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Tiger King twist: Judge awards Carole Baskin ownership of Joe Exotic’s zoo

Joe Exotic, the protagonist of Netflix’s docuseries Tiger King, has lost his Oklahoma zoo to arch rival Carole Baskin after a US judge ruled in her favour as part of a $1 million trademark dispute. Key points:Joe Exotic fraudulently transferred ownership of his zoo to his mother to avoid paying previous legal fees to Ms BaskinHe is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for plotting Ms Baskin’s murder and killing some of his tigersThe docuseries following the saga was number one on Netflix in Australia in AprilUS District Judge Scott Palk granted control of the private zoo, previously run by Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, to Ms Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue Corp.Ms Baskin had sued Mr Exotic for trademark and copyright infringements and won a $1 million civil judgment against him. The most recent judgment found that ownership of the zoo was fraudulently transferred to Mr Exotic’s mother in an attempt to avoid paying that judgment.The decision said the zoo animals must be removed from the property within 120 days but did not say what should happen to them.Mr Exotic, the self-described “gay, gun-carrying redneck with a mullet”, is currently serving a 22-year federal prison term for killing five tigers in his care and plotting to have Ms Baskin killed.Carole Baskin had campaigned to shut Joe Exotic down.(Supplied: Netflix)Ms Baskin had been vocal in her campaign to shut Joe Exotic down because, she said, he abused animals and engaged in irresponsible breeding practices.Mr Exotic remains in prison in Fort Worth, Texas. In a handwritten letter posted to Twitter, he pleaded for a presidential pardon.LoadingThe World Wildlife Foundation estimates there are 5,000 tigers in the United States, most of them in private hands.It is against the law to import exotic animals into the US, but those rules overlook captive breeding, which is how most exotic pets are sourced.A federal bill that would ban private ownership and cub petting has, despite Ms Baskin’s political advocacy, been stalled for the past three years.ABC/AP
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