Where Are They Now? From ‘Tiger King’ Hellhole to Lion Oasis

Published by Sara Oliver.

When PETA rescued Nala from Jeff Lowe’s now-defunct roadside zoo, the young lion was severely underweight and so lame that she could only take a few steps without collapsing. Now, Nala and her siblings, fellow PETA rescues Amelia and Leo, have the care and space that they need to flourish.

PETA Dethroned ‘Tiger King’ Jeff Lowe; Nala, Amelia, and Leo Rescued

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found Nala in dire condition during its June 2020 inspection of Lowe’s facility, the inspection was halted and Lowe was ordered to seek immediate veterinary care for the young lion—something that PETA has never seen happen before. She was reportedly “depressed and lethargic,” with a discharge oozing from her nose and eyes, and both ears raw from flystrike. Nala’s cagemates—her siblings Kahari, Amelia and Leo—were also suffering from flystrike. Leo was often spotted sucking on his sisters’ ears, an abnormal repetitive behavior often seen in cubs who were taken from their mothers too young, typically to be used for cub-petting photo ops—an atrocity for which the Tiger King villains are known.

The three survivors—Nala, Amelia, and Leo—were rescued by PETA and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS) in Colorado a few months later. When PETA representatives arrived at Lowe’s roadside zoo for the rescue, Nala was so lame that she couldn’t take more than a few steps without falling over. She was also emaciated, and Amelia and Leo were underweight as well. Veterinarians found that Nala was suffering from multiple fractures and severe vitamin deficiencies, a list of ailments that earned her a “fair to poor” prognosis. Thankfully, because of the tireless care and hard work of our friends at TWAS, she has recovered! She now enjoys wrestling, cuddling, and lounging with the other members of her pride.

How to Help Big Cats Like Nala

After legal action from the U.S. Department of Justice (and help from PETA!), Lowe no longer has any wild or exotic animals in his custody and is not allowed to exhibit USDA-regulated animals again. However, big cats like Nala, Amelia, and Leo are still exploited at roadside zoos across the country. To help end public contact with as well as private ownership of big cats, ask your U.S. representative and senators to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind