Protect Africa's lions, leopards, and cheetahs from the big cat trade

Roadside zoos and cub-petting operations — like those seen by millions in Netflix's "Tiger King" series — are directly contributing to the wildlife trade. And the truth is that many people who love big cats are often unknowing contributors to this trade by taking part in activities like cub-petting and keeping big cats as pets.

Even as their numbers decrease in the wild, unscrupulous cub-petting operations, claiming to be sanctuaries and zoos, are reaping profits by contributing to big cats' decline. And so do big cat "pet" owners who keep these wild animals in their homes.

Here's why:

  • Cubs are seized from their mothers and caged for human entertainment. In the wild, on average, cubs will typically stay with their mothers for between one and two years.
  • Up to 70% of cheetah cubs die en route before reaching their buyers.
  • Lions and other cats are increasingly poached for their bones and other body parts, and unregulated big cat ownership makes it nearly impossible to ensure these captive cats aren't filtering into the trade in body parts.

Ask your Member of Congress to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (S. 1210), re-introduced in April 2021 after passing in only the House in 2020, to help ensure the United States does not contribute to the wildlife trade — and the extinction of Africa's vulnerable big cats.

  • This legislation would prohibit ownership of big cats without a license.
  • The bill also bans the public from petting or holding big cats, including cubs.
  • These restrictions will protect big cats from animal abuse and protect the public from safety risks.

Subject: Save big cats. Support the Big Cat Public Safety Act. 

Dear Senator,

The United States has a strong history of bipartisan support and international leadership in the fight against the wildlife trade. However, the dangerous trade in big cats is largely unregulated in the United States.

Today there are thousands of captive big cats in the United States, including African lions, leopards, and cheetahs which are all already vulnerable in the wild and their populations decreasing.

This largely unregulated trade means that big cat owners do not need to be registered or approved — and there is no telling whether these captive big cats are being trafficked for their body parts or bones.

I am writing to ask you to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act (S. 1210), a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Richard Burr (R-NC), which would ban private ownership of these animals and prohibit exhibitors from allowing public contact with cubs.

This legislation aims to help correct the mistreatment of wild animals and limit the danger posed to members of the public, including law enforcement officers who respond to escapes and attacks.

Please support this bill, and show the world that the United States will continue to lead the fight against wildlife trafficking.


[First Name] [Last Name]

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