One unexpected consequence of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown is that millions of people now know who the Tiger King is, why he’s called that, which prison he currently resides in, why he’s feuding with Carole Baskin (who has problems of her own that millions are now intimately aware of) and what he thinks about everything under the sun. However, Joe Exotic (who millions now know is really Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage) is not the only star of the “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” series on Netflix. There’s also someone named Jeff Lowe and he apparently has some thoughts on animals other than big cats – namely, the Tasmanian tiger or thylacine. Rather than debate why we should care what he thinks (a lengthy and most likely heated debate which won’t end pleasantly), let’s find out if he has anything new to support his claim that the Tasmanian tiger is not extinct.
“It’s not that long ago when the last one died in a zoo so [there should be] one or even a hybrid that maybe was bred with a dog, coyote, wolf or a dingo.”
According to his website, Jeff Lowe’s grandfather founded the Robbin’s Brothers Circus in 1928 and as a result, Lowe says he’s been around big cats his entire life. He opened an exotic animal park in Oklahoma, met Joe Exotic when he attempted to buy a cub from him and ended up taking over Exotic’s park when he got in trouble. Unfortunately, Lowe sounds like the kind of person responsible for all of the alien big cat sightings around the world – namely, an irresponsible big cat owner who allegedly organized cub-petting parties in Las Vegas, has had at least one adult tiger escape and has been accused by veterinarians of animal neglect. And yet, we’re still drawn to find out what he thinks about the Tasmanian tiger — that’s the power of celebrity.
“Quit trying so hard to find one because by the time you see him, he has seen you 20 times and if he’s been able to elude humans this long then he’s pretty smart. I think if they ever find one, it’s going to be because somebody has opened up their garage and there he is eating their trash… I doubt they’re going to trick one of these into a cage.”
That bit of insight comes from a recent interview Lowe had with the hosts of the Jimmy & Nat show on Hit 100.9 in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. They obviously had the same hold-your-nose-because-he’s-a-hot-topic interest in Lowe as most people do (You can hear that part of the interview here in The Daily Mail), and his comment on the animal intelligence of the thylacine is the best thing he said. On the other hand, here’s the worst suggestion he had.
“If they find one, I want to put one in my zoo.”
Yikes! Or “Crikey!” as I’m sure they’re screaming down under. If he really wanted to do that, he shouldn’t have appeared on “Tiger King” so millions would find out what he’s really like as an animal owner. Bottom line, we already have far too many unqualified people with enough money to buy an exotic cat but not enough smarts to imagine what’s going to happen when it grows. They’re a danger to society, a danger to the poor animals and a real annoyance to people who would rather hunt for real alleged cryptids like Dogman instead of escaped big cats.
It’s people like this that give the thylacine one more reason to stay hidden.