New documentary SURVIVING JOE EXOTIC explores the truth behind exploited animals

The story behind Joe Exotic and the infamous G.W. Zoo left audiences stunned.

As allegations of lies and deception came to light, uncovering shocking wildlife violations that made headlines across the globe.

A new Animal Planet documentary, featuring one of the notorious zoo owner’s last formal interviews before his arrest, focuses on the plight of the animals that were victims in his controversial empire and follows the emotional stories of the ones that made it out for a second chance at life.

Joe Exotic’s colourful, audacious character was at the centre of his business model – a business that sadly profited from the mistreatment of animals.

In the documentary, ex-employees, including Gaylynn Eastwood and former manager Saff Saffery, who lost an arm to one of Joe’s tigers, reveal new details about Joe’s controversial breeding business, his behind-the-scenes treatment of the animals at the G.W. Zoo, and his dangerous dealings of trading in exotic animals.

We also hear from rescue leaders, exotic animal experts and others with firsthand knowledge of the animal trafficking and breeding that fuelled Joe Exotic’s empire.

Paired with never-before-seen footage of Joe, witness the stories of animals who were caught in the crossfire of Joe Exotic’s big cat breeding business, and the heart-warming stories of those that found new homes after the G.W. Zoo.

In 2018, Animal Planet’s Wolves and Warriors film crew was given access to the G.W. Zoo and an inside look at Joe Exotic’s operations; from his stage show, the interactive tour, as well as never-before-seen interview footage of Joe, which now features in this special.

Follow the touching and inspiring journeys of the animals who survived from under the direct care of Joe Exotic to be given a second chance at life. Meet Kryxis and Kadira, two visually impaired tiger littermates whose vision was restored after their rescue from the G.W. Zoo through surgery at the Exotic Feline Rescue Centre in Indiana; and Chobe and Kariba, two lions found traumatised by the pain of inbreeding and spending their lifetimes in a small enclosure, who are relocated to Wildcat Ridge Sanctuary in Oregon where they can step on cool grass.

Their stories highlight the innocent animals caught in the endless cycle of neglect that exists in the world of big cat and exotics trade.  

Surviving Joe Exotic airs during Zoo Month on Animal Planet, which starts Thursday 1 October. The special event features a menagerie of programs that look at leading zoos and wildlife facilities around the world, where renowned experts tend to animals great, small – and a little peculiar – and fight for the conservation of wildlife both on land and sea.

The lineup includes new episodes of The Zoo, the new season of The Aquarium, and features reloads with added facts and behind-the-scenes footage in The Zoo: Bronx Tales, The Zoo: San Diego – California Tales, and The Aquarium: Unfiltered.

Surviving Joe Exotic – Stream or watch Saturday 31 October at 8:30pm AEDT on Animal Planet

Available on Foxtel & Fetch

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