Carole Baskin Says 'Tiger King' 'Lost Sight of What's Important' and Her Show Gives Big Cats a Voice

Carole Baskin tells PEOPLE her new docuseries, Carole Baskin's Cage Fight — which premieres Nov. 13 on discovery+ — "actually covers the work that we do every day" to save big cats from harm

carole baskin
Carole Baskin. Photo: Frank Ockenfels

Carole Baskin hopes to give her fans an "authentic" look at her life as an animal rescuer.

The Florida-based CEO of Big Cat Rescue, who became a household name after the first season of Tiger King premiered on Netflix in March 2020, is taking her story into her own hands with the new docuseries, Carole Baskin's Cage Fight. Ahead of the Nov. 13 premiere, the 60-year-old spoke to PEOPLE about the new project and how she hopes animal lovers will see her and her work in a new light.

The two-part docuseries follows Baskin and her husband Howard as they investigate the mistreatment of privately-owned big cats, including those that belonged to Joseph Maldonado-Passage ("Joe Exotic") and his G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

"I'm so excited about Carol Baskin's Cage Fight because it actually covers the work that we do every day and the work that we have been doing for the past 20 years," she tells PEOPLE. "I think people who watch it are going to be enthralled."

Carole baskin
Carole Baskin. Facebook

Baskin says Tiger King "lost sight of what's important," and her series will show the public the reality of what is happening to privately-owned big cats, and, hopefully, get more people supporting her cause.

"Big cats don't belong in cages. We have seen so much abuse come as a result of all of these backyard breeders and roadside zoos that are pimping out all of these cubs to be used in pay-to-play sessions and then discarding them into private ownership," Baskin says. "We have a federal bill to put that to an end finally, but I think the public needs to see the battle that has gone into this over the past several decades."

carole baskin

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In January 2020, Joe Exotic, the infamous former owner of the G.W. Zoo, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted for the murder-for-hire plot to kill Baskin. A judge from Oklahoma's 10th District Court ordered Joe Exotic to be resentenced in July 2021. Joe Exotic is currently behind bars awaiting this resentencing.

Baskin admits that it's "very frightening" to have people coming after her and her family, but she tries to focus on the overall goal of her work over her safety.

"What people are going to see [in the docuseries] is that ongoing struggle of trying to stay strong in the face of so much abuse and criticism," Baskin says. "Why these animal exploiters hate me is because I'm exposing the abuse that they are inflicting on these animals and the lies that they tell the public in order to justify it."

Though she says she's not sure how she's been able to continue this long, the animal rescuer feels comfort knowing the Big Cat Public Safety Act — a bill that will ban private individuals from owning many big cats if enacted — is making progress, adding, "I just feel even more empowered because we're so close to the finish line."

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"I'm not going to stop until we bring every one of these people to justice and end the cub abuse that is inherent in the cub petting," Baskin says. "That is what I feel like I have come here this time around to do, and I'm not going to step off this planet of my own volition until I do that."

She continues, "Even if somebody does take me out, they can just count on me coming back again and again and again until we fix this."

Carole Baskin's Cage Fight premieres exclusively on discovery+ on Nov. 13, just a few days before the Nov. 17 premiere of Tiger King season two, which Carole Baskin and her husband declined to be involved in, even though footage of Baskin is used in the trailer for the Netflix show's upcoming season.

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