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The Problems with Big Cats in Captivity


There are more tigers in captivity in people’s backyards then there are left in the wild.

Fifty years ago, there were 45,000 tigers in the wild, while today as little as 3,200 tigers remain. Incredibly, there are 30,000 tigers privately owned as pets worldwide. It is estimated that there are 5,000 tigers here in the US, however this number is debatable as experts claim that the state of Texas alone houses more than 3,200 tigers. Some estimates are up to possibly 10-15,000 exotic big cats in private ownership across the U.S..

If you’ve ever seen footage of the way tigers and lions live in the wild, on Animal Planet or Discovery Channel, or you’ve been lucky enough to observe them yourself on a safari, you know that life in the wild and life in captivity vary drastically. In the wild, these animals embody many qualities we respect and admire: courage, strength, beauty, fierceness, resilience, and love for their young. In captivity these animals are stripped of everything that expresses their magnificence.

The problems with captivity:

Photo from Big Cat Rescue in Florida showing the minimum required size by state regulations to house a 400 lb. tiger: