Some exhibitors will let you pet a tiger cub for a fee.
This happens at the park, reserve, preserve, zoo,
sanctuary (not a true sanctuary), orphanage or whatever
they call the facility where the animals are
Other exhibitors have mobile exhibits that travel almost
constantly, setting up in malls and fairs. The cubs are
taken from their mothers soon after birth, a torment to
both cub and mother, and then carted around to strange
settings to be groped by strangers hour after hour. One
such exhibitor had 23 cubs die in 2010.
Federal regulations currently permit cub petting for 4
weeks (from 8 to 12 weeks of age). Florida law allows
contact with a cub if it weighs less than 25 pounds.
Some exhibitors extend the petting time by underfeeding or giving pills
to cause diarrhea, which keeps the cub as small as
Petting cubs is BAD
Once the cubs are too old or too big for
petting, they are sold, given away, returned to the
breeder if they were leased, and spend the
rest of their lives
up to 20 years
miserable conditions. One exhibitor who has both a park
and a facility in a shopping center for cub petting
admitted privately that he requires 200 cubs per
year to operate his petting business.
Other exhibitors display full grown
tigers, either at their facility or offsite. When
offsite, the cats typically are confined to a small
wheeled wagon where they can do little more than stand
up and turn around, or lie down all day long, often in a
hot parking lot.
Federal regulations do not have a minimum cage size.
They have language about allowing the animal to be able
to make postural movements. The only known citation for
cages being too small was a woman in Florida who
put more than 68 tigers in small cages in one trailer.
A tiger in the wild roams from 9 square
miles (Bengal) up to 400 square miles (Siberian) every
In a 2012 rescue of 3 tigers from a Mississippi roadside
zoo, the cages had to be cut open because their doors
were too small for the tigers to pass through. They
had been put in these cages as cubs and grew too large
for the opening. They had never left the cage.
Exhibitor education is doing more harm
In order to justify their tax exempt status, exhibitors
claim they are educating the public about wildlife
There is no evidence that people who hear
exhibitors talk about conservation take any action that
supports preservation of the tiger in the wild. R. L.
Tilson, in a research report on private ownership of
tigers, reported that, “During the 2002 Tiger SSP Master
Plan meeting, there was a consensus among the
participants that handling tigers in public
places…promotes private ownership and a false sense of
security in handling big cats….”
Exhibiting cute cubs gives the impression
that they make good pets. The message the exhibitors convey is
you can own a tiger if you are special.
Exhibitors will sell the young tigers or even give them away once they are too
big to use for 'pay-to-play'.