Cat Laws

Cat Laws

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Action YOU Can Take to Save Big Cats and their Cubs

Due to the government web forms that receive our data, only people who are constituents of certain representatives can contact their legislators.  Please do not use a fake address to game the system as it renders your real identity as useless when there are matters that you really can speak out about.  We try to only email you with actions you can really take, but if you put in a false address, then you won’t get the action alerts that affect you most.  There is something on this page that everyone can do, so please pick your battles wisely.

Salsa is our service provider that makes it possible for you to find the right people to contact by just typing in your zip code.  Don’t worry, we hate spam too and we will not share or sell your personal info outside of the specific targets you are contacting.


U.S. Residents Only

Most Important Action You Can Take for Big Cats and their Cubs

Stop Big Cat Abuse (US ONLY)

Take Action buttonVisit, Call or Send an Email to your Congressional Representative asking them to champion the Big Cat Public Safety Act here:


Prevent Animal Cruelty & Torture (US ONLY)



Protect the Florida Panther

Ban Cougar Trophy Hunting in Wyoming (EVERYONE)

Ban Trophy Hunting in New Jersey (EVERYONE)

Pledge to Never Go to the Circus! (EVERYONE)

Cub Abuse at Colossalcon Kalahari Resort (EVERYONE)



By State


Oppose Bill to Overturn Big Cat Protections

Kansas Residents Only! Senate Bill 97 seeks to overturn protections for big cats and YOU!  Please ask your Senator to vote NO on this bill. We make it easy here:



No Circus Exemption (MO ONLY)


Ban Cat Declawing


Ban Contact w/ Big Cats (OK ONLY)


Cub Petting Shame

Cub Petting Shame

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Cub Petting Shame

It wasn’t long ago (2013 or so) that paying to play with cute little tiger cubs, lion cubs or even liger cubs, was considered something people wanted to do and brag about, but now people know better…at least many people know better.  If you have been sent to this page, after sharing your photo of you and a cub, or talking about how you want to pet a big cat, then you should thank the person who had the guts to send you here.  They obviously care about you and don’t want you to make a fool of yourself by perpetuating the abuse that always goes hand in paw with posing with wild cats.

Ever Wonder Why Celebrities Pet Cubs?

People who love animals just shake their heads when they see that another hapless celebrity has fallen for the temptation to show off by posing with tiger cubs, lion cubs or other baby wild animals.  Even celebrities who know better, will often fall for it, when the breeders and dealers try to use their celebrity status to promote animal abuse.  That may tell you something about most celebrities, but you can’t blame them entirely.  The people who profit off the abuse of baby animals know how to manipulate the public and know that celebrities are often the weak link that make it possible.  They have studied Edward Bernays’ methods.  Watch the video below and then check out the celebrities who apparently fell for such manipulation beneath the video.

The only way to undo the damage that celebrities cause, when they fall victim to the animal abusers ploys, is to try and educate them about what they have done, and ask them to take a stand against the abuse.  Failing that, the last resort is a public spanking.

Where do celebrities go to pet cubs?  There are a few backyard breeders in the U.S. but the place that attracts the most, and ignorant celebrities is Black Jaguar White Tiger in Mexico.   The best article so far to debunk BJWT as a sanctuary is at the link below and says, in part, “BJWT may appear to many to be a sanctuary, but its apparent methods of utilizing its animals for donation mongering and notoriety all but nullify its status as anything other than a playground for the rich, famous and ignorant.”

You know the public opposes cub breeding and handling when Gizmodo goes after the perpetrators of such cub petting schemes with a vengeance like this article.

Yahoo Celebrity News understands why it’s wrong:

And bloggers speak out against using cub petting as a way to end cub petting. #BJWT

Spanking Celebrities for Bad Behavior

Justin Bieber  won’t be attractive to quality women any more, after being caught posing with a tiger on a leash in May 2016.  “Justin Bieber is lucky not to have had his throat torn out by this stressed, captive tiger,” Lisa Lange said. “Tigers used for photo ops are torn away from their mothers shortly after birth.”  Lange added that she believes the tiger was from Ontario’s Bowmansville Zoo — whose director was charged with five counts of animal cruelty earlier this month after video emerged of him appearing to repeatedly whip a different, young tiger.

Floyd Mayweather posted a photo of a tiger, asking fans to name her, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook users are not happy!  Mayweather, the former boxing champion, has been accused of animal cruelty after posting a picture of the 2 month old tiger cub on a leash in Dec 2015.  People quickly responded to Mayweather with angry messages, while one person messaged the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, calling on him to do something about it after the tiger was taken from India.


Beyonce tiger cubSearch “Beyonce tiger cub” and the first listing is a headline that reads:  Beyonce blasted by animal rights groups over photo of her petting a tiger cub with Jay Z and Blue Ivy in Thailand  Get the rest of the ugly story about how a celebrity showed her ignorance of ethics toward tigers in 2015 at

Up next, this article starts out saying, Sorry, Beyoncé — Petting Tigers Is Not Cool

And next, this article’s headline proclaims Here’s One Beyoncé and Jay Z Selfie You Shouldn’t ‘Like’ If You Love Wildlife

Next headline Beyoncé tiger controversy: World Animal Protection charity disgusted as star uses endangered animal as plaything

And even when it looks like they are going to praise the celebrity, the sub headline reads Looks Like Beyoncé and Blue Ivy Got to Hang Out With a Tiger Cub…And animal rights advocates are not happy with the photo Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a wildlife expert for animal welfare charity World Animal Protection, argues, “A tiger is not a plaything,” so animals’ “health and well-being should not be sacrificed for a photo opportunity.”

Next in line in the google search is a headline that reads Beyonce and Jay Z slammed by animal rights group for tiger cub snap Read more:

Yahoo News got in on the criticism quoting “Celebrities should set a humane example, not an exploitative one, as their potential for influence is massive,” said Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “Tigers can kill, whether wild or captive, and every unwitting child who chooses to pose with a tiger as a result of seeing celebrities do so is at risk. Imagine if Beyoncé and Jay Z decided to expose tigers to the world by supporting their conservation in the wild instead.”

Naturally, Big Cat Rescue was one of the first to complain to the star with this open letter:

It caused enough of an uproar to give Beyonce her own page at the Celebrity Dirty Laundry site.

The star bashing headlines go on for pages and pages and are far too many to list here, but suffice it to say the public was outraged and the media went wild.  But was Beyonce the first (or the last) to forego common sense and pay someone to take her picture with a big cat or their cub?  No.

If you were to search “celebrity tiger cub abuse” the first name and article that comes up is Khloe Kardashian couldn’t be more clueless in the Instagram selfie she took posing with a tiger cub in 2015.

Khloe Kardashian Tiger Cub AbuseNext up for Khloe Kardashian is the headline Khloe Kardashian’s Tiger Cub Pic Causes Another Selfie Controversy

that goes on to say, “After getting slammed for posting a pic of her wearing a niqab face covering during her trip to Dubai, Khloe also came under fire on Thursday when she posted a selfie of her cuddling with a tiger cub.

Fans let Khloe know how they felt posting comments like this one, “I thought you were against it? All for a photo op?” another comments reads. “Disgusting… You should be ashamed!!!”

Khloe Kardashian’s bad behavior didn’t escape the notice of the Daily Mail who announced Khloe Kardashian slammed by animal rights campaigners after she poses with tiger cub during Dubai trip Read more:

There were so many news outlets blasting the starlet for her clueless behavior that Yahoo News took note, quoting “We’re disappointed to see yet another celebrity posing with a wild animal,” Silia Smith of World Animal Protection told Daily Mail. “Tiger cubs belong in the wild, with their mothers – not in captivity for use as entertainment or photo props.”

The Huffington Post was right there too with this headline: The Ugly Truth Behind Khloe Kardashian’s Tiger Cub Selfie

Then again, maybe it is a sign of her need for attention that she did it again.   Wildlife expert Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach said: “Their health and well-being should not be sacrificed for a photo opportunity. When you look behind the scenes, holiday snaps like these support an industry that relies on animal cruelty.

Again in 2015 Cara Delevingne slammed by wildlife charity for posing with lion cub: ‘They don’t belong draped over a celebrity’  said the Daily Mirror to their  2.7 million readers

Cara Delevingne enraged so many people world wide with her antics that Yahoo News picked it up too, saying “Cara Delevingne who is the new ambassador for TAG Heure watches got a lot of criticism after photo shoot with a lion cub.”

Darnell Dockett tigerIn 2013 Darnell Dockett posed with a tiger and said he bought a cub to bring to the games.  Big Cat Rescue launched an alert and it turned out to have the most response of any action item that year.  People were infuriated that Darnell Dockett would do, or even say, such an absurd thing, so he began back peddling.  The press held him out to be a liar saying,  “Dockett has claimed that he did buy a tiger cub, although it’s been hard to tell whether he actually did or he’s just jerkin’ on our jockstraps. Now, it looks like at least part of Dockett’s tale is fiction, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the entire thing was just made up.”



The celebrity spanking goes on for pages and pages and pages.


The rapper Tyga thought he was cool and posed with a tiger cub on a leash.  That lead to the media frenzy that had headlines like RAPPER TYGA BUSTED FOR PET TIGER? and Authorities Seize Rapper Tyga’s Pet Tiger

This headline read:  Stop taking ‘tiger selfies’ that fund animal abuse, charity says It went on to report: “Lion and tiger cubs can be found in Cancun, Mexico, while slow lorises are the latest trend in Thailand.  When Rihanna Tiger Abuse on Tinderposted a picture with one online last year, it sparked police raids in Phuket and the arrest of two suspected poachers.”  At least Rihanna’s celebrity status gave the object of her desire for attention an opportunity to be rescued.

Sometimes it isn’t just one celebrity showing their ignorance.  Sometimes it’s a whole team of people who don’t stop and think about how it is that they could be allowed to pet a tiger cub.  The Detroit Tigers were approached by one of the notorious tiger cub exploiters in 2013 in an effort to legitimize a practice that most decent people find appalling.  Members of the team ignorantly posed with the cubs, who had been bred to be used as photo props, and the media latched onto the public outrage that ensued.  The headline read IFAW Calls Foul on Detroit Tigers Photo Op

On April 2, 2013 after being pelted with insults and calls for their shame, the Detroit Tigers removed the offensive photos from their Facebook page.  Big Cat Rescue followed up saying, “GRRRREAT NEWS! The Detroit Tigers have removed from their Facebook page the photos of several players at spring training camp last week posing with a baby tiger! Thank you to everyone who posted a comment on the Tiger’s page to educate them and let them know most people do NOT want to see cubs exploited. We applaud the Detroit Tigers for taking this action and doing the right thing!!”

Unfortunately the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t learn a lesson from that and in 2014 they made their own bad press with the headline, Toronto Blue Jays under fire for posing with baby lion and tiger  Fans commented “Animals are not props. They are not here for our entertainment and have been known to attack and kill trainer/owners/visitors. This is disgusting and disgraceful. It isn’t 1920 anymore. We know better now, so grow up and evolve already.  Animals belong in the wild with their families, not in cages where they can’t express their basic instincts and needs. I’m ashamed this happened in Toronto.”

You don’t have to be a public figure, or a celebrity to make the news with your ill conceived ideas of a good way to entertain the kids.  This mother found herself making headlines after subjecting her child to a tiger mauling.  We didn’t follow the story, but hopefully child services got involved after she paid to let her child to pet a tiger which landed the kid in Intensive Care.

Good Morning America found themselves at the receiving end of a fire storm of rage when they promoted swimming with tiger cubs at Dade City’s Wild Things.  Read the comments and see that most of the commenters expressed their exasperation for the celebrity news staff that were unwittingly drawn into the fray by animal exploiters.


Sometimes the heat for posing with wild animals is so hot the celebrities have to publicly apologize for their bad decisions.

Such was the case for Glenn McGrath who Expresses ‘Deep Regret’ Over Africa Hunting  in his case he killed the wild animals and then posed with them, but the public can be pretty forgiving if they believe  the celeb.


Most People Figure Out Cub Handling is Wrong and Won’t Condone It


More than 60 malls have pledged to never allow cub handling at their venues due to publicity that started in 2009 about how the cubs are purposely bred to be used as pay to play props and then discarded to pet homes, backyard zoos and even the black market.  PetsMart made it their policy not to let these tiger pimps bring cubs onto any of their properties in the U.S., Canada or Mexico.

In 2014 New York passed a ban on Tiger Selfies and any contact with wild cats or their cubs.

When Porsche announced their Macan in 2014, one of the dealerships had the stupid idea of bringing a live tiger to the car store.  Public outrage was so fast and furious that Porsche sent a letter to all of their dealers asking them to NOT make that mistake again.

Citi joined Porsche and PetsMart in the growing list of influential corporations that have banned the use of wild animals at their events and in their advertising.  Big Cat Rescue had contacted these organization and explained to them why it is so bad to use big cats cubs for photos and ego props and they took immediate action after hearing from our supporters.

Wildlife conservation and forestry departments of northeast China’s Heilongjiang province announced in 2012 that visitors will not be allow to pay for pictures with Siberian tiger cubs in a tiger park.  More at China Bans Cub Petting.


Call To Celebrities and Their Agents


rp_HarrisonFordTigerLaunchHSUSkids.jpgYou could do some good and regain your standing in the hearts of your fans if you make a public apology for not bothering to do a quick Internet search on the topic before posing with a wild animal or their cub.  Celebrities have a powerful voice and a moral obligation to be thoughtful in their decisions because so many people are looking to them as role models.  The best way you can help is to speak out in favor of the Big Cat and Public Safety Act which would put an end to these backyard breeders and their web of lies about how this is helping conservation.

Using celebrity power to save animals is a hit in Hollywood.  We all know Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, Sarah McLachlan, Pamela Anderson and Bob Barker are staunch supporters of animals. But so are Kristin Davis, Kesha and Hayden Panettiere, January Jones, Kristin Davis, Woody Harrelson, Pink, Kellan Lutz, Twiggy, Harrison Ford, Jorga Fox, Billy McNamarra, Alison Eastwood and more.


Should YOU Pose with a Wild Animal Cub?


You can find all of the reasons why paying to pet or play with a lion cub, a tiger cub, a liger cub or any other wildcat cub or kitten is ALWAYS abuse at

We used to try and go easy on people who would proclaim to love big cats and then proceed to brag about having petted one or having their photo with one because the media used to condone the practice.  For those who had been duped by the backyard breeders who use cubs to support themselves, we are sorry they took advantage of you.  Now it’s time to burn those photos and let others know why they should never pay to play with cubs.  Once Big Cat Rescue and other non profits who are dedicated to protecting wild animals were able to saturate the media with the truth about cub handling, it’s now easy to figure out that no one who loves wild animals will pay to pet or pose with them.

Now we are asking for your help.  If you see someone posing with tiger cubs, lion cubs or any other wild cat, please send them a Tiger Selfie using this cool app.  It’s a good way to get the message across without being cross.


For any of you who still don’t care; even if you don’t care about protecting wild animals, or their cubs, do you really want everyone to think you are a jerk?



State Laws Exotic Cats

State Laws Exotic Cats

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Which States Ban Wild Pets



State Laws for Keeping Exotic Cats

2016 Stats:  5 states have no laws on keeping dangerous wild animals as pets: Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.  21 states ban all dangerous exotic pets, while the rest allow certain species or require permits.

Find out what your state laws are regarding the keeping of exotic cats from bobcats to tigers. Select the state of your choice below for a synopsis of the law or click HERE to get the full 231 page Adobe PDF version for all states. The WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society lists all existing laws and pending laws HERE If clicking on the state doesn’t take you to the state, try scrolling down the page to the information.

The Library of Congress offers this guide to global laws regarding the private possession of exotic cats.














































Federal Laws:


2013 Legend:

B = Ban on private ownership of big cats (20 states)

B* = Partial ban on private ownership of exotic animals — allows ownership of some exotic animals but precludes ownership of the animals listed (11 states)

L = Requires the “owner” of the exotic animal to obtain a license or permit or to register the animal with state or local authorities to privately possess the animal (excludes states only requiring import permits) (13 states)

N = The state does not require the “owner” to obtain a license or permit to possess the animal within the state, but may regulate some aspect thereof (i.e. entry permit, veterinary certificate, etc.) (7 states)

O = No statute or regulation governing this issue (1 states WI )

To see a list of states that have passed exotic cat bans since 2005 click HERE

The steady increase in legislation banning private ownership represents recognition by our society that private ownership leads to massive abuse. Social values evolve. It took decades to ban slavery in England and for women to win the right to vote in America. Those ideas started out as “radical”, held by a small minority. Gradually more and more people understood and agreed until they became a part of our value system that we take for granted today. The same trend is happening with private ownership of exotics. Gradually more and more people are realizing that this simply leads to widespread abuse of these animals. The best evidence of this is the accelerating trend in state laws. Just since 2005 eight more states have passed some level of ban.



Three Things to Know About Petting a Cub

There are a some lion and tiger cub exploiters still making the rounds at fairs, flea markets, parking lots and malls who are charging the public $10 – $25 to pet a baby lion cub or to play with a baby tiger cub.

USDA regulations should over ride state regulations on this matter, but in Florida the FL Wildlife Commission has set its own standard that may differ a bit, but not much from USDA’s ruling.

Here is what the law says about that:

Cubs cannot be handled by the public before the age of 8 weeks because they are not old enough to have had their first kitten vaccination. Cubs need to be vaccinated at 8, 10 & 12 weeks of age to build up an immune response, so it is really irresponsible to allow contact before 12 weeks.

USDA defines a juvenile big cat as being any cub over the age of 12 weeks and does not permit public contact with cubs over the age of 12 weeks. Despite the fact that touching cubs between the age of 8 weeks and 12 weeks is potentially deadly to the cub, USDA does currently (2010) allow public contact with cubs over 8 weeks and under 12 weeks of age.


In USDA vs Palazzo the courts ruled, “…it is now manifestly clear that USDA has changed its position, finding there to be “an inherent danger present for both the viewing public and the exhibited animals(s) where there is any chance that the public could come into direct contact with juvenile or adult big cats”…and finding that…”For regulatory purposes, APHIS generally considers big cats to become juveniles when they reach 12 weeks of age. 11 CX 20 goes on to explain that “According to Dr. Gibbens’ testimony, the policy precluding direct public contact with juvenile tigers was in effect in 2004 & was placed on the USDA’s website in 2005.


Florida law only allows contact up to 25 lbs for exotic cats. This works out to roughly the same 12 week limit that USDA has imposed, but Florida law does not protect cubs under that weight limit, despite age.


(a) Public contact and exhibition.

1. General: All Class I, II or III wildlife that will be used for contact with the public shall have been evaluated by the exhibitor to insure compatibility with the uses intended. All wildlife shall be exhibited in a manner that prevents injuries to the public and the wildlife. The exhibitor shall take reasonable sanitary precautions to minimize the possibility of disease or parasite transmission which could adversely affect the health or welfare of citizens or wildlife. When any conditions exists that results in a threat to human safety, or the welfare of the wildlife, the animal(s) shall, at the direction of a Commission officer, be immediately removed from public contact for an interval necessary to correct the unsafe or deficient condition.

2. Class I wildlife shall only be permitted to come into physical contact with the public in accordance with the following:

a. Full contact: For the purpose of this section, full contact is defined as situations in which an exhibitor or employee handler maintains proximate control and supervision, while temporarily

surrendering physical possession or custody of the animal to another.

Full contact with Class I wildlife is authorized only as follows:

I. Class I cats (Felidae only) that weigh not more than twenty-five (25) pounds;


Further the US Fish & Wildlife Service defines a sanctuary as a facility that does not allow contact between the animals and the public.

Accredited wildlife sanctuary means a facility that cares for live specimens of one or more of the prohibited wildlife species and:

(1) Is approved by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a corporation that is exempt from taxation under § 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which is described in §§ 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of that code;

(2) Does not commercially trade in prohibited wildlife species, including offspring, parts, and products;

(3) Does not propagate any of the prohibited wildlife species; and

(4) Does not allow any direct contact between the public and the prohibited wildlife species.



Category: N
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources64 N Union St.Montgomery, AL 36104

(334) 242-3465

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Possession of Wildlife for Public Exhibition Purposes

Bobcats and mountain lions are not allowed to be imported into the state, transported within the state (except for licensed game breeders), and future possession permits to keep these species will not be issued (as of March, 2003). Accredited educational facilities, research facilities, and permitted rehabilitation facilities shall be exempt from this regulation through the written permission of the Director of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries or his designee. Previous owners that already have permits will be grand fathered, but breeding is prohibited. Also issues permits for the public exhibition of wildlife. Carnivals, zoos, circuses, and other like shows and exhibits where ample provision is made so the birds, animals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish will not escape or be released in this state are permitted. Applications require statement regarding person education and experience, description of facilities, number of species desired, and signed agreement that recommended standards for wildlife exhibition will be adhered to.

Section 3-8-1 Rabies vaccine required for any canidae or felidae; applicability. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, it shall be illegal to own, maintain, sell, or trade any canidae or felidae for which there is no USDA licensed rabies vaccine. Anyone currently owning or maintaining such animal may keep the animal for the length of the animal’s life providing the animal is spayed or neutered and is registered with the Department of Agriculture and Industries. This section does not apply to any zoological parks, circuses, colleges, and universities, animal refuges approved by the Department of Agriculture and Industries, county or municipal humane shelters, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, or veterinary clinics.

(Acts 1994, No. 94-322, p. 562, §8.)

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Category: B

Department of Fish and Game

P.O. Box 115526, 1255 W. 8th Street, Juneau, AK 99811-5526,  907-465-4100

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Does not allow private ownership of exotic cats and lawbreakers are subject to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. Only issues permits for fur farming of lynx and bobcat, or scientific or education use of animals. Applicants must demonstrate a significant benefit to the state and produce a substantial study plan identifying the purpose and need of their study in addition to specific objectives and procedures.

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Category: L

Game & Fish Dept  5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, 602-942-3000

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Issues Private Game Farm license, for USDA licensed facilities which allows the sale, trade, rental, purchase, display, import and export, possession and breeding of wildlife. Also has Zoo license and Wildlife Holding License. Wildlife Holding is divided into five categories: Scientific Study permit, Wildlife Management, Education Holding, Humane Treatment and Exhibit licenses. Wildlife holding permit is for animals that are unable to meet their needs in the wild, are abandoned, or are no longer useful in previous captive situations, they may not be exhibited. Scientific Study permit is only issued to students and faculty members of higher learning institutions. Humane treatment license is required to hold non- releasable animals. These are one-year renewable permits. They do not cover healthy specimens wanted for personal possession (no pets). Education Holding does not permit “exhibiting”, but requires educational use of animals. Exhibit license is to exhibit live wildlife already possessed. You must have previous and current year’s wildlife holding license before exhibit license will be issued. State statutes generally prohibit the unlicensed keeping of all live game animals, fur-bearing predators and many species of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish. Some animals are allowed as pets if born in captivity, but may not be captured wild. A number of animals are banned in Arizona but lawful in other states. Even if they were obtained legally elsewhere, they may not be imported without a special permit. The black market: Most dealers are collectors or hobbyists, not commercial operators. Some species are valuable in the clandestine market. A list of restricted animals and detailed Arizona information on taking, keeping or dealing in wildlife may be found at Search for “Game and Fish,” then click on “Title 12. Natural Resources” and “Article 4.” Other information on possessing wild animals can be found at For other questions, call Game and Fish headquarters at (602) 942-3000 or the regional office in your area.

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Category: B*

Game & Fish Commission Two Natural Resources Dr. Little Rock, AR 72205  800-364-4263 and 501-223-6300

State Web Site

Commission Web Site

In 2005 Arkansas banned the private possession of large carnivores. Regulates ownership of native feline species. The rearing of any wild animal for commercial purposes requires a wildlife commercial breeder/dealer permit and a USDA license. Must follow general provisions applicable to Captive Wildlife in the Arkansas State Game & Fish Commission Code Book, Chapter 9.   Also has a new wildlife translocation permit for transport of wildlife through Arkansas – requires a permit and health certificate be on file with AG & F. Possession of wild felines is further regulated on a county level in several counties.

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Department of Fish and Game License and Revenue Branch  1740 North Market Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95834, 916-928-5805

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Department Regulations  input Title 14, Section 671

Exhibiting permits for educational purposes, must have a written statement of purpose that specifically incorporates a NO PETS EDUCATION POLICY. Must also present animals in natural setting and natural behavior patterns. Breeding permits will be issued for animals that the department determines will not result in unwanted or uncared for animals or if species is endangered and needs to be propagated. AZA Zoo permit allows possession of only species listed on department approved permit inventory. Research must be college, government, or bona fide scientific institution. Also issues Broker/Dealer and Shelter.

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Category: B

Division of Wildlife 6060 Broadway Denver, CO 80216 303-297-1192

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Division Regulation   Chapter 11, Article II, # 1104

Issues Commercial Wildlife Park Permits. Wild felines must be possessed for commercial purposes only. Has specific requirements to meet definition of commercial; must provide a plan to show a profit, must have experience, maintain business records, hire and train employees, file state and Federal income tax based on this activity, etc. Further, there are caging requirements, and any animal exhibited out of a cage requires a $500,000 liability policy. Big Cats can be held in natural settings. Open topped enclosures must be 10 feet, with double electrified wires on top and fencing sunk 3 feet into ground.

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Category: B*

Dept of Environmental Protection 79 Elm Street Hartford, CT 06106  860-424-3000

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Statutes of Connecticut, Title 26, Chapter 490, Section 26-40a and Section 26-55

Only allows for municipal parks, zoos, nature centers, museums, laboratories and research centers to possess wild felines. Forbids private ownership or any feline breeding farms.

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Category: L

Department of Agriculture 2320 South DuPont Highway Dover, DE 19901  302-698-4500

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Must have permit to possess animals not native to state and has specific carnivore category. Permit approval requires a cage, and perimeter fence, positive control of animal and approval of permit application. State issues Carnivore Class licenses to firms, dealers, pet shop operators, research centers, municipal zoos and traveling circuses. For private possession of wildlife for pet purposes, state issue permits for lifetime for each individual. Private ownership of wild mammals requires animals be purchased where previous permits have been issued. Before permit is issued, it must be determined that animal will in no way poses a threat or nuisance to the public.

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Category: B* & L

Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission 620 South Meridian St. Tallahassee, Fl 32399 (850) 488-4676

Department Web Site Policy

Florida Captive Wildlife Rules

See an interactive online map of exotic cat owners.

Class I animals (includes panthera cats) can not be kept for personal use – must be commercial exhibitors. Class I permit requires 1 year and 1000 hours experience, details of experience and place acquired and 2 references. Documented educational experience in zoology or other relevant biological sciences, obtained at the college or technical school level or above, may substitute for up to six months or 500 hours of the required experience. The Class I permit applicant still has to prove another documented 500 hours or 6 months, if they have the Biological Sciences qualifications. Class I exhibitors must post a $10,000.00 bond or carry 2 million in liability insurance. Class I animal permits require that facilities for Class I animals must be constructed on properties of not less than 5 acres in size. Under a Class II and Class III permit, animals as large as mountain lions can be kept for pets. Class II permits require 1,000 hours experience, or 100 hours experience and successful completion of a test. Class II and Class III wildlife shall not be possessed in multi-unit dwellings unless the dwelling in which they are housed is equipped with private entrance, exit, and yard area. Class II permits for mountain lion, require that facilities for mountain lions must be constructed on properties of not less than 2 acres in size. Applicants for a Class III animals must be at least 16 years of age and shall require the satisfactory completion of a questionnaire developed by the Commission that assesses the applicant’s knowledge of general husbandry, nutritional, and behavioral characteristics. All permits require adherence to structural cage requirements. There are more than 1500 tigers in Florida, but less than 100 of them are in accredited facilities. If you are a resident, type your zip code into any box on this page to see what legislation is pending in your state and make a difference now!  Florida issues more than 4000 exotic ownership permits each year and has to employ 27 inspectors at a cost to tax payers of 1.5 million dollars per year, just to allow people to keep, breed and sell exotic pets. Permits cost between 5. and 250. if you have more than ten animals. This does not generate nearly enough revenue to cover the cost of administration. What can a County in Florida do to ban exotic pet ownership when FWCC says they have supreme authority and no intention of banning this inhumane practice? Click here to see what the Attorney General has to say. Memo of Law.

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Category: B

Department of Natural Resources  2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE Suite 1252, Atlanta, GA 30334, 404.656.3500

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Wildlife Exhibition permit requires that you must be over 18, must be USDA licensed, must have cages with scientific names posted, must conduct a minimum 12 hours education per year, special requirements for rabies prone animals; bats, coyotes, foxes, bobcats. Have specifications for humane handling, care, confinement and transportation of wildlife. Rehabilitation permit; has caging and housing, veterinary, handling requirements. Wild Animal License requires that you must be USDA licensed as breeder, dealer or exhibitor, must have insurance voucher for large felines; big cat species, snow leopard, mountain lion or cheetah, must have proof that no local ordinances forbid holding wildlife. Has regulation that specifies humane handling, care, confinement and transportation of wildlife. No permits issued for non-commercial possession of wild felines, i.e. no pets allowed.

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Category: B

Department of Agriculture  1428 S. King Street,  Honolulu, Hawaii 96814, 808-973-9560

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Import of wild felines into this state is granted only for research by universities or government agencies, exhibition in municipal zoos or other institutions for medical or scientific purposes as determined by the Board of Agriculture. No private ownership allowed.

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Category: N

Department of Agriculture

P. O. Box 790, Boise, Idaho 83701-0790  208-332-8540

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Issues Fur farm permits for bobcats and lynx. Applicants must notify Dept of Agriculture of intention to possess fur bearing animals, individually mark each animal, maintain records of purchases, sales and progeny, allow facility inspection by F & G personnel, and importation of any bobcat or lynx requires valid state health certificate. Frequently people will circumvent the law by claiming to be fur farmers so that they can raise and sell lynx as pets. If you are a resident, type your zip code into any box on this page to see what legislation is pending in your state and make a difference now!

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Category: B*

Department of Natural Resources

One Natural Resources Way,  Springfield, IL 62702-1271,  217-782-6302

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Leopards, jaguars, tigers, lions, cheetahs, mountain lions, snow leopards, ocelots, bobcat, jaguarundi and margay are considered by the state as “Dangerous Animals” and require permit approval by the Director of Natural Resources. Permits for these wild felines will only be issued for USDA licensed exhibitions, zoos, for scientific or research purposes, or to animal refuges by the Director of Natural Resources. Illinois does issue fur farm licenses for bobcat. Frequently people will circumvent the law by claiming to be fur farmers so that they can raise and sell lynx as pets. Importation of any wild feline into the state requires approval from Director. An intent to import wildlife must be filed with state Director not less than 30 days prior to importation, and must include veterinary proof animal is free of disease, and director must be satisfied that in no way does the animal pose a threat to wildlife or potential to become a nuisance to people of the state. Zoos and public displays of wildlife are exempt from permit requirement.

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Category: L

Division of Fish and Wildlife

402 W Washington St., Rm. W273 Indianapolis, IN 46204 317-232-4080

State Web Site

Department of Natural Resources Web Site

Department of Wildlife Web Site

Issues Wild Animal Possession Permits. Permits are for one year only, must be renewed annually. Class III is for wild cats. Bobcats are native endangered species, but may be legally possessed with proof of legal captive birth paperwork. Must provide health certificate for animal being possessed, escape recapture plan, pay $10.00 fee, have cages inspected by conservation officer. Provides caging requirements that include: concrete floors must be covered with natural substrate, loafing platforms, 14 foot tall walls with 45 degree incline can be used if no roof provided, etc. Persons licensed by the USDA as commercial exhibitors, zoos or dealers are exempted from this state permit and its requirements.

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Category: B

Department of Natural Resources

502 E. 9th Street Wallace State Office Building Des Moines, IA 50319 515 281-5918

State Web Site

Department Web Site

5/17/07 Iowa bans Internet Hunting and on 5/27/07 Iowa made it illegal for a person to privately own or possess a dangerous wild animal and it is now illegal to breed or transport them into Iowa. Exotic pet owners won’t have to give up their pets because the bill doesn’t apply to animals currently owned by Iowans. However, the bill requires owners to register their dangerous wild animal. The animals must be listed with the state an electronic identification device must be attached or embedded into the animal.

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Category: N & L

Department of Wildlife and Parks

512 SE 25th Ave Pratt, KS 67124 (620) 672-5911

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Exotic felines may be kept, bred, sold, imported, purchased, without limit in time or number despite the fact that there is no legitimate market for them. Wildlife must be confined and all activity is subject to federal or state rules and regulations. Possession of mountain lions requires a Special Wildlife Possession permit. Commercial breeding of mountain lions requires a Game Breeder Permit. Bobcats purchased legally from other states and possessed in Kansas are not regulated. There is no reason for the general public to be breeding and selling exotic cats in Kansas.

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Category: B

Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

#1 Sportsman’s Lane,  Frankfort, KY 40601,  800-858-1549

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Effective 2005, a ban on the private possession of tigers, lions, monkeys, bears, venomous reptiles, and other dangerous wildlife has been enacted in Kentucky. One of the most comprehensive restrictions on the keeping of exotic animals as “pets” in the United States, the regulation also prohibits existing animals from being bred. Existing confining facilities shall be large enough to allow reasonable space for exercise, shelter, and maintenance of sanitary conditions. The holder of an existing pet or breeding permit shall allow a conservation officer to inspect the facilities at any reasonable time.  As of 2012 Kentucky has held the record for five years in a row of having the most lacking regulations for protecting animals of all kinds according to the ALDF.

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Category: B

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

P.O. Box 98000 Baton Rouge, LA 70898  1-800-256-2749

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Bobcats require a non-game quadruped exhibitor or breeder license. In April 2006 Louisiana passed a ban on the possession of non human primates, cougars, bears, wolves & hybrids. Exceptions are AZA accredited facilities. Those in legal possession at this time may keep the animals until they die, but they may not be bred, replaced nor taken out in public and no public contact is allowed.

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Category: L

Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Mailing Address:
41 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0041

Physical Address:
284 State Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0041

Department phone number is:  207-287-8000

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Personal Possession requires Import Permit and Propagator Permit. Exhibitor requires exhibitor’s permit. Have caging, health, safety, and sanitation requirements. Permit application asks for reason to be imported, experience level of applicant, and takes into consideration the potential for animal to harm humans or environment.

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Category: B*

Department of Natural Resources  580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401,  1-877-620-8DNR (8367)

State Web Site

Department Web Site

No personal possession permits. Denial of personal possession is based on the rabies concern and a lack of an USDA approved rabies vaccination for wild felines. A public zoo park, museum, educational institution, or a person holding a valid state or federal permit for educational, medical, scientific or exhibition purposes may possess, trade, barter, import or sell wild felines. As of 2006 a sanctuary is defined as a 501 c 3, that does not buy, sell, trade, lease, or breed outside of the SSP and does not conduct commercial activity with respect to any animal. While it would appear that MD is trying to be responsible in regards to rabies, the exclusion of educators, who drag their animals out to schools for a fee, outweighs their proactive attempts.

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Category: B

Department of Fish and Wildlife

251 Causeway St., #400, Boston, MA. 02114,  617-626-1500

State Web Site

Department Web Site

No permits for breeding unless in compliance with AZA, IUCN, or the state of Massachusetts or the USA, and in the eyes of MA Director will make a meaningful contribution to the survival and recovery of the species. No personal possession permits for the purpose of pet ownership will be issued. Authentic and legitimate educational use certified by zoological or biological officials will be issued permits. Commercial businesses where the animal is in conjunction with the applicant’s primary existing occupation or livelihood will be granted a permit.

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Category: B* & N

Department of Natural Resources

Wildlife Division P.O. Box 30444 Lansing, MI 48909  517-373-1263

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Must have permit to hold wildlife for native species mountain lion and lynx are state-endangered species and cannot be privately owned for pets. Bobcats in MI are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources. Separate enclosure must be built first, and then a special permit called “Permit to Hold Wildlife in Captivity” needs to be obtained BEFORE getting the animal and are issued by the Department of Natural Resources Permit Specialist, James Janson. Inspection may be required before permit approval and Monthly Inventory Reports are required after obtaining the permit. Minimum Enclosure Requirements for a Bobcat: 8ft x 6ft x 6ft for a single animal. 24 sq ft of floor space per additional animal. (compare to the five square miles this animal would roam in the wild) Clawing logs. Den Box 2ft x 2ft per animal. Climbing tree 3 or more 4in diameter branches for each animal. Lounging shelf must be 14in x 36in located at least 3ft above floor per animal. Tigers, Leopards, Lions, Jaguar, Panther, Cheetah, mountain lion, and hybrids of such are not to be owned by private individuals. Only persons who possess a USDA Class C exhibitors license will be granted a state permit to possess big cat species or mountain lions. Existing large felines owned by those without this federal permit must register their feline with the state and a variety of regulations must be complied with for the animal to continue to be possessed for it’s lifetime. The new regulations forbid the breeding of any large feline. Importation of other non-native species is regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Division . Department of Natural Resources does not regulate small exotic felines at this time.

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Category: B*

Department of Natural Resources

500 Lafayette Road,  St. Paul, MN 55155-4040  651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367

State Web Site

Department Web Site

It is unlawful for a person to possess a regulated animal. A regulated animal is defined as all members of the felidae family (except domestic cats); all bears; and all non-human primates. A person who possesses a regulated animal on the effective date of the law, January 1, 2005, has 90 days to register the animal with the local animal control authority. Persons possessing a registered regulated animal may replace the regulated animal if he/she dies, but may replace he/she only once. The law also requires those longtime owners to have a written plan to recapture escaped animals and to meet Department of Agriculture requirements for caging, including having a perimeter fence around primary enclosures. Regulated-animal signs must be posted, and wildcats must be registered with local animal-control authorities, who in rural counties might be the sheriff.

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Category: L

Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

1505 Eastover Dr.,  Jackson, MS 39211,  601-432-2400

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Must obtain permit for all big cats, clouded, snows, cheetahs and mountain lions. Can get personal possession, or breeding or exhibiting permits. Requires $100,000 per animal Liability insurance, health certificate $300.00 per animal yearly fee. Sanctuaries are exempted from paying yearly fee, only if they are USDA Class C licensed. Permits have caging, housing, record keeping requirements.

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Category: N

Department of Conservation P.O. Box 180 Jefferson, MO 65102 573-751-4115

State Web Site

Department Web Site

2010:  Large Carnivore Act (LCA): This law requires anyone who owns, breeds, possesses, or transports a large carnivore on or after January 1, 2012, to obtain a permit from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and to maintain a minimum of $250,000 in liability insurance. Verification of insurance must be provided annually. The LCA (Section 578.600 – 578.624 RSMO) includes the following protections for the animals;

  • Requires the Department of Agriculture to enforce the provisions of the Act to ensure that owners of such animals “practice best husbandry and health care protocols to ensure the humane and safe treatment of large carnivores on behalf of their physical well-being.”
  • Requires owners of large carnivores to provide their animals with adequate care and treatment, as established by USDA, in the areas of housing, handling, transportation, sanitation, nutrition, water, general husbandry, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperature.
  • Prohibits the issuance of a permit to own or possess a large carnivore to anyone who has “been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, a violation of any state or local law prohibiting neglect or mistreatment of any animal…”
  • Prohibits the issuance of a permit to anyone who has any type of felony conviction within the previous ten years.

Effective March 2008 MO Wildlife Code changed as follows: Safety: Because of the inherent danger and potential liability associated with the possession of bears, mountain lions, wolves and their hybrids, the Conservation Commission now requires owners of these animals to identify each individual with a microchip embedded under the animal’s skin. The owners must also submit a blood or tissue sample for DNA analysis. All animals must be registered with the Department when acquired, born, at death, or when sold. This will aid enforcement of illegal sales of these animals and will help Department biologists distinguish escaped and released captives from wild animals. MO Conservationist magazine Feb issue at where Wildlife Code book for 2008 has been released. Now help get SB 1032 passed at Current Regs: Regulates bobcat and mountain lion only – has caging requirements and permit application. Bobcats are Class 1 animals, mountain lions are Class II animals. Bobcats can be permitted for personal possession reasons, called Wildlife Hobby Permit for $10 fee. Commercial breeders can get a Class I Wildlife Breeder Permit for $50 per year. Possession of mountain lions requires a Class II Breeder Permit for $150.00 per year – they cannot be possessed under the wildlife hobby permit. Has caging, husbandry and transportation standards.

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Category: L & N

Fish, Wildlife and Parks

P.O. Box 200701 Helena, MT 59620  406-444-2535

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Bobcats and lynx are listed as furbearers. But if they are raised not for their fur or body parts, a permit is not required. State issues Fur Farm permit, but make one exception. If animal is raised not for its fur or body parts, a permit is not required. Importation of wild felines in the state requires an import permit. Possession of wild felines requires a valid permit. State has permits for Roadside Menageries and Wild Animal Menagerie and Zoo licenses. Tigers and mountain lions must be tattooed on the left thigh. Roadside Menageries must keep detailed records of acquisition, birth, death and transfer. There are also housing, feeding, treatment and care regulations. Roadside Menagerie Permits requires proof of $100,000 liability insurance on each occurrence of bodily injury. Insurance must be with a reputable operation and must cover all injury to the public whether negligent operation, maintenance care, confinement or supervision causes an accident. Permit fees are $10.00 for less then 6 animals, and over 6 animals cost $25.00. No more than 10 animals may be possessed with a Wild Animal Menagerie permit. Has caging, record keeping, feeding, treatment and sanitation requirements. Zoo permits require that the licensee be a non-profit organization.

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Category: B*

Game and Parks Commission

2200 N. 33rd St., Lincoln, NE 68503   402-471-0641

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Private, non-commercial possession of wild felidae, including cross breeds with domestic cats is illegal. Only issues permits for the possession of felidae to municipal, state or federal zoos, parks, refuges or wildlife areas, or bona fide circus or animal exhibit. Also issues fur farm licenses for bobcat and lynx for the purpose of raising these species for fur or producing stock for sale to persons engaged in fur farming.

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Category: N

Department of Wildlife

1100 Valley Rd., Reno, NV 89512   775-688-1500

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Requires a permit for the possession of bobcats and mountain lions. Also has import permit for bobcat and mountain lion. All other felines are exempt from permit requirements. Issues both non-commercial licenses ($5.00 per year) and commercial licenses ($100 per year.) Has caging requirements. Allows for the option of open-topped enclosures. mountain lions must have perimeter fences 8 feet tall and have Y-recurve on top of at least 12 inches wide. Gates must be self-closing and have two locking devices. Native felines must be permanently marked or ear-tagged.

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New Hampshire
Category: B

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department  11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, 603-271-3211

State Web Site

Department Web Site

New Hampshire only allows possession of wild felines by USDA licensed exhibitors. The NH state exhibitor permit requires that one have 2,000 hours of paid experience with a licensed exhibitor to qualify. Exhibitors must not allow direct contact of the felines with the public.

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New Jersey
Category: B

N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife, Mail Code 501-03, P.O. Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Does not issue permits for potentially dangerous species (All felids) for pet or hobby purposes. Possession of potentially dangerous species must be for scientific holding, animal exhibitor, zoological holding or animal dealer. Application asks for education and background information, demonstration of a working knowledge of the species, the stated purpose and intent, description of housing and caging plans. An Endangered species possession permits will not be issued for the purpose of breeding by amateurs. A scientific institution, zoological society or similar organization must sponsor the possession of any endangered species.

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New Mexico
Category: B

Department of Game and Fish P.O. Box 25112 Santa Fe, NM 87504    505-476-8000

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Must have importation permit before wildlife may enter this state. Discourages and prevents the importation of non-native species into state. Does issue permits for zoos, Class A parks, and scientific study. Importation of non-game species requires a confinement and maintenance plan, and certificate from veterinarian that animal is disease free and copy of applicant’s USDA exhibitor or breeder license.

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New York
Category: B

State Department of Environmental Conservation

625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-0001     518-402-8995

State Web Site

Department Web Site

In 2005 new law specifically prohibits the possession, sale, barter and importing of big cats, monkeys, large reptiles, bears, wolves, venomous snakes and many other wild animals as pets. State issue permits for Possession, Sale and breeding, Scientific or Exhibition purposes, Collection and Possession in some cases. Endangered species breeding permits. Also issues fur-farming permits for bobcats and lynx. Native felines may not be kept as pets. New legislation is pending and you can help save the lynx from anal/genital electrocution and eliminate dangerous exotic cats from being sold or possessed in New York.

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North Carolina
Category: N

Wildlife Resources Commission

1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1701   919-707-0010

State Web Site

Department Web Site

In 2005 NC is proposing a ban of private ownership of exotic animals. Issues Wildlife Captivity License. For private possession of mountain lions, state requires natural habitats of rather grandiose proportions. Minimum one-acre enclosure, 12 foot fences, with 45 degree recurve, have a pool, have a den, have vegetation and landscaping, property must be owned by applicant. Zoos or Scientific Research facilities are allowed to keep mountain lions in concrete and chain link cages. No natural habitats required for bobcats as are for mountain lions, but state has minimum cage size requirements. Must apply for Import Permit if native feline is being brought into state from outside the state. Must be USDAlicensed to import any species native to the US. But that is not a requirement to purchase in-state, though NC does not issue permits for pet purposes. State does not regulate non-native species, but many counties have enacted regulations of wild felines.

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North Dakota
Category: L

Board of Animal Health Department of Agriculture 600 E Boulevard Ave. Dept 602 Bismarck, ND 58505  701-328-2655

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Regulates private ownership of nontraditional livestock, i.e.: all wild animals in captivity, by issuing licenses. Bobcats and lynx are category 3 animals (native to the state) all other felines are Category 4. (Inherently dangerous) Before any class 3 or 4 animals can be imported into the state, an importation permit must be issued. Nontraditional livestock permitees must keep records of sales, purchases, escapes, captures, diseases or animal transfers or births. Record keeping must be available for inspection.

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Category: B

Department of Natural Resources 2045 Morse Road, Building G, Columbus OH 43229-6693    614-265-6300 and 800-WILDLIFE

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Requires a permit to posses the native endangered species, bobcat. Permits issued for zoological, breeding, scientific and educational purposes. Must have permit before the bobcat can be imported into the state. On June 5th, 2012 a law passed that banned the private possession of dangerous wild animals, including most exotic cats.  Those who have the animals must register them but cannot buy or breed more.  The only exemptions for breeding are AZA accredited zoos (and ZAA for now, but that needs to change) and sanctuaries that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries can continue to rescue wild animals. See the details of the OHIO WILD ANIMAL BAN.

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Category: L

Department of Wildlife Conservation P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152 405-521-3851

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Requires a Commercial Breeder’s permit for possession of any native bear or cat (black bear and mountain lion) that has an adult weight that exceeds 50 pounds, even if the animal is not to be bred. Issues Personal Possession permits for any native wildlife to be kept for hobby purposes. Importation into the state of bobcats, or mountain lion, requires an Import Permit. Cage construction and inspection is required before permit is issued. Requires that permitee follow the general care guidelines of the AWA. Permit fee is $48.00 for commercial permit and $5.00 for personal possession permit. Passed this change in spring 2003 legislative session removing the regulation of exotic felines over 50 pounds. Just native species are regulated.

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Category: L

Department of Fish and Wildlife

3406 Cherry Avenue N.E, Salem, OR 97303   503-947-6000  or  800-720-ODFW [6339]

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Neither bobcat or lynx can be bartered, sold or purchased in the state of Oregon. Oregon Dept. off Fish and Wildlife issues holding permit for bobcat, but it is not legal for Oregon residents to sell bobcats. They issue commercial wildlife propagators license for mountain lions. The State Department of Agriculture regulates exotic animal permits.

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Category: L

Game Commission 2001 Elmerton Ave Harrisburg, PA 17110  717-787-4250

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Has Exotic Wildlife Possession Permit ($50.00 per animal) that does not allow breeding and sale. Exotic Wildlife Dealer Permit ($200.00) does allow breeding and resale. Wildlife Menagerie Permit ($100) allows possession of cats as well as many other species, but to qualify, facility must be open to the public and charge a fee. PA Game Commission has caging, housing, bill of sale, sanitation and general requirements to be met to qualify for permit. State game protector inspects facilities prior to permit approval. Exotic Wildlife Possession Permit requires inspection by game protector prior to receiving animal. Exotic Wildlife Permit allows the importation and possession of wildlife, but a separate permit must be applied for each animal. New regulation passed in April 2003 requires a two year experience requirement for each for each canid or felid species permit applied for.

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Rhode Island
Category: L

Division of Fish and Wildlife 3 Ft. Wetherill Road, Jamestown, RI 02879, 401-423-1920

State Web Site

Rhode Island State Veterinarian Dr Scott Marshall Division of Agriculture 235 Promenade St. Room 370 Providence, RI 02908

Department of Environmental Management

Must obtain a permit from the RI Dept of Environment, Department of Agriculture to import, possess or receive any native wildlife or hybrid thereof. Permits are issued to AZA zoos, US F & W Service, or other USDA approved facilities complying with the AWA, with specific attention to part 3 – Standards, part 2 sub-part E – Identification of Animals and additionally sub-part C – Research facilities. Exotic wildlife is regulated by the state veterinarian. To possess or import any exotic wildlife, contact the RI state veterinarian.

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South Carolina
Category: N

Department of Natural Resources P.O. Box 167 Columbia, SC 29202  803-734-3886

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Section 47-5-50 Prohibition on sale of wild carnivores as pets; No carnivores, which normally are not domesticated, may be sold as a pet in this state. Dangerous animals are not permitted beyond premises unless safely restrained. Further, those possessing dangerous animals must maintain them in a controlled and confined manner. Dangerous animal is not defined only on the basis of species. No person may possess with the intent to sell, offer for sale, breed, or buy, or attempt to buy, a known dangerous animal; however, this subsection does not apply to a person who is licensed to possess and breed an animal under the classifications specified and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act as codified in Title 7 of the United States Code. It is illegal to sell, possess or import wild felines except for scientific or exhibition purposes. 2/19/07 Chester County will be looking at possibly changing its zoning procedure and putting in an exotic animal ban. Because SC has no state wide ban on possession in place, many counties have passed their own ordinances either banning or strictly regulating exotic animal ownership. York County has an ordinance banning exotic animals. Lancaster County has banned them as well, as has Fairfield County. Lexington County outside Columbia has a ban, as does the town of Mount Pleasant. Beaufort County has a ban as well. Lexington County’s ordinance is just one page. It lists several types of “exotic animals” from lions and tigers and other big cats, to reptiles, bears, elephants and gorillas. Lancaster County’s ordinance bans exotic animals, saying “no person, firm or corporation shall keep or permit to be kept on their premises any exotic animal as a pet for display or for exhibition purposes.”

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South Dakota
Category: L

Animal Industry Board 411 South Fort Street Pierre, SD 57501 605-773-3321

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Must apply for annual Captive Non-Domestic Animal permit. Facility must be built and approved before issuing permit. Permit fee is $10.00 per animal, maximum of $100.00. State issues Import permit and it may be granted by telephone. Zoo permit is also $10.00 per animal up to $100 maximum and allows the possession of any non-domestic mammal. Applicants must be non-profit exhibitors.

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Category: B

Wildlife Resources Agency

Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Rd., Nashville, TN 37220,  615-781-6500

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Possession of dangerous animals requires commercial activity and USDA license. Has Exhibitor permit – $500.00 per year and Breeder permits $1,000 per year. Zoos are exempt from permit requirements if they are AZA accredited. There is a Rehab permit. A test is required for Class I permit (covers big cat species, snow leopards, cheetahs and mountain lions). Test is on handling, habits, health care and housing. Have caging, sanitation, and housing standards. Cages must be inspected by TDW before animals will be permitted. Small cat species fall under Class III, which does not require a permit. Bobcats are considered a native species and require a class II permit. State has housing and transportation rules for possession of any wild animal.

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Category: L

Parks and Wildlife Department, Headquarters 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744   389-4800
State Web Site

Parks and Wildlife Web Site

In 2001 the Texas legislature passed a state law mandating that all counties either regulate or ban “dangerous” wild animals. A list of species considered dangerous contains nearly all felines, with only a few species such as geoffroy’s cats, jungle cats and asian leopard cats not listed. Each county must develop a plan to administer a registration process that requires a permit fee, caging standards, $100,000 liability insurance and veterinary care requirements as outlined in the state law. Many counties have chosen to ban rather then fund a county registration requirement. This is an irresponsible way to manage a state wide problem. There are more tigers in Texas than there are left in the wild. The state needs much tougher legislation to prevent the breeding, selling and often the shooting of exotic cats in canned hunts.

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Category: B

Department of Natural Resources Main office
PO Box 145610, 1594 W North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-5610

Division of Wildlife Resources Main office
1594 W North Temple, Suite 2110m PO Box 146301
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6301

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Issues permits for educational and scientific use of wild felines. Applicant must be university, government agency, non-profit institution, or persons involved in wildlife research. Wild felines can be imported and possessed for commercial purposes by a bona fide zoo, circus, amusement park, or film company. Also bobcat or lynx can be propagated for their fur but you must apply for a certificate of registration from the department.

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Category: B

Department of Fish and Wildlife 103 South Main Street Waterbury, VT 05671 802-241-3700

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Must have an importation permit before any wild felines may enter the state. Office does not issue permits if wild felines are desired for pets, breeding stock or private collection. They have not issued any importation permits for wild felines. With sufficient documentation, they would allow the importation for scientific research, education, or exhibition purposes.

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Category: B*

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries P.O. Box 11104 Richmond, VA 23230 804-367-1000

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Does not allow pet possession of wild felines. Must be USDA licensed as a Class B broker or C Exhibitor or have scientific or educational purposes. Must have import permit before animals can enter this state. USDA licensed persons are automatically granted an import permit, but must notify state 24 hours in advance of intention to import, and FAX a copy of their current license or registration prior to receiving new animals.

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Category: B

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Building 74, 324 Fourth Ave, South Charleston, WV 25303,  304-558-2754

State Web Site

Department Web Site

(7) Scientific research or display: The director may issue written authorization for a person to import into the state, hold, possess and propagate live specimens of wildlife listed in subsection (2) of this section, for scientific research or for display by zoos or aquariums who are accredited institutional members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), provided that the person:
(a) Confines the specimens to a secure facility;
(b) Does not transfer specimens to any other location within the state without the director’s written authorization, and the specimens are transferred to other AZA-accredited facilities and transported by AZA-accredited institutional members or their authorized agents;
(c) Does not sell or otherwise dispose of specimens within the state, unless the director gives written approval to sell or dispose of the specimens;
(d) Keeps records on the specimens and make reports as the director requires; and
(e) Complies with the requirements in this section.

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West Virginia
Category: B

Division of Natural Resources

Building 74, 324 Fourth Ave, South Charleston, WV 25303,  304-558-2754

State Web Site

Department Web Site

3/21/14 Gov. Tomblin has signed a bill into law to prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. Introduced by Del. Randy Swartzmiller (D-1), HB 4393 passed the House by a vote of 72 to 23, and the Senate by a 22 to 11 vote.

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Category: O

Department of Natural Resources Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707 608-266-2621 toll free  888-936-7463

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Regulates native species bobcat, mountain lion and lynx, but not exotic wildlife. State allows possession of these species for exhibition or advertising purposes and issues Exhibitor’s License. Applicants must provide information on location of exhibit, source of exhibit animals, USDA license to exhibit. State also issues permit for Game Farms to those engaged in the breeding or hobby keeping of wildlife.

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Category: B

Game and Fish Department 5400 Bishop Boulevard Cheyenne, WY 82006  307-777-4600

State Web Site

Department Web Site

Possession of all wildlife is regulated by state statutes and commission regulations. Application for possession permit requiring source of wildlife, purpose of possession, description of holding facility, biological evaluation on threats to native species must be approved before importation permit will be issued. Bobcats can be possessed for commercial fur farming. Lynx, considered native protected species may be possessed only for scientific and educational permits. There shall be no private ownership of animals classified as trophy animals, which includes mountain lions. Applications for possession of exotic felines will be evaluated upon human health and safety, animal welfare and threats to Wyoming’s wildlife resources from competition, damage, and destruction of habitat and predation.

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USDA Licensing & Federal Laws As of September 17, 2007 it is illegal to transport a big cat across state lines as a pet, which means from any non USDA licensed facility or to any non USDA licensed facility. Read the entire Captive Wildlife Safety Act. USDA prohibits public contact with big cat babies under the age of 8 weeks and over the age of 12 weeks. If you see someone using a cub who is too young or too old, please photograph the event and report the exhibitor’s name, location and what you saw to stop this abuse. There is only a one month window in which exhibitors are allowed to use the cubs. There is a pending bill to ban all contact with big cats and their babies. Before you pay to have your photo made with a big cat, check with your regional USDA office to make sure you are not breaking the Federal laws. This is an important law that will protect big cats from being bred for this purpose. Many states and individual counties require a USDA license (usually a Class C Exhibitor’s license) as a prerequisite for gaining a permit to possess wild felines. The following explanation may clarify this requirement.

Commercial Activity is Required for a USDA License so a person who wants a big cat as a pet will be forced to take the cat out in the open on display or breed and sell cubs in order to circumvent the laws against having the big cats as “pets”. While the requirement was probably well intentioned, it created more opportunity for injury and fatalities than it cured. USDA Animal Welfare Act regulates the use of animals in commerce. Commercial activity is a prerequisite for licensing. If there is no commercial activity, (i.e., the animal is merely a pet), you are not eligible to enroll in the Animal Welfare Program and gain a USDA license. USDA licenses animal facilities which own or possess these animals. The license is issued to an individual. There are three classes of USDA license – A, B and C. For ownership of wild felines, each class of licenses require that the license holder submit a letter saying that they have adequate husbandry knowledge of the species they possess. Class A License In the case of wild felines specifically, a USDA Class A license is mandatory if the individual is engaged in the sales of offspring produced by the individual’s felines. If the individual is breeding his adult animals but is not selling the offspring, he is not eligible for a USDA Class A license. (no commercial activity) Holder’s of a Class A license may not broker animals, only sell their offspring. Class A license for wild felines requires caging that allows the animal to stand up and turn around and a perimeter fence, no closer that 3 feet to the cage. Perimeter fences for felines defined as dangerous (specifically lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, mountain lion, cheetah) must be eight feet in height. Caging for smaller felines must be surrounded by a six foot perimeter fence. In the case of multiple animal collections, often a single perimeter fence encloses all the animal cages. There is no definition of how this fence is to be constructed. Class B License A USDA Class B license is mandatory if the individual is selling wild felines not bred by the adult animals in the licensee’s possession. That is, they are brokering other people’s animals – buying and selling adults or offspring, not part of the licensee’s long term collection. Holder’s of a Class B license may engage in limited, controlled exhibiting, such as is required to facilitate the sales of offspring or recently acquired animals. When conducting exhibition of animals the licensee must be responsible for physically preventing any direct contact between the visitors and the animals and their cages. This type of exhibiting cannot be a major part of the commercial activity engaged in by the licensee. Class B license for wild felines requires adequate caging and a perimeter fence, no closer than 3 feet to the cage. In the case of multiple animal collections, often a single perimeter fence encloses all the animal cages. Class C License USDA Class C licenses are commonly referred to as an Exhibitor’s license. Person’s holding class C licenses may exhibit their animals to the public. This is the same license all zoos possess. All exhibitors, whether municipal owned zoos, or privately owned roadside zoos and menageries, circuses, or self proclaimed educator’s that bring animals off-site, must adhere to the same minimal USDA guidelines and standards. USDA Class C facilities may breed and sell offspring, they may broker offspring bred by others, and they may exhibit animals, though the major activity of a Class C licensee must be the exhibiting of the animals. Examples of this is found with zoos: 1. they are open to the public (exhibit), 2. produce baby animals and sell them (breeder), 3. they trade animals amongst other zoos and often times sell animals for various reasons after only owning them a short while (broker). Every year the public wants to see babies so all of last year’s babies must be disposed of. Since all of the zoos breed to supply the public’s demand to see babies the offspring are rarely wanted by other zoos so they end up in the hands of backyard breeders and in canned hunts. Minimum USDA Requirements for possession of Wild Felines Facilities which regularly allow the public to view their animals must have these three elements. 1. A cage big enough for the animal to stand up and turn around in. 2. A barrier fence, which can be just a rope. 3. A perimeter fence, of no particular substance or strength. The Animal Welfare Act is enforced by 90 inspectors who are charged with inspecting more than 10,000 licensees that are breeding, selling and exhibiting wildlife. For more information about USDA licenses and the animal welfare act, visit the USDA Animal Care web site at The USDA was originally created to regulate farming and the “use” of animals. Big Cat Rescue does not believe that exotic cats should be “used” and having the oversight of exotic cats in the hands of those who have such an archaic view of animals as mindless creatures who are undeserving of our compassion and respect is a travesty.

Important Notice Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, and appropriate contact information has been included for each state. This is only a brief summary, and laws are being changed daily. In many cases, the actual laws are quite long and involved. This page last updated: June 2012 Accredited Rescue Facilites Accredited ZoosWhat can you do about it? Write your state representatives and tell them that exotic cats should not be bred or sold to be kept in cages. Check out pending legislation that you can influence with just a few mouse clicks below.

Got an update? Let us know at Info @ Big Cat Rescue . org

Big Cat Bans Enacted

Big Cat Bans Enacted

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2016 Big Cat Bans Enacted

4/21/16  The N.H. Fish and Game Department on Wednesday withdrew its proposal to re-establish a bobcat hunting season. In a 9-1 vote at the Statehouse on April 1, the legislative committee objected on the grounds that a bobcat season would violate the federal endangered species act and that the proposal was not in the financial best interest of the public.  The money Fish and Game would have made from selling all 50 bobcat permits in its proposal totaled $5,000, while the cost to implement the hunting season was estimated to be between $15,000 and $20,000 per year.

Geoffrey Jones, chairman of the Stoddard Conservation Commission, said following the bobcat season proposal was an eye-opening experience for him in terms of how Fish and Game operates.  “As we’ve all found out, people are pretty upset, and they’re not only upset about opening a season on a species that’s still in recovery, but I think people are upset about the process,” he said.  Jones said he didn’t think the Fish and Game commission ever listened to people’s concerns.

Fish and Game received approximately 6,000 comments, with just about 250 in favor of the season, but voted to hunt bobcats anyway.  Changes need to be made in how the department runs to represent the interests of all people, according to Jones. “We’re so relieved that New Hampshire’s bobcats and lynx are safe from hunters and trappers,” Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney and biologist, said. “At public expense, these bobcat seasons would have benefited only the few who’d like to kill these beautiful animals for sport or ship their pelts overseas to China for profit. The state heard loud and clear that people value these cats in the wild and don’t want to see them cruelly trapped or shot.

4/20/16 Florida is still working on changing their rules, but sent this letter to licensees:  

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that newborn and infant nondomestic cats four weeks (28 days) of age or younger (neonate or neonatal) have special handling and husbandry needs. Please see the attached letter and Tech Note from APHIS regarding these requirements.  Any question you have in regards to these new guidelines may be addressed to USDA’s office in Raleigh, North Carolina at 919-855-7100, or in Fort Collins, Colorado at 970-494-7478.

USDA Tech Note- Neonatal Nondomestic Felines.pdf
USDA Letter – Neaonatal Nondomestic Felines.pdf

4/20/16  After the successful launch of The Jungle Book, Disney points to their policy of not using captive wild animals for their movies.  “We’re not allowed to actually shoot exotic animals that are kept in captivity for movies. You can do cats and dogs, but you can’t do anything like a tiger or an elephant … you can never get them in a trained environment,” Rob Legato, a veteran visual effects artist who worked on Jungle Book, told a crowd at a panel during the National Association of Broadcast conference.  The aforementioned policy outlines that Disney productions are, in general, not allowed to use exotic live animals outside of a zoo, sanctuary habitat or natural environment. It applies pretty much across the board — television or film productions, photo shoots, any media broadcast, special events — with only occasional exceptions, providing the said animal is not an ape or other large primate.

4/17/16 Jim Kellogg resigns from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, protesting the appointment of non hunters to the commission, and stated “I’m not willing to accept the changing world,” he said. “The animal rights people who don’t favor hunting and fishing have more horsepower than they did before.”  The shift away from having a board that is only comprised of hunters, when less than 1% of CA’s population are hunters, started under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed commissioners who supported efforts to protect marine life off the California coast.

4/16/16  The California Fish and Game Commission denied a proposal by the California Trappers Association to repeal the bobcat trapping ban that was put in place last year. The commissioners* stayed firm in their decision to support the hard-fought bobcat trapping ban.

4/5/2016 USFWS announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since at least 2007 to rescind this loophole and on 8/22/11 after a meeting with the USFWS the Generic Tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and got over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Read more.

4/5/2016 Iran becomes the 9th country to ban animal acts in circuses.

4/3/2016 USDA cracks down on abuse of cubs under the age of four weeks.  In response to a 2012 legal petition filed by The Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued guidance making clear that exhibitors violate the Animal Welfare Act by allowing members of the public to handle or feed infant exotic cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars or leopards.  Read more.

1/2016 Animal Planet cancels Yankee Jungle and announced that it would seek “to elevate the scientists” in its programming and cast its shows as more educational. “One day we just came in and looked at each other and said, ‘You know, no more bearded guys in the kitchen with f******g pigs running through the living room,'” David Zaslav, the head of Discovery Communications, which owns Animal Planet, told the Washington Post at the start of January. “Let’s get back to who we really are.” Rich Ross, a network exec recently told the New York Times that “we can get ratings by doing things the right way.”

2015 Big Cat Bans Enacted

11/3/15  WA voters on November 3, 2015 overwhelmingly approved Initiative Measure 1401, introducing state-level felony penalties for the purchase, sale, and/or distribution of products made from elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, sea turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays.

10/22/15 Elkhart, TX passes a ban on dangerous wild animals, including nonhuman primates, skunks, jaguars, leopards, lynxes, tigers, lions, panthers, bears, coyotes or any other carnivorous wild animal or reptile within the city limits or one mile of the city limits. This ordinance is retroactive with no grandfather clauses and that the fees are also retroactive as well.

9/25/15  Netherlands became the tenth country to officially ban the use of wild animals in the circus! The ban, which was drafted back in 2014, went into effect this week and includes big cats, elephants, giraffes, zebras, sea lions and primates.

9/22/15  Shriner and head of “Fun Time Shows” Bill Cunningham joined forces with PETA to stop using wild animals at the Shrine Circus.  Cunningham said the trailers that had been used to haul wild animals to shows will now emptied and covered in banners to advocate against the use of wild animals in performances.

9/15/2015 Missoula, MT is the first city in Montana to ban the use wild and exotic animals in shows and non-educational displays.  The City Council approved the measure on an 8-3 vote, saying it was time to apply what “we know versus what we do” regarding the treatment of animals.

8/3/2015  “Effective immediately, Delta Airlines will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.”  VICTORY!! Big Cat Rescue asked you to let Delta Airlines know that animal lovers do not want international airlines to continue to transport exotic animal trophies such as Cecil. More than 5,000 of you took action for the big cats!!! And today Delta has finally agreed. This is fantastic news for all endangered and threatened big cats and other animals being hunted across the globe.  Its announcement came as a group of airlines including Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Singapore Airlines and Qantas signaled last week they would ban the transport of trophy-hunting kills.

8/1/2015  Zimbabwean wildlife authorities say they have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area favored by hunters following the killing of Cecil the lion.

6/27/2015  Costa Rica just became the first country in Latin America to ban hunting for sport. Costa Rica’s Congress voted unanimously to approve the ban, which will protect the country’s wildlife – including several species of native big cats. Any hunters caught breaking the new law will face jail time or hefty fines.

3/14/2015  South Dakota became the final state (50th) to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty.  These laws typically do not protect wild animals or farmed animals, but it’s a start.


3/5/15  Ringling announces that they will phase elephants out of their acts and we are all hoping tigers are phased out as well.

2/4/15  Hollywood Animals announces they are getting out of the big cat rental business because CGI has replaced their industry.

2/5/15 Asheville, North Carolina for banning circuses with wild animals! Read an article about it:

2/5/15 Graystone Ranch in GA surrenders their USDA license and gives their wild cats and other animals to sanctuaries citing that they are tired of the business.


2014 Big Cat Bans Enacted


New York Assembly bans public contact with big cats AND their cubs.  “The purpose of this bill is to protect animal caretakers, those interacting with wild animals, bystanders, and the animals themselves by preventing direct contact between wild animals and members of the public,” the legislation reads. What is even more encouraging to animal lovers is the justification for the law:

“In New York and throughout the United States, several roadside zoo exhibitors and traveling menageries allow members of the public to hold, take photos with, and otherwise interact with wild animals in roadside zoos, fairgrounds, malls and other public areas. This activity severely harms the welfare of the animals, endangers the public, and is a heavy burden on law enforcement.

This activity also requires an ongoing supply of young animals. Infant animals are prematurely separated from their mothers to be groomed for human handling, often die due to constant handling and travel, and are even subjected to abusive training and painful declawing or deranging procedures in a futile attempt to make them safe for public contact once they mature. After the animals grow too big for handling, they are held on leashes with no protective barriers. Often they are dumped and sent to substandard facilities.

There is no safe or humane result when direct contact with wild animals is allowed. Other states, including Kansas; Mississippi, and Arizona, have strengthened existing laws to address public contact

NJ: Stafford Township is making it pretty clear it doesn’t want to deal with another “Rocky the Bobcat” situation in the future.  The township council adopted an ordinance that would ban new exotic animals within the boundaries of the municipality. Residents who can prove they already owned exotics before the effective date of the ordinance are grandfathered.

Mexico bans wild animals in circus acts.

Citi joined Porsche and PetsMart in the growing list of influential corporations that have banned the use of wild animals at their events and in their advertising.  Big Cat Rescue had contacted these organization and explained to them why it is so bad to use big cats cubs for photos and ego props and they took immediate action after hearing from our supporters.

WVA:  Gov. Tomblin has signed a bill into law to prohibit the private possession of dangerous wild animals. Introduced by Del. Randy Swartzmiller (D-1), HB 4393 passed the House by a vote of 72 to 23, and the Senate by a 22 to 11 vote.  There remain only five states with little to no restrictions on the private possession of dangerous wild animals—Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

CA:  Los Angeles bans bullhooks, which may only apply to elephants, but the circus can’t make elephants perform without the threat of injury, so hopefully this means that the circus won’t be coming to LA any more with their abusive lion and tiger acts either.

UK:  Announced its soon-to-be official ban on ALL wild animals in circuses, joining other European nations like Austria, Greece, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ban is intended to be fully instituted starting in December 2015.  Prior to the all-country ban announcement, over 200 UK local authorities had placed bans on animal circuses with over two-thirds banning all performing animals, according to Animal Defenders International.  An official date for the legislation still needs to be passed but the government is confident that it will. When it does, anyone who breaks the law after December 2015 will receive a heavy $8,000 fine, according to the BBC.

Which States Ban Wild Pets


2013 Big Cat Bans Enacted


Ft. Wayne, IN:  Bears, wolves, lions, tigers, alligators, and venomous snakes are prohibited within the city limits of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

El Salvador joined Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru who have all prohibited the use of wild animals in circus acts.

EU: May 2013; the European Union’s interpretation of CITES was changed making it illegal to sell big cat claw jewelry.

Slovenia:  Circus Animals Get A Break.  Slovenia banned the use of wild animals in circuses, making it the fourth European Union nation to impose such a ban.  In the United States, at least 55 communities have some ban or restriction in place on the use of animals in circuses or for elephant rides. In December, the City Commission of Hallandale Beach, Florida voted to ban bullhooks, bucking straps and other cruel devices used to train and dominate animals to perform tricks for entertainment. And the Los Angeles City Council will soon vote on an ordinance that would ban the use of elephants in traveling circuses, and also prohibit use of the bullhook.

The Library of Congress offers this guide to global laws regarding the private possession of exotic cats.


2012 Big Cat Bans Enacted


Big Cat BansThe steady increase in legislation banning private ownership represents recognition by our society that private ownership leads to massive abuse.  Social values evolve.  It took decades to ban slavery in England and for women to win the right to vote in America.  Those ideas started out as “radical”, held by a small minority.  Gradually more and more people understood and agreed until they became a part of our value system that we take for granted today.  The same trend is happening with private ownership of exotics.  Gradually more and more people are realizing that this simply leads to widespread abuse of these animals.  The best evidence of this is the accelerating trend in state laws.   Just since 2005 eight more states have passed some level of ban.


Ohio Bans Private Possession of Most Exotic Cats:  On June 5, 2012  the state legislature banned the private possession of dangerous wild animals, including most exotic cats.  Those who have the animals must register them but cannot buy or breed more.  The only exemptions for breeding are AZA accredited zoos (and ZAA for now, but that needs to change) and sanctuaries that are accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries can continue to rescue wild animals.  Up until now Ohio was second (behind FL) in the nation for the number of killings, maulings and escapes by big cats.


Oprah Announces No Fur in Her O Magazine:  The October 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine announced its decision to never feature real fur in the magazine and only use cruelty free materials in its stories, including no leather or exotic skins.  This decision was broadly embraced by the readership.


CA, West Hollywood Bans the Sale of Fur:  West Hollywood, CA became the first city in the nation to ban the sale of fur.  With a three to one vote (with one abstention) the City Council approved the ordinance.  The rule faced opposition from the local Chamber of Commerce, whose main trade group, The Fur Information Council, happens to be based in West Hollywood.  Nearly half of the 200 stores in town sell at least some fur items and it is estimated to account for approximately $2 million in revenue each year.  The measure will take effect on Sept. 21, 2013.


NY, New York City Bars Ban Fur Clad Customers:  Bar owner Johnny Barounis, a vegetarian, refuses to allow patrons wearing real fur to enter his trendy bards in Manhattan.  His bards include Revision Lounge and Gallery in the East Village, the Back Room on the Lower East Side, and Auction House and Fetch, on the Upper East Side.  “We tell people, you are welcome to come in, but the fur stays out” said Barounis.


Holland:  The Holland Circus will no longer include wild animals in their shows. Here is a link to the dutch article:


UAE Ajman: Jan 2012 became the first emirate to ban the keeping of dangerous animals in private homes. Last July, a two-year-old girl was attacked by a lion cub in Ajman and had to be rescued by a maid.


Greece:  Feb 3, 2012 The Greek Government has banned the use of all animals in circuses following a campaign by ADI and the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF), backed by over 50 local animal protection groups across Greece. The new animal protection law also addresses a number of important issues concerning stray animals.


Bogata, Columbia and Paraguay Ban Wild Animals in Circus Acts June 2012:  Hot on the heels of the news last week that the Colombian capital Bogota is to ban all animals in circuses, Paraguay has announced a nationwide ban on wild animals in circuses.  Animal Defenders Intenational (ADI) applauds Paraguay for becoming the latest country to ban the use of wild animals in circuses under Resolution 2002/12 passed this week by the Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente).  Since ADI launched a major undercover investigation of animals in circuses in South America in 2007, a series of bans have swept across the continent as Governments have acted decisively to end the suffering of these animals. Bans are in place in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and now Paraguay. Legislation for a ban passed its second reading in Colombia earlier this year and legislation for a ban is well advanced in Brazil.


China July 20, 2012: Wildlife conservation and forestry departments of northeast China’s Heilongjiang province announced that visitors will soon not be allow to pay for pictures with Siberian tiger cubs in a tiger park.  More at China Bans Cub Petting.



2011 Big Cat Bans Enacted


China, England, Sweden, Austria, Costa Rica, India, Finland, Bolivia, Greece and Singapore have all banned or restricted the utilization of big cats in circuses-it’s time for the U.S. & South Africa to do the same!


Las Vegas, NV Dec 30, 2011:  The MGM Grand announced that they are permanently closing the lion exhibit on Jan 31, 2012.  Since 1999 it has had a constant rotation of 20 lions and cubs at a time who were provided by Keith Evans of The Cat House, who keeps 40 breeding lions in dog kennels on 7.5 ac in the nearby desert.  Images of the site are those of barren, dilapidated, overcrowded cages.  Evans claims to have been breeding lions for this purpose for the past 40 years which begs the question, “where all of these cats are now?”  Evans claims he intends to keep breeding for the pay to play market, but it is hoped that when people see how these cats live, outside of the 9 million dollar MGM exhibit, they will not patronize such exploitation.


Canada, City of Toronto Sept 2011:  The City of Toronto banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.


China Jan 20, 2011:  Live animal shows and circuses are hugely popular in China, and draw around 150 million visitors a year at 700 zoos. However, thanks to people who have stood up for the animals, the Chinese government has banned animal circuses and warned its zoos they must stop abusing animals or face closure. The Ministry of Construction, who is the governmental agency overseeing the zoos, issued a declare on October 26th, 2010 to stop animal performance in all the zoos. The State Forestry Administration also banned live feeding in zoos and safari parks and is forcing zoos to stop selling animal parts in their shops.  Zoo restaurants will have to stop serving dishes made out of rare animals and zoos will no longer be able to pull the teeth of baby tigers so that tourists can hold them and pose with them for photos.


NJ Dec 15, 2011  Thanks to the combined resources of Big Cat Rescue, Born Free, Tigers in America, WWF, Mark O’Donnell and Senator Lesniak, there was such overwhelming support for S3061 that it passed 37 to 0 !  It will go before the full Assembly next and we will alert you when to contact your Assembly members in NJ.  This bill requires all NJ tiger owners to microchip, photograph and register their tigers with all of the acquisition and disposition of tigers to be reported and documented, as well.


OH Jan. 6, 2011 Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an executive order that prohibits keeping dangerous wild animals as pets. The rule bans new private ownership of big cats, bears, primates, alligators, crocodiles, and particularly large and dangerous constricting snakes and venomous snakes. Individuals who currently possess these animals and who have never had their licenses revoked may keep them, but they must register with the state and microchip the animals. They cannot replace them once they die or are relinquished.  Unfortunately, the incoming Gov. Kasich refused to ratify the proposed law and it expired in April 2011.  On Oct. 18 Terry Thompson released 56 lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bears and primates before committing suicide.  All but 6 of the animals were shot to death by authorities.


FL Jun 3, 2011 Not a law, but a big win for the cats when the Chris Evert Tennis Classic confirmed that there are no plans to have any big cats around the tennis tournament or in the surrounding family activities areas.


UK Jun 23, 2011 MPs have defied the government and backed a ban on wild animals being used in circuses in England after a heated debate in Parliament.  The motion is not binding on the government but will increase pressure on ministers to act over the issue.  Downing Street said the government would “recognize the will of the House”.



An anti-wildlife rider in the committee bill funding the Interior Department was removed, thanks to an amendment offered on the floor by Reps. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, which was approved by a vote of 224-202 in July. The “extinction rider” would have prevented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing some of the most crucial sections of the Endangered Species Act, such as protecting any new species and designating critical habitat for currently listed species.


In June 2011 the board of directors for the American Zoological Association (AZA) formalized their 2008 ban on the breeding of white tigers, white lions or king cheetahs by their member zoos.  Their report said, “Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single rare alleles (i.e., rare genetic traits) through intentional inbreeding, for example intentional breeding to achieve rare color-morphs such as white tigers, deer, and alligators, has been clearly linked with various abnormal, debilitating, and, at times, lethal, external and internal conditions and characteristics, which are outlined in this paper.”


2010 Big Cat Bans Enacted


Nationwide & CanadaDade City’s Wild Things acquired a white tiger cub from G.W. Exotics, a notorious Oklahoma breeder, that they are marketing to the hilt in order to make money off her as quickly as possible.  To accomplish that they dragged her into PetSmart to drum up some business.  Almost 900 advocates responded to our alert and wrote to PetSmart demanding an end to displays of exotics like this, knowing the bad message it sends.  We’re very pleased to share that PetSmart listened and  immediately responded positively.  According to corporate spokesperson  Margie Wojciechowski  at the Phoenix, AZ headquarters, she confirmed she had just come from a meeting and the company has “reinforced with our managers that no exotic pets are allowed on store premises.  There will be no live display of exotic animals for events.”  More Here



FL Sept. 1, 2010:  The Florida Wildlife Commission passes final rules on the keeping of wild animals HERE



FL June 23, 2010: Thanks to thousands of letters from Big Cat AdvoCats the Florida Wildlife Commission agreed to change the wording of their Nuisance Wildlife rules so that bobcats who are trapped as nuisance wildlife may not be killed, but rather must be released.  While our 2,000+ letters asked that bobcats be removed from the list of nuisance wildlife we are still thankful that the FWC has decided to at least spare the life of bobcats who are trapped this way.  We will continue to educate the FWC and the public as to why bobcats are so necessary to our ecosystem so that they may soon be removed from the list of animals that may be trapped.


FL June 23, 2010: Animal AdvoCats vs Animal Terrorists. The FWC agreed to ban the practice of “fox penning” which was a blood sport in 16 locations in FL where foxes, coyotes and bobcats would trapped or purchased from trappers to be turned loose in fenced areas for the purpose of training hunting dogs.  Packs of dogs would be turned loose in the pens and scored on how persist ant they were in chasing the wildlife.  The FWC had rules that required hiding places for the wildlife, but investigators found that the operators would often block the access to the safety areas so that the foxes, coyotes and bobcats could be cornered and ripped apart by the dogs for the amazement and betting opportunities of the dog owners.  For the first time in the history of the FWC meetings that we have attended since 1993 there were more animal advocates than animal terrorists in the room to testify.  52 concerned citizens spoke up in favor of a ban while only 20 animal abusers / hunters spoke up in favor of continuing the blood sport as part of their “cultural heritage and God given right.”  As more of these egregious practices are exposed we expect the number of main stream Americans who show up and speak up to increase.


FL June 3, 2010: Thanks to thousands of letters from Big Cat AdvoCats the legislature amended Florida Statutes 379.374 Bond required, amount.
(2) No person, party, firm, association, or corporation shall possess or exhibit to the public either with or without charge or admission fee, any Class I wildlife, as defined in s. 379.303 and commission rule, without having first guaranteed financial responsibility, in the sum of $10,000, for any liability which may be incurred in the possession or exhibition to the public of Class I wildlife. The commission shall adopt, by rule, the methods of payment that satisfy the financial responsibility, which may include cash, the establishment of a trust fund, an irrevocable letter of credit, casualty insurance, a corporate guarantee, or any combination thereof, in the sum of $10,000 which shall be posted with the commission. In lieu of the $10,000 financial responsibility guarantee required in this subsection, the person, party, firm, association, or corporation has the option to maintain comprehensive general liability insurance, with minimum limits of $2 million per occurrence and $2 million annual aggregate, as shall protect the person, party, firm, association, or corporation from claims for damage for personal injury, including accidental death, as well as claims for property damage which may arise. Proof of such insurance shall be submitted to the commission.  Effective July 1, 2010.  In 2009 there were 111 Class I possessors in FL who managed to escape the bond requirement because they claimed they were not “exhibitors.”  This new language was necessary to close the loophole in the 2007 law so that all “possessors” of Class I animals must post this minimal bond.


MO 2010:  Large Carnivore Act (LCA): This law requires anyone who owns, breeds, possesses, or transports a large carnivore on or after January 1, 2012, to obtain a permit from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and to maintain a minimum of $250,000 in liability insurance. Verification of insurance must be provided annually. The LCA (Section 578.600 – 578.624 RSMO) includes the following protections for the animals;

  • Requires the Department of Agriculture to enforce the provisions of the Act to ensure that owners of such animals “practice best husbandry and health care protocols to ensure the humane and safe treatment of large carnivores on behalf of their physical well-being.”
  • Requires owners of large carnivores to provide their animals with adequate care and treatment, as established by USDA, in the areas of housing, handling, transportation, sanitation, nutrition, water, general husbandry, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperature.
  • Prohibits the issuance of a permit to own or possess a large carnivore to anyone who has “been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, a violation of any state or local law prohibiting neglect or mistreatment of any animal…”
  • Prohibits the issuance of a permit to anyone who has any type of felony conviction within the previous ten years.


OH July 1, 2010: A deal struck between The Humane Society of the United States, Ohio agriculture leaders and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio on a raft of issues to protect exotic, domestic and farmed animals. The agreement includes recommendations from all of the parties for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Care Board, the Legislature, and the Governor to ban the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.


2010 Worldwide Bans


China October 27, 2010: The Ministry of Housing & Urban/Rural Development suggested in an official web posting that zoos should adequately feed and house animals, should stop selling wild animal products and serving wild animal parts in restaurants, and should stop staging circus-like trained animal acts.  The authorities report that zoos could be shut down for non compliance.  This is the first step toward permanent laws to protect the animals.


Germany June 17, 2010: The zoo director and three of the staff at the Magdeburg Zoo were convicted of cruelty to animals for killing three tiger cubs who were the result of a cross breeding tigers at the zoo.  The zoo had bred a Siberian tiger to a Sumatran tiger.  All of the tigers in the U.S. that are referred to as Bengal tigers are actually hybrids of Bengal and Siberian tigers as the result of the white tiger craze when Bengal tigers were inbred to the point of non existence in America.  A fine of 8,000 euros was suspended upon the condition that the zoo not kill cubs as the result of their own improper breeding plans.  The Magdeburg zoo case drew attention to the common practice of zoos breeding and killing animals to keep youngsters on exhibit.


Russia November 29, 2010: Russia is now filing a bill for an exotic pet ban like other countries have passed.  Despite Prime Minister Vladimir Putin having a pet tiger named Mashenka, the country is working on passing a bill that would restrict the ownership of monkeys, tigers, and crocodiles, because of their danger to the public and diseases they can carry, according to the bill that was submitted on Nov. 29, 2010


2009 Big Cat Bans Enacted


AL, Albertville 5/7/09: “People should be able to walk their neighborhood without fear,” Albertville police Chief Benny Womack. The ordinance approved unanimously by the council Monday covers “ any mammal, amphibian, reptile or fowl which is of a species which, due to size, vicious nature or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being, or property…”  Womack said the law covers the manner in which animals are to be kept, the construction of pens and the requirement that they meet all zoning and building codes.  The law governs the display of proper warning signs, which will be provided by the police department.  All owners of animals included in the ordinance must register and obtain a permit for the animals, provide two color photographs and provide proof of a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance.


CA, South Tahoe 4/8/09: A ban on the retail sale of cats and dogs was approved to curb the resale of dogs and cats bred in mills. Breeders still can sell directly to people, and stores can work with rescue groups and shelters to have cats and dogs adopted at their businesses. “We understand that this is the first such ordinance in North America,” said Dawn Armstrong of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society & SPCA. “Others can now take courage. With the investigations and the work being done in Southern California and in other states, it just may be the beginning of the end of the puppy mill industry.”


FL, Clearwater: This rule was first discovered to be on the books in 2009, but it is unknown as to when it originated.  Sec. 8.03. Keeping of certain animals prohibited.  No animals, and in particular an animal which by its nature is wild and untamed, bees, reptiles, fowl or livestock, including horses, mules, cows, sheep, hogs or calves, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, shall be kept, harbored, raised or permitted to run at large on any property either public or private within the city limits of the city by any person.  (Code 1980, § 91.03)


FL, Deland 5/11/09: Deland requires that all pet cats and dogs be sterilized to prevent unwanted litters from ending up in the county pound.


FL, Ft. Pierce 4/11/09: Pet owners who don’t spay and neuter their cats and dogs must pay a $75 annual fee to register and license the animals, while owners who sterilize their animals would pay $10 annually. The goal is to push people toward sterilizing their animals to limit the number of strays. Failure to comply the city’s ordinance could result in a $100 civil fine for the first offense, $200 for second offense and mandatory court for third offense.


FL, Lee County – Cape Coral 5/30/09: Lee County Animal Services is instituting a trap, neuter, and release program (or TNR) in hopes of controlling the feral cat population. A first for Lee County, the program was developed with help from the public as well as utilizing input from University of Florida. The TNR program hopes to put power into the hands of the public by offering education, traps, and assistance in catching cats.


FL, Ormand Beach 5/24/09: Mandatory sterilization of pet cats and dogs to prevent shelter deaths.


HI 5/18/09: Animals can be shielded by temporary restraining orders and will receive greater protection from pet hoarders after state lawmakers passed two pieces of legislation aimed at expanding and clarifying animal cruelty laws. Defines an animal hoarder as an individual found in possession of more than 15 dogs, cats or a combination of dogs and cats. The previous number was 20. The bill also clarifies the misdemeanor offense of depriving an animal of sustenance, including food, water and shelter. The bill is aimed at owners who obsessively collect animals and kennel them.


IN, Richmond 4/7/09: The Richmond Common Council passed proposed revisions to the city code regarding domestic and wild animal care and control in the city. Council voted 6-3 in favor of the proposed changes that had to do with care, trapping, breeding, controlled colonies of cats and free roaming animals.


MI, Cadillac 4/8/09: The new taxidermy laws make taxidermists dispose of all animal waste in a type two landfill. They must also keep more detailed records of animals they work on and keep the records for six years. Permit and tag fees are also going up.


MI, Manchester Village: April 20th the Manchester Village Council adopted a new ordinance regarding exotic and wild pets.
Village Ordinance 272, bans the owning or keeping of exotic animals in the community and was passed unanimously.  “If you allow someone to keep an alligator in their homes and do nothing about it, how far can people go?” Village Mgr. Jeff Wallace said. “That’s why we tried to make it as specific as possible.” The general penalties for violation of the ordinance could include up to a $1,000 fine and possible 90 days in jail. Each violation is considered a separate offense.


MI, Rosemont 4/9/09: The city of Rosemont banned steel jawed traps after news reports of dogs being killed in them.  This ban will help protect bobcats, lynx and domestic cats too.


OH, Perrysburg March 6, 2009: Pending ban.  The law, as originally drafted, would allow police to criminally charge any
exotic pet owner. “It shall be unlawful for any person in the city of Perrysburg to keep, maintain, or have possession or control over any ‘exotic animal,'” the proposed law reads.


OR March 25, 2009: Pending ban. The Oregon Senate passed legislation 3/25/09 to protect exotic animals and phase out Oregon’s role in the permitting of exotic pets. Included under the new exotic-pets category are non-domestic cats, non-human primates, non-domestic dogs, crocodiles, and alligators. SB 391 will move the majority of the permitting process to the USDA and give current owners up to a year to renew their permit and then discontinue issuing permits after that date. “These animals pose a danger to our children, our domestic pets, and once cornered, our law enforcement officials don’t have the appropriate training to deal with them,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). “This is common sense legislation.”  SB 391 also prohibits the breeding of exotic cats over 50lbs. The bill will now go move to the House for consideration.  Wildlife Images director Dave Siddon could tell countless horror stories of wild animals, from lions to bears, adopted as cute babies then cast away after gaining several hundred pounds. “We probably are approached by a half-dozen people a month that have wild animals as a pet and they need a home for it,” said Siddon, whose father founded the animal rehabilitation center near Merlin. “Everything from bears to chinchillas and everything in between.”


PA Lebanon City Council June 3, 2009: Bans snakes larger than 4 1/2 feet long, reptiles over ten pounds and ALL exotic animals must be kept in their cages. Councilman Wiley Parker said fines range from $50 to $300.


SD 2/4/09Hunting Mountain Lions With Dogs Banned.
Bill #: SB75 would have allowed dogs to be used in the hunting of mountain lions. Fortunately, this horrible bill failed in the Senate (6 Yeas, 27 Nays) See the vote here:


VT 8/28/09: Price Chopper pulled their sponsorship of the Champlain Valley Exposition when then learned that the fair was going to host a big cat act.


The Felid TAG (Taxon Advisory Group) publicly denounced the practice of keeping exotic cats as pets.


Australia, Adelaide Hills 5/28/09: The RSPCA says by-laws introduced by an Adelaide hills council to reduce cat numbers should be considered across the state. Owners will have to microchip and register cats under new laws. There will also be a limit of two cats per household. “However we do think the only permanent solution to controlling wild and domestic cat populations is desexing.”  Meanwhile the Kangaroo Island Council will consider introducing a limit on the number of cats that can be kept on a property. The council introduced strict by-laws in 2005 that require compulsory desexing, micro chipping and registering of cats.


Australia, Ipswich, Queensland, 6/7/09: Ipswich bans circus animals. The ipswitch City Council has ruled exotic circus animals are a relic of a cruel past. On July 1 Ipswich will become the first Queensland city to ban circuses with exotic animals from using any land under council ownership or control. Councillor Paul Tully said the time had come for Australia to unite and ban the cruel use of circus animals. “These animals are put in tiny cages for their whole lives and carted from one end of Australia to the other for their public performances,” he said. “This is the beginning of the end of animal circuses in Australia.” The Brisbane council’s Labor opposition has said it too would support such a ban.


British Columbia 3/17/09: The tragic death two years ago of a woman killed by a caged tiger as children looked on helped spur the British Columbia government to implement new rules to ban dangerous pets says Environment Minister Barry Penner.  1,256 species that pose a serious threat to public safety, including leopards, lions, tigers, boa constrictors, pythons, monkeys, chimps and caimans have been banned. “We are determined to do something to improve public safety while also protecting these species from improperly being brought into British Columbia.  The only effective way to prevent this abuse and neglect is through the introduction of regulations,” said Penner.  Read quote by Rob Laidlaw, Director of Zoocheck Canada Inc.


Bahrain 4/11/09: Authorities in Bahrain have stepped up security on the borders after inspectors found exotic wild animals caged in residential areas as pets. “Traders and buyers should understand that Bahrain is not the right environment for such species. It is illegal to keep them in these conditions and some wild animals, like tigers and crocodiles, endanger lives,” said Salman Abdulnabi, head of the Animal Wealth Directorate.


Bolivia, South America 6/2009: Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, signed Law 4040 — banning wild and domestic animals in traveling circuses throughout his country. This is the first national circus ban in South America and the world’s first ban on ALL circus acts. This victory was the culmination of years of work by Animal Defenders International (ADI), local animal protection groups and individuals throughout Bolivia.


South Africa 6/15/09: “Canned” lion hunting – the commercial shooting of captive-bred lions for trophies – appears to have been finally canned itself by a Bloemfontein High Court decision that requires all captive cats to live free for two years before they can be slaughtered. Now questions are being raised as to what will happen to the 4,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa. The head of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Yolan Friedman, has applauded the decision which she said would effectively put an end to canned lion
hunting in South Africa.  “We believe that the principles of ethical, humane treatment of all species should never be compromised for the economic enrichment of a few, as has been the case with canned lion hunting in South Africa,” she said.  Friedman urged the government to begin a process immediately to avert “a welfare crisis” in which the country’s existing 4 000 captive-bred lions could “fall prey to neglect and cruel treatment” now that they had lost their economic value. “To these animals, whose lives so far have been nothing more than a caged existence to provide a trophy to an unethical hunter, their future remains uncertain,” she said.


Thorold, Ontario 12/8/09 passed exotic pet law banning ownership of primates (including apes), tigers, leopards, panthers, cougars, most reptiles, dangerous snakes, elephants, marine mammals, venomous snakes and some other wildlife not native to Canada.  The law was passed after Jaguars were found to be kept as pets there.


2008 Big Cat Bans Enacted


CITES Decision 14.69:
Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall
implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only
to conserving wild tigers
; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and
derivatives.  (Most of the tiger breeding in the U.S. is for photo booths and petting sessions.  None of the breeding of generic tigers does anything to conserve wild tigers. Ask your lawmakers to uphold this CITES decision and end the breeding of tigers outside of the Species Survival Plans in AZA accredited zoos.)


Brazil: 12/11/08 After ongoing efforts by many animal organizations an animal group in Brazil has successfully lobbied and a law has been passed banning all animals in circuses there.


Iberville, LA: Referring back to a law that has been on Iberville Parish’s books since 1993, the LA Wildlife and Fisheries Dept. finally banned the notorious Tiger Truck Stop from using live tigers as a public display. This ends a sad history of 21 years of tigers in small concrete cages in the middle of this busy truck stop, with the exception of  Tony the truck stop tiger who was grand fathered in and continues to pace in his small, dank cage right next to the gas pumps where truckers frequent 24/7.  When Tony is gone, they will not be allowed, under the new law, to display another tiger.


Johor, Malaysia Bans ALL Commercial Hunting: The Johor government banned all forms of commercial hunting.  Johor is home to the Endau-Rompin National Park, the second largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia. The state will lose some money in licensing fees — in 2006, it issued more than 2,000 hunting licenses — but that pales into insignificance when compared with the benefits of such a move. Johor wants to save the tiger. The ban would also help the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to collect data, train staff and curb wildlife crime. Classified as an endangered species, the tiger is fully protected. But its food is not. The ban should ensure that the population of animals that the tiger preys on — such as wild boar and deer — will increase. If the tigers have sufficient food, they are also unlikely to wander into areas with human habitation.


Australia: August 3, 2008 Environment Minister Peter Garrett immediately banned the import of Savannah cats into Australia upon learning they were a cross between a Serval and domestic cat.  He said the Savannah cat posed “an extreme threat to Australia’s native wildlife”.


MO: Effective March 2008 MO Wildlife Code changed as follows:

Because of the inherent danger and potential liability associated with the possession of bears, mountain lions, wolves and their hybrids, the Conservation Commission now requires owners of these animals to identify each individual with a microchip embedded under the animal’s skin. The owners must also submit a blood or tissue sample for DNA analysis. All animals must be registered with the Department when acquired, born, at death, or when sold. This will aid enforcement of illegal sales of these animals and will help Department biologists distinguish escaped and released captives from wild animals.  MO Conservationist magazine Feb. issue at where Wildlife Code book for 2008 has been released.

Sheriff Kevin T. Harrison asks county to ban private possession of dangerous exotics HERE

December 11, 2008 Park Hills, MO bans most exotic animals, except small monkeys, within the city limits.


OK: 5/7/08 Gov. Henry signed Senate Bill 1463 into law last week. Sen. James A. Williamson (R-Tulsa) introduced the legislation which prohibits the use of computer-assisted remote control hunting of wildlife. The bill also makes it illegal to engage in, sell, offer for sale, assist in or provide facilities for computer-assisted remote control hunting. Thirty-eight states prohibit Internet hunting, and a federal bill introduced in the U.S. Congress – S. 2422 and H.R. 2711, the Computer- Assisted Remote Hunting Act – would end Internet hunting nationwide.


UT: Internet Hunting Banned.  Gov. Huntsman signed Senate Bill 164 into law. Sen. Michael Waddoups (R-6th) introduced the legislation which prohibits the use of a computer or other device to remotely hunt an animal.37 states now prohibit Internet hunting, and a federal bill introduced in the U.S. Congress – S. 2422 and H.R. 2711, the Computer- Assisted Remote Hunting Act – would end Internet hunting nationwide.


USDA roared out in support of Haley’s Act HR 1947 but Congress never took the time to hear the bill in 2008.



Thanks to all of you who wrote letters, attended town hall meetings and met with your lawmakers, the world is a little kinder place.  Many of the worst breeders, dealers and tiger-tamer-wanabees were finally shut down.  Most of these collectors were fined or shut down by USDA or the state, or both in some cases:

CA:  Hesperia Zoo AKA Cinema Safari Zoo owned by Stephanie Taunton was put on probation and fined $30,000 by USDA.

FL: Horseshoe Creek owned by Darryl Atkinson was shut down by USDA and FL.

FL:  Wild Things’ land owned by Kathy Stearns went into foreclosure and bankruptcy.

FL:  Amazing Exotics appears to have been shut down.  It was notorious for allowing contact between large exotic cats and the public for a fee.  The head of their tiger-tamer-wanabee program was Ron Holiday (real name Ron Guay) who gained fame in the HBO movie Cat Dancers and the book by the same name.  His career in dancing with big cats ended when a white tiger he had raised from a cub killed his wife and his lover within a few days of each other in 1998.

IN:  Great Cats of Indiana, formerly known as Cougar Valley Farms, Inc., owned by Robert B. Craig and Laura Proper came under investigation by USDA

IN:  Ervin’s Jungle Wonders owned by Ervin Hall was shut down by USDA for a three year term.

MO:  Wesa-A-Geh-Ya owned by Sandra Smith was shut down after a visitor lost his leg to a tiger.

MS:  Cougar Haven closed its doors for good, sending the last 3 big cats to Big Cat Rescue.

NC:  Metrolino Wildlife Park owned by Steven Macaluso was shut down by USDA.

NE:  Zoo Nebraska was ordered to find appropriate homes for their big cats and bears.

OH:  Pearson’s L & L Exotics owned by Lorenzo Pearson was shut down by USDA following six years of violations.

TX:  Zoo Dynamics, owned by Marcus Cook was fined $100,000.00

Australia:  Craig Bush, the “Lion Man” was ousted from the Zion Wildlife Gardens by his mom.

You can read the USDA reports and news stories at


2007 Big Cat Bans Enacted

2007 Private Possession of Dangerous Exotics Banned

FL: 6/29/07 Governor Crist, the people’s governor, signed into law SB2766 a bill to regulate the possession of reptiles, but more importantly, included the requirement for a $10,000 bond to be posted by anyone exhibiting a Class I animal, which currently includes, lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars and by 2008 is expected to include cougars.  On 12/6/07 the FWC drafted rules to implement the new law.  More HERE



8/10/07 The Captive Wild Animal Technical Assistance Group made their recommendations to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission staff and you can read that HERE On 12/6/07 the FWC announced that by mid 2008 they will address such issues as:  Neighbor notification in the event of an escape, neighbor notification before bringing dangerous wild animals into an area to live, re classifying the cougar from a pet to a Class I animal, public contact, defining sanctuaries, defining what constitutes a commercial use to crack down on Class I animals that are owned as pets under the guise of being a business, ending Internet hunting and transportation of dangerous animals.


IA: 5/17/07 Iowa bans Internet Hunting and on 5/27/07 Iowa made it illegal for a person to privately own or possess a dangerous wild animal and it is now illegal to breed or transport them into Iowa.  Exotic pet owners won’t have to give up their pets because the bill doesn’t apply to animals currently owned by Iowans. However, the bill requires owners to register their dangerous wild animal. The animals must be listed with the state an electronic identification device must be attached or embedded into the animal.


IL: 5/25/07 The Illinois governor signed into law a bill banning the practice of killing live animals over the Internet.


KY, Eddyville: 2/16/07 Eddyville City Council adopted an exotic animal ordinance at a special meeting Monday night. The ordinance outlaws owning any exotic animal in the city. Prohibited animals include snakes, big cats such as lions, tigers or leopards,
elephants, venomous rear-fanged species, alligators and gorillas as well as several other specifically named animals.  The ordinance does not apply to any zoological garden accredited by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, licensed theatrical exhibits, carnivals or circuses or any authorized wildlife rehabilitator or licensed veterinary hospital.  Violators will be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, plus legal costs and attorney fees incurred by the city.  The purpose of the ordinance is “to promote the public health, safety and general welfare” of city residents.


LA: 7/11/07 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enacted regulations that prohibit private possession of lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cheetahs, cougars and their hybrids as pets.   People who legally had these animals as of August 15, 2006, when a state law requiring regulation of the animals took effect,  can keep them but not breed or replace them. They must apply for permits and meet standards for cages, insurance, and microchips. The animals must be kept in safe and sanitary conditions. They cannot be taken from the premises except to receive medical care.


NY: 6/13/07 Assembly Bill 2612 and Senate Bill 784 passed by 2 to 1 margin to prohibit the taking of non-native big game mammals in fenced or other areas from which there is no means for such mammals to escape. This landmark legislation ends the unethical shooting of exotic animals held captive in fenced enclosures, otherwise known as “canned shoots” in New York.


SC, Chester County 3/19/07 passed an exotic animal ban.  Because SC has no state wide ban in place, many  counties have passed their own ordinances either banning or strictly regulating exotic animal ownership. York County has an ordinance banning exotic animals.  Lancaster County has banned them as well, as has Fairfield County. Lexington County outside Columbia has a ban, as does the town of Mount Pleasant. Beaufort County has a ban as well.  Lexington County’s ordinance is just one page. It lists several types of “exotic animals” from lions and tigers and other big cats, to reptiles, bears, elephants and gorillas. Lancaster County’s ordinance bans exotic animals, saying “no person, firm or corporation shall keep or permit to be kept on their premises any exotic animal as a
pet for display or for exhibition purposes.”  More…



TX, Kaufman County: 3/22/07 Owners of lions and tigers and bears can forget about moving to Kaufman County. County commissioners voted 3-1 Monday to allow the five known owners of exotic animals in the county to continue keeping the animals but banned any others. Commissioner Jim Deller cast the lone “no” vote. He wanted a complete ban. “I don’t want to see those kinds of animals in the county if we can prevent it,” Mr. Deller said. “All the counties around us have banned them, except for zoos.” A “dangerous wild animal” law that the Legislature passed in 2001 gave counties the choice of banning the animals or registering them. The vast majority of counties banned the listed animals, including exotic cats, bears, coyotes, baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The five entities granted the ability to continue their operations included Castle’s Bears, owned and operated by James Hall; Terranova Enterprises, owned and operated by Doug Terranova; PrideRock Wildlife Refuge; Zoo Dynamics, operated by Marcus Cook; and Corey and Beth Junell. With the vote, commissioners effectively joined surrounding counties such as Ellis, Dallas, Collin and Van Zandt in banning such animals. Zoo Dynamics, in a separate decision by the State’s Attorney’s office, was forced to give up his non profit status and fined 10,000, with a subsequent fine of 100,000 if found guilty of illegally soliciting donations again.


TX, Lake Jackson: 2/7/07 voted to deny a proposed exhibit by Wynnewood, Okla.-based G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park at Brazos Mall.  A PeTA investigation conducted last year at GW documented dead, dying, and injured animals; a serious lack of basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care; cramped cages; and untrained, insufficient staff who were intentionally cruel to animals. PETA’s investigator witnessed a suffering lion whose leg had been torn off by tigers and tigers who were hit with a rifle butt. Two healthy adult tigers were killed, and their teeth were reportedly cut out to be given away as gifts. In January 2006, GW was placed on an 18-month probation and paid a $25,000 fine to settle U.S. Department of Agriculture charges that included dangerous animal-handling practices, filthy transport conditions, and failure to provide drinking water.


UT, American Fork: Banned the keeping of exotic animals, such as lions, tigers, bears, porcupines and pythons, which are not allowed in the city except in circuses, laboratory experiments, zoos and a few other facilities.  The city chose to do this BEFORE it became a problem.


WA: In April 2007 HB 1418 was passed and will be enforced as of July 2007 that bans the possession, breeding and contact with all big cats including cougars and cheetahs. AZA zoos and sanctuaries that fit their description are exempt.  More HERE



WI, Mayville: 2/13/07 Mayville, WI passed an ordinance prohibiting residents from keeping wild and exotic animals.  The Common Council voted 5 to 1 to approve the wild and exotic animal ordinance after adding two amendments regarding exceptions. They are municipal zoos or those accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and traveling or fair exhibitions and petting zoos licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act and by the USDA.


USDA Actions: On April 6, 2007 the USDA finally, permanently revoked the license of Lorenzo Pearson of L & L Exotics.  More HERE.


8-12 Window inadvertently created:  USDA adopted a policy stating the baby big cats under the age of 8 weeks and (by some inspector’s interpretations) over the age of 12 weeks could not be handled by the public.  They also define a big cat as lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cougars, cheetahs, and any hybrids thereof.  Because many places will make you a volunteer for the day to circumvent the rule that prohibits contact with big cats by the public, USDA has defined what is and is not considered a member of the public.  Public feeding of big cats has been barred as well, with the exception of a process by which food is sent down a chute, past an external barricade.  More HERE.


USDI Actions: The USDI finally rendered their final rules to enforce the Captive Wild Animal Safety Act which became law in 2003 but has been unenforceable for the past 4 years due to the government’s failure to draft these rules.  Read the Captive Wild Animal Safety Rules here.



CITES met in June 2007 and upheld a ban on the trade in bobcat fur and all 171 countries railed against China’s proposal to farm
tigers for their parts because the legal trade would be the death blow to the wild populations since it is much cheaper to poach a tiger than farm one.


VANCOUVER, B.C. 2/3/07:Vancouver City Council has unanimously passed a motion banning people from keeping certain exotic
and wild animals as pets and banning businesses from selling them. They’ve also requested Mayor Sam Sullivan write a letter to the Union of BC Municipalities to consider a Province-wide ban.  Banned animals include such creatures as bears, large constrictor snakes, hyenas and alligators. Businesses will be prohibited from selling everything from elephants and birds of prey to venomous insects.  Council has also approved banning the use of exotic and wild animals in performances and shows.   Read it here…



Ontario Canada: 2/14/07 Huntville council upheld a ban on dangerous exotic animals.


The Jewish Community 2/28/07 speaks out against wearing fur.  “Jews must not wear fur skinned from live animals,” Israel’s chief rabbi said in a religious ruling on Tuesday.  “All Jews are obliged to prevent the horrible phenomenon of cruelty to animals and be a ‘light onto nations’ by refusing to use products that originate from acts which cause such suffering,” Rabbi Yona Metzger said.


Europe:  On 10th October 2007, 25 Non-Governmental Organizations representing 20 European countries, together with Members of the European Parliament and officials from the European Commission, attended a Reception at the European Parliament in support of animal welfare. The event saw the launch of an initiative to seek greater protection for wild animals kept in captivity in Europe at both a national and, where appropriate, pan-European level through enhancing the animals welfare provisions in the EC Treaty.


UK: November 21, 2007 an amendment to the Conservation Natural Habitats Regulations declared it is illegal to possess certain exotic animals, including the Wild Cat without a permit from Natural England, an agency that is not inclined to grant licenses to private individual animal keepers and who’s stringent licensing criteria are unlikely be met by most keepers.


2007 Circus Bans


Circus Bans: Bans on circus that use wild animals have been enacted in a number of North American cities, (28 as of June of 2007) including Stamford, CT; Boulder, CO and Burlington, VT.  Bans are pending in the state of CT and in Minneapolis, MN. Prince George, B.C. 4/30/07 bans performances using exotic animals and joins 20 other B.C. communities with similar bans.  Austria and 100+ cities in England alone already ban the use of wild animals in circus acts.


Croatia: 1/1/07 The new Croatian Animal Protection Act prohibits the use of wild animals in entertainment, such as circuses or other animal shows.  Croatian authorities announced plans to ban holding of dolphin species in captivity, bringing Croatia closer to
a complete legal ban on dolphin capture.


Taiwan Bans Circus Animal Imports: 6/15/07 Importation and Exportation of protected animals including lions and tigers for circus acts is prohibited with fines up to $50.000.  “The performances are negative education on environmental conservation. Personal pleasure must not be built on the suffering of other animals,” officials said.


Circus elephants get their day in court to establish what constitutes mistreatment of animals.  See ASPCA & API vs Ringling. As of December 2008 this case still has not been heard.


2007 Hunting Bans


AK: Governor Sarah Palin signed House Bill 220 into law this week.  Representative Bob Buch (D-27th) introduced the legislation which prohibits any person from engaging in or operating computer-assisted remote hunting in the state.


MA: Senate Bill 2273 (formerly S.B. 860 and S.D. 1452), introduced by Senator Robert Creedon, Jr. (D-2nd), makes it illegal to participate in or facilitate the killing of an animal via the Internet. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law 8/3/07.


NE: Legislative Bill 504, introduced by Senator Mick Mines (District 18), makes it a Class II misdemeanor to hunt through the Internet.


OR: Oregon passed a law based on Senate Bill 490 to ban the killing of live animals over the Internet.  34 states, including Texas, now ban the practice. Florida still allows this inhumane practice of shooting a live animal over the Internet. Oregon also passed Senate bill 572 to ban all canned hunts.  The vote was 22 to 5.  Fencing exotic mammals, feeding them by hand, and then shooting them, said Democratic co-sponsor Sen. Ryan Deckert, “is not Oregon.” California, Wyoming and Wisconsin already prohibit canned hunts.  A Federal bill, HR 2711, to ban Internet killing was introduced in June of 2007.


2007 Other Good News for Big Cats


President Bush reauthorized the 1994 Conservation Act to protect African Elephants, Rhinos and Tigers.


2005-2007 Big Cat Bans Enacted


Just since 2005, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland & Washington have passed legislation banning the ownership of certain dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, bears, wolves and primates, leaving only 11 states with virtually no regulations whatsoever.


In 2006 60 state bills were passed to protect animals of all types and 11 bills that would have harmed animals were defeated.


Between 2001 and 2006 the number of hunters in the U.S. decreased by 4%.  Now only 5% (12.5 million people over the age of 16) are hunters.  During the same time, the number of wildlife watchers, feeders and enthusiasts rose 8%.


View existing State Laws HERE

Help change the laws HERE


New Exotic Pet Ban


by Jennifer Wilson – Wednesday, February 7, 2007


FAMILY MEMBER: Kristi Stanton poses with a picture of her ball python, Saphire, Monday evening after making an unsuccessful request to council for an exemption to its new exotic pets bylaw.  Huntsville council turned down two applications for exemptions to its new exotic pets bylaw Monday night.  Kristi Stanton and Chris Chapman made deputations to council requesting a bylaw exemption for their ball python and two cougars respectively.  Since the bylaw took effect in November, both Stanton’s snake and Chapman’s cougars have been living outside of the municipality.  “Obviously, it is a regulation that hasn’t been in place very long and I, on a personal basis, understand your attachment to your animals and the difficulty that this particular bylaw poses to you. Council has to balance that against the greater risk [these animals pose to the general public],” said Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty.


Chapman, who had been looking after the two cougars since they were babies, told council that domestic dogs are “more dangerous on average” than cougars.  “Very seldom do captive cats do any harm to anybody. We have everything in place to secure homes for them. We are just asking for the OK from council,” said Chapman, who noted the close bond that had formed between himself and the cats. “To me, they are friendly cuddly kitties, but I know a lot of people don’t share that [view].”  Prior to the bylaw passing, Chapman told council he had contacted Town officials, who told him that a grandfather clause, which would allow him to keep his cougars, might apply when the legislation passed.


However, according to Sara Brown, the Town’s director of physical services, the Town can opt to grant a grandfather exemption but is not required to do so.  Stanton, whose ball python Saphire currently resides with a friend, told council that she thought not enough background information was gathered for the bylaw’s creation.  “I almost feel like not enough research was done on the sub-species of boas and pythons,” Stanton told council.  “I am confused how you can still own a corn snake or a rat snake which can grow significantly bigger than a ball python and it eats exactly the same things.”


Despite this, Town staff and councillors continued to question the safety risks exotic animals kept as pets posed to the public at large.  “The rationale behind any kind of bylaw like this is not to protect someone like yourself, who may be a responsible kind of individual with this kind of animal, but more to protect somebody who may not be responsible,” said councillor Brian Thompson.  Councillor Bill Beatty told council he felt that although owners may be comfortable housing their exotic pets, the animals could pose a great risk to safety officials in the case of a fire.  “One of the other issues I brought up and I got a nod and a wink, so to speak, from the fire chief was the concern if in fact there was a fire in that building or some incident where you had firefighters crawling around in the dark, the last thing you want to do with a snake or anything is have it bite you on the head as you knock the cage over.”


Washington Senate passes House bill to ban private possession of dangerous exotic animals

April 4, 2007


OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Animal Protection Institute (API) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) commend the Washington state Senate for passing HB 1418, the “Dangerous Wild Animal Bill,” after seven years of debate. The two groups are co-sponsors of HB 1418, which prohibits the private possession of dangerous exotic animals such as cougars, tigers, bears, monkeys,
and dangerous reptiles.


“Washington is one of only 11 states with no laws regulating the private ownership of dangerous wild animals,” says Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal & Government Affairs for API. “Passage of this bill will put Washington state at the forefront of nationwide progressive animal legislation by boasting one of the best state laws in the country.”


“Today’s action by Washington lawmakers will protect public safety and the welfare of the animals,” says Jennifer Hillman, Washington State Government Affairs Coordinator for The HSUS. “Over the past seven years, incidents in Washington have ranged from attacks on people to abandonment of animals when owners can no longer care for them. Wild animals belong in the wild, not in basements or makeshift cages in people’s backyards.”


A recent investigation conducted by API examined both private owners and federally licensed facilities in Washington state and documented stories of serious, unreported attacks by animals; people, including children, being allowed direct contact with dangerous animals at USDA-licensed facilities, a violation of federal law; poor animal care conditions; and inadequate and unsafe barriers.


“We applaud the Washington state Senate for taking a strong stand on this issue and hope to see the state serve as a role model of progressive legislation other states will follow,” adds Paquette.  Note: DVD b-roll and still images of exotic animals in Washington State available for download; email



Chapter 238, Laws of 2007

60th Legislature

2007 Regular Session



Passed by the House April 16, 2007

Yeas 61 Nays 31


Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 3, 2007

Yeas 34 Nays 15


President of the Senate


I, Richard Nafziger, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is HOUSE BILL 1418 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.


Chief Clerk

Approved April 30, 2007, 2:12 p.m.


Governor of the State of Washington


April 30, 2007

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature – 2007 Regular Session

State of Washington 60th Legislature 2007 Regular Session

By Representatives Lovick, Campbell, Lantz, O’Brien, Upthegrove and


Read first time 01/18/2007. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

1 AN ACT Relating to the keeping of dangerous wild animals; adding a

2 new chapter to Title 16 RCW; and prescribing penalties.


4 NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. It is the intent of the state of Washington

5 to protect the public against the serious health and safety risks that

6 dangerous wild animals pose to the community.

7 NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. (1) “Animal control authority” means an

8 entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units

9 for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county, and

10 state and the shelter and welfare of animals.

11 (2) “Potentially dangerous wild animal” means one of the following

12 types of animals, whether bred in the wild or in captivity, and any or

13 all hybrids thereof:

14 (a) Class mammalia

15 (i) Order carnivora

16 (A) Family felidae, only lions, tigers, captive-bred cougars,

17 jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, snow leopards, and clouded leopards;

18 (B) Family canidae, wolves, excluding wolf-hybrids;

p. 1 HB 1418.SL

1 (C) Family ursidae, all bears;

2 (D) Family hyaenidae, such as hyenas;

3 (ii) Order perissodactyla, only rhinoceroses;

4 (iii) Order primates, all nonhuman primate species;

5 (iv) Order proboscidae, all elephants species;

6 (b) Class reptilia

7 (i) Order squamata

8 (A) Family atractaspidae, all species;

9 (B) Family colubridae, only dispholidus typus;

10 (C) Family elapidae, all species, such as cobras, mambas, kraits,

11 coral snakes, and Australian tiger snakes;

12 (D) Family hydrophiidae, all species, such as sea snakes;

13 (E) Family varanidae, only water monitors and crocodile monitors;

14 (F) Family viperidae, all species, such as rattlesnakes,

15 cottonmouths, bushmasters, puff adders, and gaboon vipers;

16 (ii) Order crocodilia, all species, such as crocodiles, alligators,

17 caimans, and gavials.

18 (3) “Person” means any individual, partnership, corporation,

19 organization, trade or professional association, firm, limited

20 liability company, joint venture, association, trust, estate, or any

21 other legal entity, and any officer, member, shareholder, director,

22 employee, agent, or representative thereof.

23 (4) “Possessor” means any person who owns, possesses, keeps,

24 harbors, brings into the state, or has custody or control of a

25 potentially dangerous wild animal.

26 (5) “Wildlife sanctuary” means a nonprofit organization, as

27 described in RCW 84.36.800, that cares for animals defined as

28 potentially dangerous and:

29 (a) No activity that is not inherent to the animal’s nature,

30 natural conduct, or the animal in its natural habitat is conducted;

31 (b) No commercial activity involving an animal occurs including,

32 but not limited to, the sale of or trade in animals, animal parts,

33 animal byproducts, or animal offspring, or the sale of photographic

34 opportunities involving an animal, or the use of an animal for any type

35 of entertainment purpose;

36 (c) No unescorted public visitations or direct contact between the

37 public and an animal; or

38 (d) No breeding of animals occurs in the facility.

HB 1418.SL p. 2

1 NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) The provisions of this chapter do not

2 apply to:

3 (a) Institutions authorized by the Washington department of fish

4 and wildlife to hold, possess, and propagate deleterious exotic

5 wildlife pursuant to RCW 77.12.047;

6 (b) Institutions accredited or certified by the American zoo and

7 aquarium association or a facility with a current signed memorandum of

8 participation with an association of zoos and aquariums species

9 survival plan;

10 (c) Duly incorporated nonprofit animal protection organizations,

11 such as humane societies and shelters, housing an animal at the written

12 request of the animal control authority or acting under the authority

13 of this chapter;

14 (d) Animal control authority, law enforcement officers, or county

15 sheriffs acting under the authority of this chapter;

16 (e) Veterinary hospitals or clinics;

17 (f) A holder of a valid wildlife rehabilitation permit issued by

18 the Washington department of fish and wildlife;

19 (g) Any wildlife sanctuary as defined under section 2(5) of this

20 act;

21 (h) A research facility as defined by the animal welfare act, 7

22 U.S.C.A. 2131, as amended, for the species of animals for which they

23 are registered. This includes but is not limited to universities,

24 colleges, and laboratories holding a valid class R license under the

25 animal welfare act;

26 (i) Circuses, defined as incorporated, class C licensees under the

27 animal welfare act, 7 U.S.C.A. 2131, as amended, that are temporarily

28 in this state, and that offer performances by live animals, clowns, and

29 acrobats for public entertainment;

30 (j) A person temporarily transporting and displaying a potentially

31 dangerous wild animal through the state if the transit time is not more

32 than twenty-one days and the animal is at all times maintained within

33 a confinement sufficient to prevent the animal from escaping;

34 (k) Domesticated animals subject to this title or native wildlife

35 subject to Title 77 RCW;

36 (l) A person displaying animals at a fair approved by the

37 Washington department of agriculture pursuant to chapter 15.76 or 36.37

38 RCW; and

p. 3 HB 1418.SL

1 (m) A game farm meeting the requirements of WAC 232-12-027(1).

2 (2) This chapter does not require a city or county that does not

3 have an animal control authority to create that office.

4 NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) A person shall not own, possess, keep,

5 harbor, bring into the state, or have custody or control of a

6 potentially dangerous wild animal, except as provided in subsection (3)

7 of this section.

8 (2) A person shall not breed a potentially dangerous wild animal.

9 (3) A person in legal possession of a potentially dangerous wild

10 animal prior to the effective date of this act and who is the legal

11 possessor of the animal may keep possession of the animal for the

12 remainder of the animal’s life. The person must maintain veterinary

13 records, acquisition papers for the animal, if available, or other

14 documents or records that establish that the person possessed the

15 animal prior to the effective date of this act, and present the

16 paperwork to an animal control or law enforcement authority upon

17 request. The person shall have the burden of proving that he or she

18 possessed the animal prior to the effective date of this act.

19 NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. (1) The animal control authority or a law

20 enforcement officer may immediately confiscate a potentially dangerous

21 wild animal if:

22 (a) The animal control authority or law enforcement officer has

23 probable cause to believe that the animal was acquired after the

24 effective date of this act in violation of section 4 of this act;

25 (b) The animal poses a public safety or health risk;

26 (c) The animal is in poor health and condition as a result of the

27 possessor; or

28 (d) The animal is being held in contravention of the act.

29 (2) A potentially dangerous wild animal that is confiscated under

30 this section may be returned to the possessor only if the animal

31 control authority or law enforcement officer establishes that the

32 possessor had possession of the animal prior to the effective date of

33 this act and the return does not pose a public safety or health risk.

34 (3) The animal control authority or law enforcement officer shall

35 serve notice upon the possessor in person or by regular and certified

36 mail, return receipt requested, notifying the possessor of the

HB 1418.SL p. 4

1 confiscation, that the possessor is responsible for payment of

2 reasonable costs for caring and providing for the animal during the

3 confiscation, and that the possessor must meet the requirements of

4 subsection (2) of this section in order for the animal to be returned

5 to the possessor.

6 (4) If a potentially dangerous wild animal confiscated under this

7 section is not returned to the possessor, the animal control authority

8 or law enforcement officer may release the animal to a facility such as

9 a wildlife sanctuary or a facility exempted pursuant to section 3 of

10 this act. If the animal control authority or law enforcement officer

11 is unable to relocate the animal within a reasonable period of time, it

12 may euthanize the animal.

13 (5) An animal control authority or law enforcement officer may

14 euthanize a potentially dangerous wild animal under this section only

15 if all known reasonable placement options, including relocation to a

16 wildlife sanctuary, are unavailable.

17 (6) This section applies to animal confiscations on or after the

18 effective date of this act.

19 NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. A city or county may adopt an ordinance

20 governing potentially dangerous wild animals that is more restrictive

21 than this chapter. However, nothing in this chapter requires a city or

22 county to adopt an ordinance to be in compliance with this chapter.

23 NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. A person who violates section 4 of this act

24 is liable for a civil penalty of not less than two hundred dollars and

25 not more than two thousand dollars for each animal with respect to

26 which there is a violation and for each day the violation continues.

27 NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. (1) The animal control authority and its

28 staff and agents, local law enforcement agents, and county sheriffs are

29 authorized and empowered to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

30 (2) If a locality does not have a local animal control authority,

31 the department of fish and wildlife shall enforce the provisions of

32 this chapter.

33 NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. If any provision of this act or its

p. 5 HB 1418.SL

1 application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the

2 remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other

3 persons or circumstances is not affected.

4 NEW SECTION. Sec. 10. Sections 1 through 9 of this act constitute

5 a new chapter in Title 16 RCW.

Passed by the House April 16, 2007.

Passed by the Senate April 3, 2007.

Approved by the Governor April 30, 2007.

Filed in Office of Secretary of State April 30, 2007.



Prince George, B.C. bans exotic animal performances in circuses and shows ( 20 B.C. municipalities  are going this route although Vancouver is taking it one step further and prohibiting the ownership of exotic animals.)  Monday, April 30, 2007 10:21 PM


Prince George City Council has decided the days of the performing tigers and elephants are numbered.


It was  June of last year that City Councilors asked  staff to prepare a report on how the City could  deal with a request from the BC SPCA  that all circuses using exotic animals be banned from  Prince George.  Well, the Jordan Circus  has been booked   for Prince George, and the Jordan Circus uses elephants and tigers.  The report before Council says if  the City bans  such circuses, then  $10 to $15 thousand dollars will be lost in booking revenue.  The Jordan Circus has already signed a contract  to  appear in Prince George this July.  That contract would be honoured regardless of Council’s decision.


There were four options presented to Council:

Continue to allow them and  let the BCSPCA  carry out the  inspections to ensure the animals are allright ( that’s how Edmonton deals with it)  Draft a bylaw prohibiting  exotic animal performances in circuses and shows ( 20 B.C. municipalities  are going this route although Vancouver is taking it one step further and prohibiting the ownership of exotic animals.)  By policy, refuse to rent civic facilities to such circuses, although nothing would prevent a private land owner from providing  a site Have a resolution sent to North Central Municipal Association and the Union of BC Municipalities calling for a Provincial ban on a standardized list of exotic animal performances. Council Don Zurowski moved that Council adopt option 2.


Bylaw Officer Ken Craig told Council his office has not received any complaints about cruelty or  mistreatment of animals.  “It is progressive and its the right thing to do” says Councilor Brian Skakun.  Councilor Deborah Munoz says the City shouldn’t allow any kind of show that  caused any mistreatment  of any animal exotic or not.  Councilor Murry Krause, says  “Caging wild animals is archaic, and its time we show how progressive Prince George really is.”


Councilor Sherry Sethen “There are things that cause animals some stress, and I would suggest that as we move forward we will be challenged by  others in the community and I would  hope we stand firm  and not change our minds”.  Councillor Glen Scott “We always have these groups come forward saying why this should take place, and its a backward step just regimenting another part of our lives.” Scott was the only one to vote against the  development of the bylaw.


Kathy Travers,  an  animal welfare activist, and one of the directors of the local branch of the BC SPCA  had pushed for such a bylaw for years.  When the vote was complete, a jubilant Travers wept with joy.




Florida law goes into effect July 1, 2007


Thanks to all of you who wrote letters to your Florida legislators about the Python Bill it has passed both the Senate and the House unanimously and is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2007.


While snakes are a little off topic for Big Cat Rescue, the reason this bill was so important is that it will also require people in Florida who exhibit Class I animals, for compensation or not, to either carry 2 million dollars in liability coverage or post a $10,000.00 bond with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Class I animals include tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, bears and next year will hopefully include cougars.  If people are going to be allowed to keep these dangerous animals, they should be held accountable for any damage they do through the owner’s negligence.


This bill will also enable the FWCC to move more quickly to shut down dangerous and abusive situations because it spells out what constitutes a violation and what the penalties are.  It also provides a cushion of funds, provided by the exhibitor’s mandatory contribution to the bond, so that the FWCC can afford to step in and feed and relocate Class I animals that are in crisis.


Perhaps even more important is the fact that this will stop a lot of low-life-types from bringing their baby tiger photos booths to Florida
and will dry up the market for baby big cats to be used in practices that are unsafe for the public and unkind to the cats.  Thanks again for writing letters to your legislators.  It really made a difference!  Now you can help us stop the exploitation of contact with big cats at a Federal level.  Haley’s Act has been introduced in Congress and is picking up momentum with every letter you write.  Visit now to send your letter and save thousands more of these wonderful lions, tigers and other big cats from lives of exploitation, abuse and abandonment.


Taiwan bans circuses from importing protected animals

Jun 15, 11:04 AM ET


TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan’s parliament has amended a law to ban circuses from importing or exporting protected animals in an effort to improve protection of animal rights, a legislator said Friday.  Under the revised Wildlife Conservation Law passed late Thursday, all imports and exports of animals such as lions, tigers, elephants and monkeys are prohibited unless they are needed for research, said Tien Chiu-chin, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, who proposed the bill.  The new law categorizes the banned animals in line with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).


Previously circuses were permitted to import animals for performances. The new law does not apply to animals already owned by circuses.  “The performances are negative education on environmental conservation.  Personal pleasure must not be built on the suffering of other animals,” Tien said.  The amendment, which will become effective in two weeks, also imposes tougher punishment for animal abuse with a maximum one-year prison term for harassing, hurting or abandoning animals that results in their death or serious injury.  Under current legislation animal abusers face fines of between 10,000 and 50,000 Taiwan dollars (303-1,515 US).


2003 Federal Ban on Selling Big Cats as Pets Across State Lines Passes

This one bill has saved thousands of big cats from being bred for sale as pets across state lines.  It passed in December 2003 and was called the Captive Wildlife Safety Act.  The flaw in the bill is that it exempts USDA licensees, and it is only $40 and a one page application to get a USDA license.  Work is being done to eliminate the huge loop hole caused by this exemption.  More about the number of abandoned big cats here.


2002 16 States Have No Laws

As of June 2002, 19 states ban private ownership of big cats, 15 require only a license or permit, and the remaining 16 have no regulations at all, the Ultimate Explorer documentary aired on National Geographic established.

2000 A New Millenia

This brochure wasn’t found until 2016, but it was interesting to see that USDA opposed the private possession of big cats as far back as 2000. See USDA brochure.

According to this release the USDA’s Animal Care specialists are adamantly against private ownership of big cats by the general public, and they give some great reasons for it. Here are a few quotes:

“AC personnel have seen too many instances where wild and exotic cats kept by untrained people have not only harmed people but suffered themselves due to poor care.”

“Because of these animals’ potential to kill or severely injure both people and other animals, an untrained person should not keep them as pets. Doing so poses serious risks to family, friends, neighbors, and the general public. Even an animal that is friendly and loving can be very dangerous. In AC’s experience, unsuspecting children and adults have been seriously injured or killed, even when the animals involved were “only playing.”

“The average person lacks the specialized equipment and expertise to provide properly for the containment, medical care, husbandry, and nutrition of a large wild or exotic cat. AC has seen this lack of expertise result in the unnecessary suffering and premature death of animals.”

“Large wild and exotic cats obtained as pets are usually acquired as appealing cubs, but when the animals are fully grown, owners often become dismayed at the high cost and difficulty of providing for their upkeep… …Placement of these unwanted animals is difficult because most zoos are unwilling to take them and few sanctuary facilities exist. Many of these cats end up being killed for their pelts and meat.”

Of course, these are the same things that Big Cat Rescue has been preaching about since the 1990s, but hearing it from an official government agency might help convince people that this is a real problem, not just some made-up animal rights crusade.



BCR and 23 NGOs ask for zero demand for tiger parts

BCR and 23 NGOs ask for zero demand for tiger parts

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Nagpur: As delegates prepare for the 3rd Asia ministerial conference on tiger conservation in Delhi, over 23 NGOs and bodies in the country want a commitment to zero demand for tiger parts in order to achieve zero poaching.

The Asia ministerial conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. More than 700 tiger experts, scientists, managers, donors and other stakeholders are gathering to discuss issues related to tiger conservation. Ministers and government officials from all tiger range countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand, Vietnam, besides Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan are also participating in the meet.

This conference is being co-organized by ministry of environment, forest and climate change, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Global Tiger Forum (GTF), Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC), Wildlife Institute of India (WII), WWF and Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT).

“Conservation successes are visible in tiger range countries with enactment of strong laws and where wild tigers are valued for the role they play in the ecosystem, compared to those tiger range countries where ‘tiger farming’ exists and where they are valued as a commodity,” the NGOs said. “It is time for tiger range countries to unite in a commitment to end tiger farming and to end all domestic and international trade in parts and derivatives of tigers from captive facilities,” they said.

The signatories include Satpuda Foundation, Tiger Conservation And Action Trust (TRACT), Born Free, Conservation Action Trust (CAT), Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), Wildlife SOS India, Sanctuary Asia, The Corbett Foundation, BNHS India, Big Cat Rescue among others.

The NGOs have reminded the conference that many facilities that keep tigers are engaged in legal and illegal trade, both domestic and international, in parts and derivatives of tigers. There are estimated 7,000 tigers in captivity in tiger farms in South East Asia and China — and there are no signs that these facilities are being phased out.

Chinese government allows domestic trade in the skin of captive-bred tigers for use as luxury home decor and for taxidermy. This stimulates the demand and increases pressure on the world’s remaining 3,200 wild tigers.

“How can we expect demand-reduction campaigns to work in China if the government itself permits people to buy tiger skins,” the NGOs asked, adding tigers in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Russian Far East are still being targeted for markets in China and for Chinese consumers in Myanmar and Lao PDR.

There is also a thriving market in Vietnam and Indonesia. Tigers are not just killed for skin, but their bones are used to brew ‘tiger bone wine’, meat is sold as a delicacy and teeth and claws are sold as charms. “We collectively call on the conference to urge the countries with facilities which keep or breed tigers for trade to demonstrate genuine commitment to tiger conservation,” the NGOs demanded.

Tiger poaching

State of Wild Tigers 2016

State of Wild Tigers 2016

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Tiger conservation is a story of contrasts.

Throughout Asia, wild tigers (Pantera tigris) face constant pressures from poachers, deforestation and development. We saw the worst of this last week when Cambodia declared that its tiger population had goneextinct.

Despite these ever-present threats, however, tigers have started to claw their way back in other countries, most notably India and Russia. Therein we find the other side of the story: as a whole, tiger populations are on the rise. Today, at the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, officials announced that the estimated number of tigers living in the wild has increased to 3,890.

That represents a fairly dramatic increase from the previous estimate of 3,200 tigers published back in 2010.

Wild Tiger Population Estimates 2016More importantly, this is by all accounts the first time that wild tiger populations as a whole have increased in more than a century.

“It’s a positive trend,” says Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “We’re cautiously hopeful.”

Hemley credits the rising populations to intense efforts put forth by governments following the Global Tiger Summit in 2010, in which the 13 tiger range countries pledged to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022. “The countries where we’re seeing high-level commitment—Russia, India, Nepal and Bhutan—are the ones where we’ve seen the biggest progress,” she says.

Of course, population counts alone don’t tell the full story. Many of the numbers are statistical means, so actual populations in India, Russia and other countries could be higher or lower. Meanwhile, several countries—including Indonesia and Malaysia—have yet to undergo systematic national surveys of their tiger populations, so estimates are based on the best available knowledge.

The numbers also don’t illustrate how isolated and fragmented many tiger habitats have become, especially in Southeast Asia, nor do they reflect tiger subspecies (currently a matter of taxonomic debate).

tiger China Doll LakeFinally, they don’t show how much larger wild tiger populations could be if poachers would just stop killing the big cats. One of the most recent cases occurred in India, where three men were arrested earlier this month and charged with killing and skinning a tigress and her two of her four cubs. Last week 23 non-governmental organizations called on the tiger range countries to adopt a commitment to zero poachingand eliminating the consumer demand for tiger products. Much of the consumer demand comes from China, where an estimated 7,000 tigers live on farms waiting to be turned into rugs, tiger-bone wine and other traditional Asian medicines.

“That’s an area that really does need attention,” Hemley says, adding that WWF and other organizations are working to identify the consumers of tiger products and learn what can be done to change their behavior. “We’re beginning to make some inroads in this area, but there’s obviously still a lot to do,” she says.

Hemley acknowledges that the 2022 goal of 6,000 wild tigers “is going to be a challenge” and may take a few years longer than planned. She adds, “I think it’s doable, but it’s not going to happen without big mobilizations of additional resources and commitments.”

Still, she says the announcement about increased tiger populations should inspire even greater efforts governments and conservation partners around the world. “We have a whole new energy and hope for our conservation efforts,” she says. “The trend is going in the right direction. That’s a great place to be.”

The data behind WWF’s messaging today