There is a wild story of trying to murder for rent on Netflix’s real crime series “Tiger King,” but the story’s sensationality should not distract from the horrific treatment of big cats kept as pets and roadside attractions. If you’re wondering how to help illegal cats after watching Tiger King, just know you’re not alone. Tigers, lions and all kinds of big cat breeds need your help, but sorting out how to support them is tricky.
An article in the Washington Post in July 2019 revealed that there could be more tigers in captivity or kept as a pet in the United States than there is in the wild. Aggravating the situation, there is no federal regulation overseeing or supervising the number of tigers in the United States. In order to introduce a large cat, all one has to do is obtain a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture, for each nation. The bare minimum of care described in the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Regarding private ownership, 35 states prohibit the keeping of large cats as pets, but there are exceptions made to varying degrees of enforcement even in these places.
This means that Joseph Beyond, AKA Joe Exotic, is far from the only person who exploits endangered species for profit. Read on to discover ways you can help protect large cats from zoos on the road and private owners.
Support for Panthera, World Wild Cats Organization
In a statement sent to the hustle in an email, Dr. John Goodrich, chief scientist and director of Panthera Tiger Program, a World Wildlife Conservation Organization, shared the best way for people to help big cats. He supports supporting organizations like Fathra who are dedicated to stopping policing. By ending sailing practices, tigers and other large cats are more likely to stay in their natural habitats and not be imported to the States in the first place.
“The sad truth is that the tiger population in the wild has dropped from 100,000 to 3,900 in the last century. One of the biggest threats is the policing of leopards on their bodies,” said Dr. Goodrich. With animals, Panthera is focusing efforts to stop the dropping before it happens, including training and local law enforcement and tiger surveillance and prey scientists and tiger habitats. “
Visit Panthera.org for more information on how you can help preserve the habitats of big cats, and keep animals away from people who want to take advantage of them.
Donate to organizations committed to ethical animal care
Reputable organizations like the Animal Welfare Institute are working to pass federal legislation to protect tigers and other large cats from being privately owned. They are also working to put an end to the zoo’s way of raising cats to produce a steady stream of puppies for pet visitors and feed for a fee. By donating, you can help these organizations raise the funds needed to fight for these amazing animals.
Other organizations you can donate to include The Wildcat Sanctuary, which provides a forever home to large cats purchased as pets (they are not open to the public like some sanctuaries), and the World Wildlife Fund, which advocates a number of species, including large cats.
Help fight the zoo’s prosperity
Roadside zoos, such as the one shown at Tiger King, are private rest homes marketed as side attractions. Because they are privately owned, they are not held to standards like public zoos. Most notably, they often allow visitors to deal with wildlife, take selfies with them and play with puppies.
Currently, roadside zoos are unfortunately legal, but there are organizations outside that are fighting for their extinguishers and the animals are moving to shrines. Such an organization is the Foundation for Legal Protection of Animals. The ALDF works for the legal protection of animals at roadside zoos, providing better care and making it difficult for private citizens to obtain US dollar permits.
Urge your representatives to pass the Public Safety Law on Big Cat
The Big Cat Internal Security Act is pending in Congress right now, and if it passes, private ownership of big cats will become legal in the United States. The bill will also prevent people who introduce tigers and other large species of cats from allowing the public to directly contact large cats or puppies. “Addressing legislative and worrying offices, both for the health and well-being of large cats and for the safety of communities, is critical in ensuring compliance with the laws protecting big cats.” Alicia Progoski, director of legislative affairs at the Legal Protection Fund, recently told People.
Visit the Animal Welfare Institute for information on how to speed up your reps to pass the Big Cat Safety Act.