Lagoon has denied any connection between its park and Joe Exotic from the “Tiger King” Netflix documentary.
“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is a viral Netflix documentary detailing the life and times of Joe Exotic, a big game breeder. In one scene, a map shows a number of areas where big cat owners and exhibitors live. There is a pin at Salt Lake City.
So, is that a reference to Lagoon?
The park has a number of exotic animals at the Wild Kingdom Train Zoo, including Siberian tigers, a golden eagle, zebras, camels, and African lions.
“No, none of Lagoon’s cats came from the location you are referring to,” said Adam Leishman, spokesman for Lagoon. “It is also worth mentioning that Lagoon does not breed or sell cats.”
Allegations about a connection between Lagoon and Joe Exotic came from Justin Madsen, an English teacher, who alleged there might be a connection in an open letter to Lagoon that he published on Medium. He wrote that he thought about Lagoon while watching the “Tiger King” documentary.
Madsen alleges in his Medium piece that Lagoon might have been the recipient of animals from the Greater Wynne Wood Exotic Animal Park, which was previously run by Joe Exotic and is featured prominently in the documentary.
“You sell big cats to other private zoos, which could well wind up in the collections of unsavory folks like Jeff Lowe, Mario Tabraue, Doc Antle, and the like,” Madsen wrote, referencing people seen in the Netflic documentary. “You also buy big cats from other private zoos, which could include Joe Exotic’s, though your records are private.”
The Deseret News has reached out to Madsen for comment.
The “Tiger King” documentary has another Utah connection. The documentary features Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, director of the Institute for Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.) of the Myrtle Beach Safari.
One of the people who works there is named Moksha Bybee, who hails from Uintah, Weber County, Utah, as I wrote for the Deseret News.