Michael Jackson’s alligators were killed when a fire destroyed their enclosure at an Oklahoma zoo last week. The alligators once owned by Jackson were being housed at the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park. Animal rights activists are the likely arsonists, the zoo founder claims.
The Michael Jackson alligators and one crocodile killed in the fire reportedly “boiled to death.” The fire was only part of the crime which occurred at the Oklahoma zoo. Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park founder Joe Schreibvogel said that a “large amount” of equipment used to record his JoeExotic TV show was stolen at the same time. A total of seven alligators and one crocodile were killed in the March 26 blaze.
Joe Schreibvogel maintains that he is often targeted by animal rights groups and “extremists.” The zoo founder called the animal rights activists who oppose him “animal terrorists.” Schreibvogel said he has been threatened before and that an “ongoing pattern” of threats exists.
“These animals didn’t deserve to be burned to death. This was personal. They targeted the studio to shut me up. They wanted to get me off the air or else they would’ve targeted something else in the Park,” Joe Schreibvogel said.
The two reptile enclosures at the G.W. Zoo and a video production studio were all reduced to ashes during the fire.
Garvin County Oklahoma Sheriff Larry Rhodes said that the fire has been deemed arson and was most likely set to cover up the theft and burglary. Just one alligator survived the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park fire. The reptile owned by Michael Jackson is currently recovering from smoke inhalation.
“It is more of disgust,” the Oklahoma zoo founder said during an interview with KJRH when he detailed his thoughts about the fire that killed the alligators. “If somebody has an issue with the zoo or an issue with me personally then take it up with me.”
After Michael Jackson died in 2009, all of the animals kept at his Neverland Ranch were distributed to animal sanctuaries, preserves, and to “animal enthusiasts” across the United States. In addition to Michael Jackson’s alligators, his albino python, which he named Madonna, were all given new homes at the Oklahoma zoo.
“The building can be replaced. The equipment can be replaced, but Michael Jackson’s alligators cannot be replaced,” the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park founder said.
The damage to the Oklahoma zoo alligator enclosure and recording studio will reportedly cost about $250,000. Joe Schreibvogel reportedly filed for bankruptcy in 2013. The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park will remain open and security guards will now be on duty at all times.
What do you think about the Michael Jackson alligators fire? Could animal rights activists truly be to blame?
[Image via: YouTube screengrab]