Uncle Sam is shutting down Jeff Lowe ... suspending his license to show off wild animals at Joe Exotic's old zoo ... at least for now.
A rep for The U.S. Department of Agriculture tells TMZ ... the 'Tiger King' star's exhibitor license for the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park -- formerly known as the G.W. Zoo under Joe's command -- was suspended this week for 21 days.
We're told the suspension is the result of "recent inspections" at the zoo that were less than favorable. As we reported, investigators said several of Jeff's animals appeared to be weak and neglected. There was also a 16-week-old lion cub who was so thin, she could barely stand ... and was immediately taken to a vet.
Jeff called BS on the inspection, but clearly, USDA officials felt strong enough about their findings to pull his license. An exhibitor's license essentially allows a zookeeper to display everything from big cats, bears, primates and other USDA-regulated species. Without it, Lowe can't really run the zoo.
As for his suspension, Jeff says he and his team are confident they will be able to produce evidence to prove his animals are healthy. He also tells us that once he's back up and running, he's putting together a virtual zoo that visitors can access from home to check on the animals.
As you'd expect, PETA's already dancing on Jeff's metaphorical grave. The org thinks the suspension should be followed by a permanent revocation of his license ... although, the feds aren't saying that's on the table.