Where Is Carole Baskin In 2020? The 'Tiger King' Subject Has A Lofty Goal
Carole Baskin, who is featured in Netflix's new docuseries, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, is described as "the mother Teresa of cats." She was Joe Exotic's public enemy number one, who worked to bring down the titular Tiger King's ring of large, exotic cats. While Joe is serving a 22 year sentence in federal prison on two counts of attempted murder-for-hire, as well as killing five tigers, per the Washington Post, Carole Baskin still runs Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida.
She founded the organization back in 1992 but at that point, it was simply a tourist attraction, per Longreads, and was called Wildlife on Easy Street. In '97, however, Baskin realized how inhumane their business was (they were breeding the exotic cats and treating them as pets) and changed their whole trajectory.
They began neutering and spaying all of their animals, Longreads reported, and for any cat they took in, its former owner had to sign a waiver, saying they would never own exotic cats again. "We're the only place that absolutely insists that if you're going to dump an animal here, you are never going to own another exotic cat," Baskin told the site.
It costs $50 per person to visit Baskin's sanctuary, according to an interview she did with Vanity Fair. "It's not like a zoo…you can't just walk around," the activist said. "We take you out for a guided tour for an hour and a half. We tell people why these cats don't belong in cages and why there shouldn't have to be an organization like Big Cat Rescue to rescue cats from horrible situations."
Beyond taking in these animals, however, Baskin has a bigger goal, which her site says will "put herself out of business": to stop wild cat ownership altogether. On her organization's website, she urges readers to help pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would end both "owning big cats as pets and stopping exploitative roadside zoos from offering cub petting and photo ops."
Per Congress.gov, the bill has been introduced but has yet to be passed through the House or Senate. "We've generated over 16,000 calls from people in the past year and a half and stand poised to get that bill passed this year," Baskin told VF in 2020. She hopes that Tiger King will help spread awareness of the dangers that this kind exotic entertainment inflicts on the animals themselves. "Everybody who pays to pet a cub or have an interaction with a big cat, is enabling all of this criminal activity that they're seeing in this documentary," she told the publication.
In addition to Baskin's activism and daily duties at Big Cat Rescue, she also has a YouTube channel, where she regularly uploads video diaries. She is still married to Howard Baskin, whom she met in 2002, per Longreads, and her daughter, Jamie Veronica, also works at the sanctuary.
Soon, we'll see Baskin show up again on TV — albeit in a very different form. Per Variety, SNL's Kate McKinnon is slated to play her in a series based on the Wondery podcast, Joe Exotic: Tiger King.