Incredible Story: Rescued Lion Cub from ‘Tiger King’ Star’s Zoo, Once Near Death, Embarks on an Incredible Journey to Recovery

Lion-hybrid cub Nala was underweight and ‘close to death’ until she was rescued from Tiger King’s Jeff Lowe by animal rights campaigners – now footage shows her heartwarming recovery

This heartwarming video shows the dramatic transformation of a ‘Tiger King’ cub whose ears had been eaten by flies.

Nala the lion – who was reportedly “near death” – could hardly walk and had multiple broken bones when she was rescued.

The severely underweight lion-hybrid cub had been living at the infamous G.W. Zoo in Oklahoma.

And if you are familiar with the controversial Netflix show Tiger King, you will know the now closed roadside zoo was run by Joe Exotic before being taken over by Jeff Lowe.

Exotic was eventually convicted of hiring a hit man to murder animal rights activist Carole Baskin – and he remains in prison.

And as revealed in series two, a U.S Department of Justice lawsuit ruled that Lowe is now no longer permitted to exhibit animals.

Baskin was eventually handed control of the land – also known as the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park – before selling it on the promise it would not be used as an exotic zoo.

Here, we take a look at the recent transformation of one of the cubs that had been staying there.


Before being rescued, Nala was gradually becoming seriously ill.

According to campaigners, she became so weak that walking became a struggle and after just a few steps she would inevitably collapse back down.

They also claim Nala was suffering from a vitamin deficiency that resulted in multiple fractures.

Her condition alarmed the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who alerted the U.S Department of Agriculture to their concerns.

An inspector then ordered Nala to get urgent veterinary treatment before an Endangered Species Act meant the lion and her siblings, Amelia and Leo, were taken away.

The courtroom win resulted in Nala moving to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado in September 2020.

When officials arrived to collect Nala, a furious Lowe said: “I told you don’t point that f*****g camera away.”

But photos released by PETA highlight her incredible transformation – and she is now said to enjoy wrestling, cuddling and exploring her spacious new surroundings.

PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet spoke about Nala’s triumphant recovery.

She said the lion was “near death” before adding: “This cub’s dire condition in Lowe’s cage and her wonderful recovery at The Wild Animal Sanctuary illustrate exactly why roadside zoos need to be shut down.

“PETA will be watching to make sure Lowe and his ilk never get their hands on another wild or exotic animal.”

And a video released by PETA reads: “Nala was in grave condition at Jeff Lowe’s roadside zoo.

“The Tiger King villain’s neglect could have killed her, but after PETA alerted the USDA to reports of Nala and other lions suffering, an inspector ordered that Nala receive immediate veterinary treatment.

“After winning an Endangered Species Act lawsuit against Jeff Lowe’s former business partner, PETA freed Nala and her surviving siblings, Amelia and Leo, from Jeff Lowe.”

It added: “Her prognosis was listed as ‘fair to poor’. But thanks to hard work and excellent care from The Wild Animal Sanctuary, she made a full recovery.

“Today she enjoys wrestling and cuddling in her huge new home. Jeff Lowe no longer has any big cats in his custody.

“No one should ever have to suffer like Nala.”


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