The World Wildlife Fund reports that there are approximately 5,000 captive tigers being kept in the United States, a greater number than the entire tiger population—3,200—currently living in the wild. This surprising statistic highlights the need for concerned animal lovers to take action to help stop the illegal wildlife trade.
The large captive tiger population in the United States is not limited to zoos. In fact, only 6% of the captive tigers in the U.S. live in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The rest often live in dingy places like sideshows, truck stops, private breeding facilities, and of course in the homes of private owners who think owning a tiger is a good idea.
Depending on where you live, it’s legal to keep a tiger on your property without even having to report it to local officials. Buying a tiger can be an easier process than adopting a dog or cat from a shelter.
Life for privately-owned tigers can be grim. They are often acquired as babies, kept in poor conditions, and then given up to sanctuaries—or worse—killed for their pricey body parts to be sold on the black market, when they grow up.
Captive tigers can also pose a threat to people, as in the case of the private exotic pet owner from Zanesville, Ohio who released his wild animal collection into the community back in 2011. First responders shot over 10 tigers and other animals in this situation.
What can be done to help the tigers? You can sign a petition being sent to President Obama by the World Wildlife Fund asking that the private ownership of tigers in the U.S. be better monitored and regulated. The WWF advocates for federal oversight of the keeping, breeding, and selling of tigers in the U.S.
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