Our Services in Agriculture Sector
Around the world, big cats are among the most recognized and admired animals, at the top of the food chain. Lion, tiger, leopard, and jaguar are all majestic animals and symbols of power and courage. Yet all seven species are listed as Threatened or Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, with the tiger categorized as Endangered & globally they all face significant threats to their survival in the wild.
In addition to habitat degradation and loss of prey, many of these iconic predators are hunted directly for their fur, bones, or other body parts. They are also threatened by conflicts with people—their need for space leads them to range outside protected areas and to become a real or perceived threat to local people and their livestock.
The private ownership of big cats, such as lions and tigers, remains huge animal welfare and human safety issue. More than 10,000 big cats are estimated to be in private ownership in some countries. However, the actual number is unknown, as there is no federal law or a comprehensive regulatory system in place to document how many captive-bred big cats are kept as pets by private owners. Big cats often live in inappropriate and unhealthy conditions, housed in small cages in backyards, roadside attractions, traveling exhibitions, and sub-standard zoos. To make matters worse, the public handling of tiger and lion cubs – which have been cruelly removed from their mothers at an early age, is allowed at many of these inhumane facilities. As naturally wild animals, owners attempt to “tame” big cats through cruel handling and barbaric treatment, including declawing and defanging them, thus crippling and subjecting the cats to a life of chronic pain and debilitation. Even with these extreme measures, big cats retain their wild instincts and many accidents and deaths have occurred over the years involving the owners and the general public. Too often such incidents result in the big cat’s death.
Sanctuaries today are filled to capacity with big cats who were either: relinquished to them by owners who could no longer afford to feed and care for the animals; confiscated by law enforcement due to neglect, abandonment, or animal cruelty; or rescued from roadside attractions, circuses, exotic animal auctions, and other public exhibits.
The captive big cat crisis is why passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818) is so important! The Big Cat Public Safety Act will protect the public and help bring an end to the excessive breeding and mismanagement of thousands of tigers, lions, and other big cats in the U.S. by prohibiting the private ownership of big cats.
One invaluable tool is a GPS-based ranger patrol program known as the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), which is now widely deployed in protected areas globally. In the hands of well-trained rangers, SMART technology has vastly improved their efficiency and effectiveness.