A brand new documentary about Michael Jackson’s zoo is set to air on ITV tonight (April 27). Hosted by Ross Kemp, the programme will see the ex- EastEnders star travel across America as he tries to figure out what happened to the King of Pop’s Neverland animals.
Bubbles the chimp was Jackson’s most famous pet, however at its peak, Jackson’s personal collection of animals was thought to include up to 50 different species, from giraffes and elephants to alligators and monkeys.
The Jackson 5 singer lived at his sprawling 2,700-acre Santa Barbara estate – nicknamed the Neverland Ranch – for 15 years before leaving in 2005. However, the whereabouts of most of his animals have been unknown since the singer’s death in 2009.
Following the closure of Neverland, Bubbles was relocated to an animal sanctuary in Wauchula, Florida in 2005. He is now aged 39 and still living at the Center for Great Apes, where his care is paid for by money from Jackson’s estate.
As Kemp explains in his new documentary, it isn’t known what happened to the majority of the Neverland animals. Tigers Thriller (who later died in 2012) and Sabu continued to live at the ranch until 2006 before being taken to Shambala Preserve.
Two of Jackson’s giraffes sadly died after leaving the zoo, while two others, Princess and Annie Sue, were taken to a South Utah wildlife preservation site. Meanwhile, some of his reptiles were reportedly handed over to the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.
Better known as the GW Zoo, the famous Oklahoma animal park was originally established as the Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Memorial Park in 1999 by the Tiger King himself, Joe Exotic. The zoo, which featured in Netflix’s infamous 2020 documentary, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, was closed down in the same year.
Searching for Michael Jackson’s Zoo with Ross Kemp airs on Wednesday, April 27at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub
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