World’s Biggest Tiger Expert: ‘Tiger King’s’ Carole Baskin Is Full of It
John Goodrich is head of tiger conservation organization Panthera and the world’s leading tiger biologist. Here are his problems with Netflix’s “Tiger King” and Carole Baskin.
Tiger King, the bonkers backwoods docuseries about a polygamous, meth-addicted tiger breeder who went to jail in a murder-for-hire plot, has become a worldwide pop-cultural phenomenon. It’s the No. 1 show on Netflix, has spawned an endless array of memes, and everyone from hip-hop icon RZA to endangered-animal murderer Donald Trump Jr.—whose big takeaway was how cheap it can be to purchase a tiger—has weighed in.
One person who isn’t so enamored with the show is John Goodrich—the chief scientist for Panthera, one of the world’s leading wild cat conservation organizations, and the world’s foremost tiger biologist. “It’s one of the most appalling shows I’ve ever seen,” he says.
Goodrich was disappointed in how the series “wasn’t really that much about the cats and was about the bizarre characters involved in the big-cat industry in the U.S. If it were more focused on the tigers, Tiger King wouldn’t have left out that Joe Exotic wasn’t just convicted of murder-for-hire but nine violations of the Endangered Species Act. Federal agents found bones belonging to five tigers in the back of Joe Exotic’s zoo—tigers that he shot to death and buried there. “In 20 years, I’ve had 50-plus tigers buried in that back pasture, and nobody gives a damn,” he confessed during his trial.