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America’s Captive Tiger Crisis

November 4, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Recent attacks on humans by captive tigers in India, China, Australia and Singapore have shined an international spotlight on the danger and cruelty of keeping one of the planet’s top predators in captivity. In the United States, captive tigers and other big cats have, in the past twenty-four years, killed four children and eight adults.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, approximately 5,000 tigers are being held captive in the United States. Six percent of them reside in zoos and similar accredited facilities. The remainder are warehoused in squalid cages in backyards, unaccredited zoos, sideshows, circuses, private breeding facilities, and even a roadside truck stop.

Tiger in NYC apartment

Tiger in NYC apartment

Thirty-two states have banned private ownership of tigers; 10 require a license; and eight states have no regulation. What little regulation does exist to prohibit and protect big cats in captivity is often unenforced. A federal bill to ban the private possession and breeding of big cats – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act – has 114 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

Of the 5,000 captive tigers in the U.S., only a lucky few will be rescued and relocated to sanctuaries where their needs take priority. In October, four tigers hit the feline lottery with the opening of a new habitat at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas. Ben Callison, director of the Ranch, speaks to Jane Velez Mitchell about the new sanctuary and big cat captivity:

Anastasia & Natalia at Black Beauty Ranch. (Photo: Brandon Wade/HSUS)

Anastasia & Natalia at Black Beauty Ranch. (Photo: Brandon Wade/HSUS)

Even the best of sanctuaries, however, cannot meet the needs of nature’s top predators. In the wild, tigers carve out large territories based on the availability of prey animals and mating partners. They hunt and, in spite of the fact that they are solitary animals, they sometimes share their kill with other tigers. The run 30 – 40 mph, and they can swim up to 18 miles a day.

Tiger on the hunt

Tiger stalking her prey

Your Turn

Contact your U.S. representative and Senators to ask them to support The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act.

Please learn more about why holding wild animals captive is cruel; boycott zoos and circuses; and speak out.

Please visit Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch’s website to learn more about the tiger sanctuary and support their efforts to provide sanctuary to animals rescued from captivity.



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TheirTurn.net Comments

  1. Jacquie Cooper Brethen says:

    Shame on all of you who think the USA does not care about all animals in captivity. Most of us are completely disgusted by this! Check out Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. All of the Cats here are rescued. Our federal government can end exotic ownership anytime they want. Our states have the same right. Worldwide this is disgusting. Raising lions to kill them anywhere, disgusting. Raising tigers for Chinese medicine in Asia, disturbing and disgusting. This is a global problem. Ok rant over.

    And you Brits need look no further than your own British backyard for Big Cat killers.

  2. Jacquie Cooper Brethen says:

    Shame on all of you who think the USA does not care about all animals in captivity. Most of us are completely disgusted by this! Check out Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. All of the Cats here are rescued. Our federal government can end exotic ownership anytime they want. Our states have the same right. Worldwide this is disgusting. Raising lions to kill them anywhere, disgusting. Raising tigers for Chinese medicine in Asia, disturbing and disgusting. This is a global problem. Ok rant over.

  3. julia standing says:

    i cant find the words to describe these evil human beings.no respect for animals.leave these poor animals to be free.

  4. yomara vega says:

    Why dont leave the animals in peace

  5. Wild animals animals are just that!! Leave them in their own habitat

  6. Madelein Brand says:

    The treatment of such sacred animals by humans is appouling! ! I do not like humans that does not protect the world’s creatures.

  7. MARY says:

    It is unbelievable that some of the worlds most beautiful animals can be treated like this. These large animals have to be in their own natural habitat.

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