Howard Baskin, the husband of Tiger King star Carole Baskin, is a retired management consultant. He had a more quiet presence on the Netflix series compared to its quirky stars, but drew some curiosity on the show.
He worked as an executive for more than a decade, but had a passion for animals. Howard Baskin brought his management skills to Big Cat Rescue after meeting Carole Basin in 2002, according to his bio on the Tampa-based rescue group’s website.
Carole Baskin is a celebrity contestant on this season’s Dancing With the Stars. She hopes to bring awareness to the plight of big cats as she dances on the ABC show, she said in an interview with ET. She will also be featured in a three-part Investigation Discovery special, Joe Exotic: Tigers, Lies and Cover-up. Parts one and two air Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 9 p.m. Eastern time and part three airs Monday, September 28 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Carole Baskin Met Husband Howard in 2002 at an Event for Homeless Pets & Married in 2004
Howard Baskin met his future wife at an animal advocacy event in 2002. The event was a launch party for No More Homeless Pets. He and Carole Baskin were married two years later in 2004, according to his bio on Big Cat Rescue.
First Coast No More Homeless Pets is a Jacksonville, Florida-based animal charity with a mission to make veterinary care affordable and accessible, to house dogs and cats in homes, and to provide low-cost spay and neuter services, according to its website. Big Cat Rescue is one of the founding members of the group, according to a post on the big cat sanctuary’s website.
“At that party, Howie won Carole’s adoration immediately because he had actually visited WildLife on Easy Street and knew who we were when it seemed that no one in the area had ever heard of us,” the post said.
2. Howard Baskin Is a Retired Management Consultant Who Spent 11 Years at Citicorp & Has an MBA From Harvard & a Law Degree
Howard Baskin is a highly educated person with an impressive resume. He received a bachelor of science degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York and graduated cum laude in 1972. Baskin also received his JD from the University of Miami School of Law in 1978, cum laude, and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1980, according to his Big Cat Rescue Bio.
He is a retired management consultant. He spent years working with fast-growing companies in their early stages, focusing on strategic planning, finance and operations. Baskin worked at Citicorp for 11 years. His most recent role was as the corporation’s Director of Strategic Planning for the Commercial Real Estate Division. He left Citicorp in 1991 to become an equity participant and general manager at three companies. He co-founded one of those companies, his bio said. Baskin now serves on the Audit Committee for Big Cat Rescue.
He also served in civic roles including three years on the Board of Directors of the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. He was the first Chairman of its Performance Oversight and Monitoring Committee and member of it External Relations Committee. He was also a member of The Rotary Club of Tampa, serving as Chairman of the Community Service Committee and on the Board of Directors.
3. Howard & Carole Baskin Were Married in a Private Ceremony on the Beach Where He Dressed Up as a Caveman
Carole Baskin and Howard’s wedding photos drew some eyebrows on Netflix’s Tiger King, in which he dressed up as a caveman. But that wasn’t the only unique thing about their wedding. The couple was married in a private ceremony on a beach where Howard proposed. She was so overwhelmed at the proposal that she couldn’t speak, but only wrote “yes” in the sand, according to an article about their wedding.
Their wedding vows continued the unique theme.
They included, “Howie, you promise to close drawers and cabinet doors after removing items, and particularly the closet door to keep your old cat Crystal from peeing on Carole’s clothes. You also promise to fold up your recliner blanket after you use it rather than leaving it strewn all over the living room.”
“Carole, you promise to turn on the light on when you wash dishes so they have some remote chance of being clean when Howie goes to use them. You also promise not to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West,” they continued.
The famous wedding photos were taken by Jamie Veronica. Their wedding had a theme that was apparent in the photos. The theme “was one of caveman takes bride before the ceremony and bride puts caveman on a short leash immediately after,” the article said. Howard and Carole Baskin spent their honeymoon at the Virgin Islands.
4. Howard Baskin Brought His Management Consultant Expertise to Big Cat Rescue in Florida
Howard Baskin is a corporate executive turned full-time advocate, and he brought his business acumen to Big Cat Rescue after meeting Carole Baskin at an animal charity event in 2002. His full-time role with the big cat sanctuary seems to combine his skills in management consulting with his passion for animal rights.
He gave up his consulting practice to join Big Cat Rescue, where he focuses on finance, marketing, administration, real estate and advocacy to support big cats, according to the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs. He was a speaker at the conference February 15, 2019 for a presentation called, “Petting that cute cub hurts big cats everywhere. An audiovisual presentation.”
Baskin says his superpower is “bringing organization and structure” on his Big Cat Rescue bio.
“Repeatedly I rescued small companies where an entrepreneur had gotten the company going but operations and finance were in disarray preventing profitability and growth. At Big Cat Rescue, cat care operations were outstanding already, but organizing the finances, administration and fundraising was the greatest challenge of my life and by far most satisfying. The second most challenging was organizing Carole’s kitchen cabinets at home. :),” he wrote.
5. Howard & Carole Baskin Said ‘Tiger King’ Creators Betrayed Their Trust
Carole and Howard Baskin agreed to interviews with Tiger King‘s creators because they thought the documentary would be focused on their cause: “to outlaw the pay-to-play industry, which takes cubs prematurely from their mothers to be passed around to paying customers. It leaves thousands of tigers languishing in captivity once they’re too big to cuddle,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“There’s almost no way to describe the intensity of the feeling of betrayal,” Howard Baskin told the Times.
Carole Baskin discussed topics like Joe Exotic’s antics and the disappearance of her husband, Don Lewis, because they were told those aspects of the story would be used as background, the couple told the Times. They had trust in the producers, whose work includes animal rights advocacy and a documentary on dolphin hunting in Japan.