Consider the size of the average parking space. If you had a cage that size, the USDA says you can house two fully grown tigers inside. As long as the animal can stand up and turn around, he or she has all the space required by law. And because there are no laws requiring exercise or enrichment, many tigers live in a cage that size their entire lives.
Granted, many captive tigers die within the first two years of life. But a tiger can live up to 25 years.
Female tigers will be bred repeatedly to maintain the number of cubs needed to run the pay to pet operations. One such operation uses up to 200 cubs per year to keep their business going.
Captive tigers are inbred, which means they are not genetically close to wild tigers. They could never be released into the wild because of the repeated inbreeding. By the way, do you know that ALL white tigers are the descendants of one tiger? They do not occur naturally in the wild, and are available only because of mass inbreeding.
Want a pet tiger? It’ll cost ya! Tigers require 10-15 pounds of meat per day, as well as supplements. Veterinary care will be expensive. Oh, and the smell. Even a spayed tiger will mark its’ territory.
Caring for a pet tiger will cost you around $10,000 per year. But a dead tiger could net you $50,000. Pelts can go for as much as $25,000. Various body parts are sold to make traditional medicines. Bones are used to make Tiger Bone Wine.
Sometimes tigers are first hunted, then killed. Confined or “canned” hunts happen all over the world, including the US. If you have enough money, you can pay to hunt and kill a tiger. Or you can skip the hunting part and kill one in a cage. Some hunters pay up to $25,000 for the opportunity to kill a tiger.
So while it’s nice to think that these animals will get a happy ending in a place like Big Cat Rescue, the reality is there are far more tigers than there are places of refuge. And most of them lead a very sad existence.
Tomorrow I’m going to tell you what you can do to help stop this insanity.