“Ross Kemp’s expose shows the fate of Michael Jackson’s pets is shrouded in scandal or tragedy” – Sara Wallis

Searching For Michael Jackson’s Zoo With Ross Kemp reveals Wacko Jacko kept – and abused – a huge collection of exotic wildlife, with over 50 species including giraffes, elephants and tigers

Jackson had a large and unusual collection of animals

Michael Jackson’s theme park, Neverland, was no fairy tale – we already knew that.

But Ross Kemp’s expose revealed the musical megastar was guilty of animal cruelty in a gripping, sometimes bizarre documentary.

Despite the awkward title – In Search of Michael Jackson’s Zoo with Ross Kemp – Wednesday’s ITV film saw Kemp charge across the United States in a fascinating pursuit of wild animals with some big questions to ask.

Ross’ investigation took him to the deserts of northern Arizona, Utah and Florida as it became apparent that the fates of some of Jackson’s former pets are shrouded in mystery, scandal or of tragedy.

Jackson, who died in 2009 amid sexual abuse allegations, kept a massive collection of exotic wildlife, with more than 50 species including giraffes, elephants and tigers. The original Tiger King.

Ross Kemp in Los Angeles meets animal trainer Mark Biancaniello

Hearing Jackson’s simpering voice in a music video — “I can relate to animals better than humans” — reminded him of his image as an animal lover. Not so.

We’re told he’s sold animals to a couple who abused them, abandoned his animals when he left Neverland without paying vet bills, and shipped creatures elsewhere when he didn’t want them anymore.

Primatologist Jane Goodall said Jackson even told her – with a smile on his face – that Bubbles, his famous, seemingly beloved pet chimp, got hit when he did something wrong.

Ross Kemp sets out to find some of the dozens of animals that once belonged to pop star Michael Jackson

Jane, who visited Neverland, said: “The conditions were terrible.

“There were two chimpanzees in disguise being kept separately who came out to be photographed. There was a poor little bear in a circular cage crying – he shouldn’t have left his mother. The whole situation was horrible.

Other Neverland stories included a parrot eaten by a boa constrictor, a llama killed by a dog, and a giraffe killed when a barn door apparently flipped over and broke its neck.

Neverland looked more like the Tower of Terror at this point.

The story got stranger and more tragic every minute as Ross searched for two former Jackson giraffes, Princess and Annie Sue.

We discovered that they were dead, while other animals seemed to have disappeared.

Ross Kemp visits Neverland

Ross has done a great job of not only exposing the appalling trend of keeping exotic animals as pets, but also tagging Jackson as fuel.

Animal rights activist Carole Davis said: “He was the biggest influencer in the world before influencers.”

It seemed that Jackson treated animals like toys – easily replaceable, disposable, with new ones always there to collect.

Another dark mark against the legacy of a man we all thought we knew.

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