Joseph Allen Maldonado, known professionally as “Joe Exotic” and "The Tiger King" is an American media personality, businessman, former chief of police, magician, musician, model, actor, minister, politician, and world-renowned animal expert.

However, Joe is most well-known for creating and operating the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoo (also known as the G.W. Exotic Animal Park) in Wynnewood, Oklahoma from 1998 to 2018.

Born in Garden City Kansas on March 5, 1963, Joe and his family soon moved to Wyoming where he developed a love of taking care of common and not so common animals. Watching and helping his father raise racehorses, Joe spent any extra time he had learning all he could about animals and their care. Later Joe’s family would move to Texas where he graduated from Pilot Point high school in 1982.

Shortly after graduation, Joe decided to serve as the youngest chief of police in nearby Eastvale, Texas. Eventually Joe and his brother Garold Wayne decided to follow their childhood dreams and open a pet store in Arlington, Texas.

Unfortunately, Garold was killed in 1997 by a drunk driver. Joe was devastated. To honor his brother, Joe sold the pet store and created the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in his memory.

During his tenure as director at the G.W Exotic Animal Park, Joe held magic shows and cub-petting events at venues across the U.S., hosted an online talk show, and worked with a producer to create a reality television series about himself, but most of the footage was destroyed in a fire in 2015.

Ultimately, Joe ended up leaving the G.W. Exotic Animal Park in June of 2018 due to excessive harassment from animal right organizations such as PETA and Big Cat Rescue. They chose to target Joe Exotic in their quest to end commercial cub petting in the United States and monopolize the tiger and animal industry for financial gain. Three months after Joe left the zoo he was arrested. The following year (2019) he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on 17 federal charges of paperwork violations and two bogus counts of attempted murder for hire.

Although Joe is primarily known for his business ventures and providing entertainment, he is also a philanthropist. Operation Smile, Innocent Project and Make a Wish Foundation are just a few of the nonprofit organizations that Joe Exotic has been involved with and has contributed to for years.

Joe Exotic is currently awaiting retrial because he was wrongly convicted by false testimony and suppressed evidence.