Netflix’s new documentary series Tiger King uses images of Tampa Bay Times newspaper headlines to tell the tale of Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin and the fights, crimes and eccentricities of various “animal people,” especially those in the big cat world.
We’ve rounded up some of our previous coverage of people who were featured in the true crime series, filmed partly in Tampa, so you can read deeper on the history.
Here are some stories from the archives about Baskin’s Tampa sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, and other local characters like animal trapper Vernon Yates, starting with the stories relating to the Joe Exotic murder-for-hire case and working back through time.
Keep in mind that Big Cat Rescue was once called Wildlife on Easy Street, and Carole Baskin was known as Carole Lewis.
Joe Exotic’s plot against Carole Baskin
March 19, 2020: Joe Exotic tried to kill the founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Now it’s a Netflix documentary
Jan. 22, 2020: ’Joe Exotic’ sentenced in plot to arrange killing of Big Cat Rescue CEO in Tampa
April 3, 2019: Oklahoma zookeeper convicted on murder for hire plot against Big Cat Rescue founder
Sept. 18, 2018: ‘Murder for hire’ plot against Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue CEO leads to arrest of Oklahoma candidate for governor
Carole Baskin and Don Lewis’ disappearance
March 26, 2020: Carole Baskin says 'Tiger King’ doc is full of lies
Nov. 19, 2007: The Big Cat Fight: Activism, murder accusations lurk behind pet project
Aug. 23, 1998: Mysterious millionaire still missing
July 3, 1998: Benefit is planned for crippled lion
Oct. 18, 1997: Trail of missing millionaire is all dead ends
Sept. 19, 1997: Missing millionaire worries family
Sept. 18, 1997: Missing millionaire may be in Costa Rica
Aug. 27, 1997: Animal sanctuary owner is reported missing
Joe Exotic’s connection to Dade City’s Wild Things
Feb. 25, 2018: Dade City’s Wild Things owner plotted tiger removal to defy judge, PETA claims
July 27, 2017: Is cuddling tiger cubs conservation? Experts warn it leads to too many tigers languishing in cages
July 18, 2017: Dade City’s Wild Things moves tigers to Oklahoma during court battle with PETA
Stories featuring Big Cat Rescue
Nov. 26, 2019: 3 tigers rescued from a Guatemala circus step into Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue
Sept. 23, 2013: Reise, an 18-year-old cougar, latest addition to Big Cat Rescue
Oct. 21, 2011: Tigers by the trailer load: 3 big Texas cats needed a ride to new digs.
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Dec. 16, 2006: Cuddly pet or wild animal
Aug. 27, 2005: Big cats get to expand den
Aug. 25, 2005: For the love of big cats: 170 cats at Big Cat Rescue have not one vet to care for them, but two.
Vernon Yates, animal trapper featured in ‘Tiger King’
Aug. 2, 2019: An exotic cat was caught after breaking into a Florida home
Oct. 24, 2012: Animal control workers capture Tampa Bay’s Mystery Monkey
June 18, 2012: Wildlife trapper, parrot owner in dispute over Houdini-like parrot