to the party bus cubs?
Despite Tiger King fame, Lowe still faces charges. But, where are the animals from the party bus now? We don’t have an update on all of the animals.
According to Fox 5 News in Las Vegas, two cubs, and a lemur, were “rehomed and rehabilitated at an animal sanctuary in Pahrump, Nevada.”
Previous reports revealed the cubs were “severely underweight, had parasites and were sickly as they were being passed from tourist to tourist for viewing pleasure.” The lemur’s conditions are unknown.
Scott Shoemaker of the rescue, Rexano, corroborated the update. He was featured with his partner briefly in the first episode of Tiger King. However, he said their appearance didn’t make the final cut because they were “too normal”
“They were both underweight. They couldn’t digest any food. They’ll be on medications for the rest of their lives,” Shoemaker said.
Since then, the cubs have recovered. As of April 7, one cub, now 3 years old, was renamed from “Vegas” to “Spunky. The other, a liger (lion-tiger) named Baisley, was recovered at just 15 pounds and three months old. Shoemaker said she has “made significant strides” in her recovery.
Lowe’s hearings have been postponed
Lowe failed to appear in court for those party bus charges. The Las Vegas Municipal Court issued bench warrants, according to a spokesperson for the City of Las Vegas, Jace Radke.
However, Lowe may have gotten lucky. The fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led the court to change current policies. Radke said the leniency applied to all bench warrants — not to “pick and choose” — but is an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
This week, Lowe’s attorney filed a motion to have the warrants tossed. The courts granted the motion considering the current circumstances. Lowe is expected to appear on June 1. If he skips out again, Radke said the court will issue the bench warrants again.
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is available on Netflix now.