Posts Tagged ‘Documentary’


See the source imageJoe Exotic is a private zoo-internet-reality television personality and Tiger King is the story of what his world looks like. I bring this up as, with physical distancing having something that can provoke discussion with family, or friends online is never a bad thing. Also it shines a light on the private zoo and exotic animal rescue industry in the USA, as my wife would comment to our daughter, “we can buy a tiger for way cheaper than a Corgi for you.”, that and the fact that there is 4,000 tigers in the wild, and they estimate between 5,000 to 10,000 in captivity in the USA just sets the stage.

In the course of the documentary and following the winding road, you meet a drug cartel lord and his rationale for what he does based on his love of animals. An animal rescue couple, with hinky things in their past, and watch closely and ask yourself if what she is doing is any different than the private zoos? It is an intriguing conversation episode by episode as the story unfolds.

Within the private zoo movement those shared you meet hustlers, odd balls, ex-cons that can find a new life finally. But there is a darker stream, and yes this is darker than the big cat mill breeding for cubs as the major money maker is the photo ops with a cub and petting a cub that see the cats only making major money in their first 12 weeks of life. There is darker stories that happen as well, when you see the outcomes of the capitalism. The other thing, is seeing how the animals are used as leverage in building communes and cult like levels of obedience.

This is done, through constant work, sleep deprivation, shared purpose. In one private zoo it is polygamy, where the owner has multiple wives and if the thread is followed properly that he groomed through the previous means, through an intern project.

In the life of the Tiger King, what is seen is the grooming of multiple husbands in his fiefdom, flouting of laws, amassing of debt and the anxiety it creates, growing psychosis and what happens when there is not a healthy social support net around someone in the journey…

Each episode creates points of conversation, and moments of what the? But as one watches you can see real time mental illness and cult leader like behaviours within the community, and the question that needs to be asked though is what is the remedy for this, a healthy resolution for the animals, the staff, and those caught in the rising tide?