Maine’s Connection & Controversy with Carole Baskin of Tiger King
Social distancing has ironically, joined us all together in loving, hating, or loving to hate Netflix's Tiger King.
If you're one of the few who haven't watched or just couldn't get through the first episode it follows the strange and unusual world of those in the big cat business in the United States.
It follows some wild twists and turns as well as a particular feud between Joe Exotic of the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park and Carole Baskin of Big Cat Rescue.
Big Cat Rescue claims to be on a mission to end the breeding and trade of big cats and acts as a sanctuary for big cats as well with Carole Baskin leading the charge.
And they're not fans of one Maine attraction, DEW Haven, located in Mount Vernon Maine, just over 20 minutes north of Augusta. The DEW stands for domestic, exotic, and wild animals as they have all three. You can see animals from goats and deer to lions and tigers, to various monkeys and even a camel. They claim that their mission is to be a sanctuary for animals of all kinds and to provide education.
A few years back they caught the attention of television producers and had their own show on Animal Planet titled, "Yankee Jungle" that lasted 2 seasons.
Big Cat Rescue has been vocal over the years about DEW Haven. Back in 2015, they held a protest outside the production studio for "Yankee Jungle" in South Portland.
Per their website the intention was to "raise awareness about the sad reality of what's happening at DEW Haven and why the animals should not be further exploited in a television program."
On that same article Carole Baskin herself commented "Our primary issue w/ DEW is that they breed exotic animals, and appear to be dealing with others who use cubs for pay to play schemes.
In 2014 three tigers were born at DEW Haven. According to WGME, these were the first tigers to have been born at the facility.
DEW Haven has an offshoot Facebook Page called CALM TIGER that has been inactive for some time. It appears to have been created as a response to groups like Big Cat Rescue and others who have vocally criticized and protested them. In regard to breeding, the page did state that breeding and selling of animals in Maine is legal.
In 2016 they posted about Big Cat Rescue specifically. This was after Big Cat Rescue announced the organized protest in South Portland.
The above post even links to a website that is anti-Big Cat Rescue and highlights the fact that Carole Baskin's ex-husband is still missing. This story is featured in Tiger King and has many people believing that Carole Baskin murdered her husband and fed his remains to the cats.
CALM TIGER even brought up allegations not mentioned on Tiger King.
In 2018 Big Cat Rescue laid out the reasons why they don't approve of DEW Haven noting they had over 54 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act over the last 15 years noting "deplorable" conditions. You can read more here.
Clearly there's major beef between these two organizations, and what is covered here is honestly just a tip of the iceberg. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle but you can draw your own conclusions and do your own research.
At the very least, we know what team Joe Exotic would be on.
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