Should big cats be held in captivity? | The Tylt

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Should big cats be held in captivity?
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After Netflix's "Tiger King" made the rounds of quarantined households around the country, many people were left wondering when and how the big cat industry could have reached such heights in the U.S. According to The Guardian, estimates of tigers held in captivity in the U.S. hover around 5,000, while there are just 3,200-3,500 remaining in the wild globally. Some people see these numbers and immediately feel there is an issue. Others view the situation more simply, arguing that holding tigers in captivity is better than risking the survival of the species. Do you think big cats should be held in captivity?

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Shortly before Netflix's "Tiger King" debut, The Guardian's Alex Hannaford reported: 

An oft-quoted statistic is that there are more tigers in American back yards than there are left in the wild. According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, there are between 3,200 and 3,500 tigers remaining in the wild globally. By some estimates there are 5,000 in captivity in the US, though there might be more.

For many people, these numbers alone seem wrong. Tigers and other big cats, such as lions, cheetahs and leopards, belong in the wild. The World Wildlife Fund and the Humane Society point out that tigers need large habitats near bodies of water, which legitimate sanctuary spaces (which provide lifetime care to animals in need of help) are more likely to provide. Nevertheless, Hannaford points out that most of those estimated 5,000 big cats in captivity in the U.S. are under private ownership:

According to the World Wildlife Fund, only 6% of America’s captive tiger population lives in zoos and facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums; the rest are in private hands. Some are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture and others by state laws, but some are not regulated at all. “In some states, it is easier to buy a tiger than to adopt a dog from a local animal shelter,” says the WWF.
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But according National Geographic, there are certain facilities that do qualify as sanctuaries. In these cases, many people feel holding tigers in captivity is acceptable. Rachael Bale reports: 

According to the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, an accrediting organization, a true sanctuary exists to provide lifetime care to animals that have been abused, neglected, discarded, or are otherwise in need of help. A true sanctuary does not breed or allow hands-on interactions with animals, and it maintains high standards of care and operation.

According to this argument, all captivity is not created equal. Bale continues: 

For zoos in the U.S., accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums requires facilities to go above and beyond the basic requirements set by the government in terms of animal health, welfare, guest education, safety, recordkeeping, and more. Conservation is typically promoted as an important part of a zoo’s mission. (Many other countries have accrediting organizations too.)
VOTE NOW
Culture
Should big cats be held in captivity?
#NoBigCatsInCaptivity
#NoBigCatsInCaptivity
#BigCatsSafeInCaptivity
#BigCatsSafeInCaptivity