People Are Breeding Tigers So They Can Sell Them As Pets Online

There are more captive tigers in people's backyards than there are in the wild.

Credit: World Wildlife Fund

There’s a secret problem in America of captive tigers being bred and sold as pets and for entertainment, and it’s harming the species more than it’s helping it. While tigers are extremely endangered, it would seem that captive breeding might increase their numbers and help their population, but this is far from the case.

Captive bred tigers are never released in the wild and always sold to either individuals who want the exotic animal as a pet or those in the entertainment industry, such as a circus, and instead of helping the wild population they live horrible lives in confinement.

Recently, three tiger cubs in Concord, CA were posted and described as “friendly with humans and other pets.” Sadly, this isn’t the only case of tigers being sold to anyone willing to pay, nor is it an isolated case of an exotic animal likely falling into the wrong hands.

Credit: Born Free USA

According to Smithsonian, “Conservationists estimate that about 3,200 wild tigers remain around the world, while there are some 5,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S.”

Not only are there more tigers in captivity in the U.S. than there are in the wild but only a small fraction of the captive tigers are housed by accredited zoos and aquariums. That means the rest of the tigers are owned personally by humans as pets or for entertainment.

After conducting an investigation into ads posted from March to June 2016, Born Free USA found that these listings were extremely frequent and that exotic animals were being bred and sold at alarming rates. Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, said in a press release, 

“People are purchasing ‘pet’ monkeys, tigers, wolves, snakes, and more with one quick click. It is shockingly easy to purchase exotic animals online, and the proliferation of online sales has facilitated the delivery of exotic animals to untrained people who are ill-prepared for the responsibility of caring for them.”

Though some of the ads offered guides on how to care for these animals, the vast majority did not extend any sort of health, background, or care information for any of the creatures. Since only 19 states have banned the private ownership of exotic animals, it’s easy to bypass these laws and buy online from immoral breeders.

Credit: Born Free USA

Unfortunately, since it’s so dangerous to own an exotic animal once they become an adult, many of the animals wind up abandoned at a roadside zoo or on the streets and some end up dead. Roberts said of an animal’s behavior in captivity,

“Despite claims made by exotic animal breeders, not one of these animals is ‘tame’ and their needs cannot be met in captivity.”

To combat these practices, don’t ever purchase an exotic animal and urge everyone you know to do the same. If your state still allows private ownership, contact your state lawmakers to voice your support of banning the practice here.

What are your thoughts on owning exotic animals as pets? Please share, like, and comment on this article!


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