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Taking Tigers Out of American Backyards

Did you know that there are more tigers in American backyards than there are in the wild around the world?

Estimated at perhaps 5,000 tigers, they are found in:

  • backyards
  • urban apartments
  • sideshows
  • truck stops
  • private breeding facilities

For the past four years, WWF and TRAFFIC have raised the alarm on the lack of captive tiger regulation. Thanks to the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” introduced by Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) on February 29, 2012, the U.S. is now taking a step in the right direction.

“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,” says WWF’s Leigh Henry. “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:

  • 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.

Violators could face stiff penalties including confiscation of animals, fines as much as $20,000 and up to five years in jail.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is working on introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

Learn more
Watch a video to learn how captive tigers impact wild tigers
Is your toilet paper linked to tiger habitat destruction?

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