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Michael Jackson’s Scattered Menagerie

Written by Heather Faraid Drennan | November 28, 2011

Despite Conrad Murray’s manslaughter conviction, there will probably always be unanswered questions about Michael Jackson’s life and death. Questions about what happened to the exotic animals Jackson kept as “pets” may never be answered either, since the whereabouts of some of the animals aren’t known.

The famous chimpanzee Bubbles, whom Jackson took everywhere with him at one time, was one of the first animals to leave the Neverland Ranch, when he ceased to be a cute and cuddly youngster and became a strong, aggressive adolescent. Bubbles was lucky enough to wind up at a reputable sanctuary, as were two tigers who once lived at Neverland.

But despite Jackson’s directive that the animals go to the best homes possible, many of the animals ended up at pseudo-sanctuaries, where they received woefully inadequate care because of either ignorance or willful neglect. Two giraffes from Jackson’s zoo, for example, died just weeks apart at Tom and Freddie Hancock’s Banjoko Wildlife Preserve, possibly as a result of exposure to cold temperatures and/or improper feeding. Two more giraffes and several parrots from Neverland remain with the Hancocks.

The alligators and a python named Madonna, purchased by Jackson, now live at a roadside zoo in Oklahoma. Thirteen flamingos were sent to a zoo in New Jersey. Two orangutans went to live with a private owner in Connecticut.

If the King of Pop couldn’t afford to keep exotic animals as pets, imagine the neglect faced by animals held by people with far fewer resources. The exotic-animal owner in Ohio who released two dozen animals before killing himself last month did so after facing mounting financial difficulties. Please click here to urge Ohio officials to permanently ban exotic-animal ownership, and never visit a roadside zoo or pseudo-sanctuary, where discarded former “pets” languish.

Commenting is closed.
  • Nick says:

    Michael didn’t consider all the animals at Neverland pets. They were kept in a zoo, had their own zoo keepers and veterinarians. It’s not like they all lived in his house. Also, Michael asked for them to be placed in the best places possible but he wasn’t the one to pick out where they go. Bob Dunn, an animal trainer, was the one who helped rehome many of the animals and he was the one who owned Bubbles when he was given to the sanctuary.

  • Margaret says:

    This is the most disgusting display of self-pitying emotionalism I have seen. Her tears were phoney and notice how carefully she touches her eyes so as not to smear the heavy make-up. This woman has no concept of what this animal has gone through and its sterile, barren existence confined to a cage. This is at least an improvement on its previous existence as it can see others of its own kind.

  • Lisa says:

    The whole Jackson family are/where freaks thankgod Bubbles survived and went somewhere safe, very sad the two giraffa’s died and that others may of been sent to bad places and may be looked after properly, just shows Micheal Jackson is not the world Legend.

  • MVN says:

    ‘Exotic’ animals should not be kept as ‘pets’ and the sooner the USA (and any country for that matter) legislates on this the better.

  • Toby says:

    Bubbles is like, “this lady is pathetic”.