Big Cat Public Safety Act: Proposed Bill to Free Captive Tigers and Wildcats in the U.S.

Oct 12, 2015 08:30 PM EDT | By Alexis Villarias

According to a report by Huffington Post, it is said that there are more captive tigers in the United States than in the wild worldwide.  In an effort to free these wild animals, the Big Cat Public Safety Act would ban most private ownership of lions and tigers and other family of these species. 

Carole Baskin's ideal world would be no lions and tigers in cages even if that means letting go of her facility, a certified sanctuary called Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Florida.

Baskin's facility Big Cat Rescue is home to 89 lions, tigers, ocelots sand cats, bobcats, cougars and other big cats.  Baskin keeps records of how each animal was put under her custody together with information about the animals she has been called about but has not taken in.

Circumstances are bleak leading to each of the wild cats' captivation.  One involves a bobcat kept as a pet but whose owner no longer wants him.  Another involves a coatimundi losing his home because his owners decided to divorce.  A tiger and a lion which used to be in a circus are also some of the Big Cat Rescue's residents. 

These large creatures are lucky to get to Tampa since Big Cat Rescue is such a nice place where lions and tigers spend two weeks a year on vacation.  They are then removed from their large enclosures to one of the two 2.5 acre enclosure which is a perfect picture of their wild habitat.   However, this isn't happy enough according to Baskin.

Currently under the federal law, private ownership of big cats in the United States is alarmingly under regulated.  The Humane Society of the United States has estimated that about 5,000 to 7,000 tigers are still in captivity at any given time.  That figure is about twice as many as the estimated 3,200 tigers in the wild.

Baskin hopes that with the passing of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, little by little, even the big good sanctuaries will no longer exist in time.

"There is no amount of space, no amount of enrichment, no amount of love that will provide an exotic cat with any semblance of existence they were designed to master," Baskin said. "There is no good way to keep a wild cat in a cage. They are hardwired to be free."

Big Cat Public Safety Act will exempt accredited zoos and put an end to cub exploitation.  

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