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Lioness originally from “Tiger King” Joe Exotic’s park gets surgery at OSU

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 26, 2020

Veterinary doctors work on Chobe, who was rescued from "Tiger King" Joe Exotic's Oklahoma facitily in 2018.   (Oregon State University)
Veterinary doctors work on Chobe, who was rescued from "Tiger King" Joe Exotic's Oklahoma facitily in 2018.  (Oregon State University)
By Nia Tariq Tribune News Service

A lioness previously rescued from “Tiger King” Joe Exotic’s big cat park was treated for a uterine infection at Oregon State University on Monday.

Dr. Katy Townsend, an associate professor of small animal surgery in the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, performed an emergency spaying procedure on 5-year-old Chobe, who now lives at the WildCat Ridge Sanctuary in Scotts Mills.

Keepers at the Oregon sanctuary said they noticed Chobe wasn’t eating and was experiencing some vulval discharge. According to a news release, they recognized the symptoms from an illness experienced by one of their Bengal tigers, also treated by Townsend, some years ago.

They determined Chobe needed a CT scan and transported her to OSU’s Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Corvallis. Chobe was found to have pyometra, an infection of the uterus, which can happen to human women and non-fixed animals.

“Surgery went really well; we were able to cleanly get everything out in a short amount of time,” Townsend said in the news release. “We expect her to make a full recovery from this.”

In the meantime, Townsend said, Chobe’s been anesthetized near the wound to help with pain relief. In emails to the Gazette-Times, Townsend and WildCat Ridge executive assistant Ian Ford confirmed that Chobe was taken back to Scotts Mills after her procedure.

Chobe was born at Oklahoma’s Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, which was closed in 2020 and was previously owned by Joseph “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage, known from the Netflix show ” Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”

Chobe lived at Wildlife Waystation in California until it also shut down, then moved to the WildCat Ridge Sanctuary in Scotts Mills in July 2019, according to the WildCat Ridge website. The sanctuary also cares for Kariba, another lioness born at the Wynnewood park.

“We’re hoping that this surgery is going to make sure that everything’s OK for her, and she can get back to just living her life in peace and happiness, which is the only thing that we want for all of our residents,” Ford said in the news release.

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