As one of the best-selling artists of all time, Michael Jackson is known across the globe for his music. The King of Pop wasn’t just a performer, however, and it’s his zoo rather than his trademark moonwalk that’s the focus of a new ITV documentary.
Searching for Michael Jackson’s Zoo with Ross Kemp will see the award-winning presenter and former EastEnders star travel across America in a bid to find out what happened to all the animals Michael Jackson kept at Neverland. At its peak, his personal collection of animals was extensive.
Jackson’s most memorable animal was his pet monkey, Bubbles. However, he was believed to have had at least 50 different species of animals, including alligators and giraffes.
But where is Michael Jackson’s zoo and what happened to the animals that lived on the infamous Neverland Ranch? Here’s everything you need to know.
Where was Michael Jackson’s zoo?
After finding huge success both as a member of The Jackson 5 and as a solo performer, Michael Jackson bought a 2,700-acre ranch 38 miles from Santa Barbara, California, in 1987. He is believed to have paid around $19.5 million for the property, which he turned into his own personal amusement park.
As well as a zoo, the estate, nicknamed the ‘Neverland Ranch’, was also home to fair ground rides, a train and its own cinema. It also features a large lake, mountain views and three guest houses.
The ‘Thriller’ singer lived at the ranch – exact location 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos – for 15 years before moving out four years before his death in 2009. In 2019, the estate was put on the market for a huge $31 million and it has reportedly been undergoing renovations in recent months.
What happened to Bubbles the Chimp and the Neverland animals?
Following the closure of Neverland, Michael Jackson’s pet chimp, Bubbles, was moved to a sanctuary in Wauchula, Florida. He has lived at the Center for Great Apes since 2005 and is now 39 years old, making him late-middle-aged by chimp standards.
It isn’t known what happened to most of the animals when they left Neverland, however tigers Thriller and Sabu lived at the ranch until 2006 before being moved to Shambala Preserve. Thiller sadly died in 2012.
Two of Jackson’s giraffes also died after leaving the zoo, while the remaining two, Princess and Annie Sue, ended up at a wildlife preservation site in South Utah. Meanwhile, some of the reptiles went to GW Zoo, the famous Oklahoma animal park once owned by Tiger King star Joe Exotic.
Searching for Michael Jackson’s Zoo with Ross Kemp airs on Wednesday, April 27 at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub
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