Protect Captive Tigers in the U.S.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) wants to improve protections of captive tigers living in the U.S. It has published a proposed rule to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and close loopholes that currently hinder federal oversight and enforcement of these animals.

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 left in the wild, globally! Most of these captive tigers are "generic" (cross-bred) and, therefore, exempt from the ESA's regulations. That means these beautiful animals are currently unregulated and denied protections other endangered species are afforded.

Please urge the FWS to finalize this new rule to improve protections for all captive tigers, regardless of lineage, in the U.S.
Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Official,

I strongly support the proposed rule that would amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and improve federal oversight and enforcement of 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, globally! Most of these captive tigers are "generic" (cross-bred from different sub-species) and, therefore, exempt from the Endangered Species Act's Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) regulations. That means these beautiful animals are currently completely unregulated and denied protections other endangered species are afforded. The proposed rule requires all tigers, regardless of lineage, to fall under CBW regulations -- greatly improving government oversight and control of tigers in the U.S.

Currently, 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 or monitor their living conditions. Furthermore, with populations of wild tigers decreasing around the world, there is serious concern that U.S. captive tigers could be killed to meet the international demand for tiger parts. Removing the "generic" tiger exemption from the ESA's CBW regulations would prevent tigers from becoming victims of the illegal trade of wildlife parts.

There have already been documented cases of captive tigers living in unacceptable and inhumane conditions and being exploited for profit in the U.S., however FWS currently has no way to track these animals or make enforcement cases due to the existing lax regulations.

Privately owned captive tigers are increasing in the U.S., raising serious public safety concerns since captive tigers retain their wild instincts and can and have caused serious injuries to or even killed their human handlers.

I strongly urge you to finalize the proposed rule, remove the exemption for "generic" tigers under the Captive-Bred Wildlife (CBW) regulations and protect all captive tigers, regardless of lineage, in the U.S.

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