This is a sad but true fact: There are more tigers living as pets in America than there are tigers living in the wild in the rest of the ENTIRE WORLD!
That is just plain wrong.
Estimates claim about 5,000 tigers are living in backyards, urban apartments (what??), sideshows, truck stops and private breeding facilities.
The World Wildlife Foundation has been trying to bring this matter to light for a while now.
A WWF spokesperson said:
"We welcome this important legislation because as the Zanesville incident showed, it’s critical for America to clear out captive big cats from our backyards.
This is a matter not only of public safety, but also of preventing captive tigers from being fed into the massive illegal tiger trade driven by a booming black market for tiger products."
If the bill passes it will specifically:
- Prohibit private possession of big cats like tigers and lions except at highly-qualified facilities, like accredited zoos and sanctuaries, where they can be properly cared for and restrained.
- Require any persons who currently possess big cats to register those animals with the USDA in order to keep the cats they currently own.
- Outlaw the breeding of any big cat except at accredited zoos and research and educational institutions.
Anyone who would violate the bill would not only face having their animals confiscated, they could receive fines up to $20,000 and even up to five years in jail.
Maybe that'll send a message to all the tiger owners of America.