Please urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve protections for captive tigers in the U.S.
In the U.S. today, there are nearly 5,000 tigers used in roadside attractions, bred for human profit or owned as exotic “pets” – that’s more tigers than are even left in the wild, worldwide!
Most of these captive tigers are “generic” (cross-bred from different subspecies) and therefore exempt from the Endangered Species Act’s Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) regulations. That means that these beautiful animals are currently completely unregulated and denied protections other endangered species are afforded.
Fortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is taking steps toward improving federal protections of captive tigers living in the U.S. – it recently published a proposed rule to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and close loopholes that currently hinder federal oversight and enforcement of these animals.
The Proposed Rule
The way the ESA is currently written, "generic" tigers are exempt from federal regulations and protections. For instance, owners of "generic" tigers are not required to report annually to FWS about activities conducted with the tigers, or provide a year-end inventory. In other words, FWS has no way to track these animals, monitor their living conditions or determine if they are being killed for the illegal global trade of their parts.
The growing number of captive tigers in the U.S., combined with lax regulations, is also a public safety concern – captive tigers retain their wild instincts and can cause serious injuries to – or even kill – their human handlers.
The proposed rule removes the "generic" tiger exemption and requires all tigers, regardless of lineage, to fall under CBW regulations, greatly improving government oversight and control of tigers in the U.S.
Thank you for your interest in improving protections for captive tigers in the U.S.
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